- Paperback: 544 pages
- Publisher: HarperLuxe; Larger Print edition (February 6, 2018)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0062792091
- ISBN-13: 978-0062792099
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.1 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 53 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,943,367 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Only Killers and Thieves: A Novel Paperback – Large Print, February 6, 2018
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“Only Killers and Thieves is a powerful debut. Paul Howarth brings early Australia to life, bloody warts and all, in an epic tale of murder, revenge, and colonial oppression, with very little room for redemption. The story and his words will stay with you, long after you have finished the book.” (New York Review of Books)
“Prose like that arrives direct from Cormac McCarthy’s dusty Southwest…Howarth’s spotlights how arbitrary frontier justice can be. But he also asks: How much less arbitrary is a purportedly civilized society?” (Washington Post)
“An outstanding debut…a powerful novel of crimes in a bleak landscape.” (Sunday Times (UK), Historical Fiction Book of the Month)
“They’re hard to find, books that grab you by the throat and won’t let go — addictive novels that make your heart race. Only Killers and Thieves tops that category…There’s much to relish in this page turner, descriptive writing, a plot that wrings you out, and characters you grow to hate, evil and racism personified…This literary, hard-hitter brings to life a time of mistrust and violence in Australia when whites tried to wipe out indigenous Australians. Only Killers and Thieves is brilliant but brutal.” (The Missourian)
“Howarth’s stunning debut has shades of Cormac McCarthy and Patrick deWitt...a book that grips from the outset and entertains even as it educates us about an appalling part of Australia’s history. Epic in scope, Only Killers and Thieves is a study in morality in a land where white vigilantism has never seemed more depraved.” (The Irish Times)
“Hugely impressive…reminiscent of Peter Carey.” (Irish Examiner)
“A must-read for anyone who craves pictorially descriptive writing, story-telling with palpable tension and characters so finely drawn they leap off the pages…Howarth has captured the trappings of America’s Wild West, only here the white vigilantes’ victims are Australia’s aboriginal natives. Otherwise the parallels are striking, from ethnic hatred, violent attacks and torture to the bloodthirstiness of ruthless hunters as they move through an unrelenting, sun-parched landscape bent on extermination. Against this stark and gory backdrop Howarth crafts nuanced, insightful alterations in the boys’ characters…No matter how driven you are (and you will be), resist the temptation to read Only Killers and Thieves straight through. Howarth’s writing deserves thoughtful savoring.” (Newark Star-Ledger-NJ.com)
“Howarth’s impressive debut is a Wild West saga transported to 19th-century Queensland, Australian. The story deals unflinchingly with the brutality of Australian rule…but the heart of the story is the complicated relationship between the brothers...While this book has a historical point to make, it also works as a suspenseful mystery and a resonant bildungsroman.” (Kirkus Reviews (starred review))
“Powerful debut…the novel feels like a modern Western along the lines of Cormac McCarthy’s All the Pretty Horses. Howarth’s narrative is almost cinematic…U.S. readers will make the connection with our country’s oppression of Native Americans and gain an understanding of the fundamental racism of both former British colonies…Howarth is a novelist to watch.” (Library Journal, starred review)
“A gripping novel about conflict in the Australian outback at the turn of the century; beautifully done.” (Paulette Jiles, New York Times Bestselling Author of News of the World, National Book Award Finalist)
From the Back Cover
An epic tale of revenge and survival, Only Killers and Thieves brings to life a colonial Australia that bears a striking re-semblance to the American Wild West in its early years.
It is 1885, and a crippling drought threatens to ruin the McBride family. Their land is parched; their cattle are starving. When the rain miraculously comes, it renews their hope for survival. But, returning home one afternoon after swimming in a remote water hole that had been replenished by the downpour, fourteen-year-old Tommy and sixteen-year-old Billy encounter a shocking tragedy.
Thirsty for vengeance against the man who they believe has wronged them, the distraught brothers turn to the ruthless, cunning John Sullivan, their father’s former employer and the wealthiest landowner in the region. As they journey across the barren outback in pursuit, their harsh and horrifying experiences will have a dev-astating impact on Tommy—and will hold enduring consequences for a young country struggling to come into its own.
Only Killers and Thieves is an unforgettable story of family, guilt, empire, race, manhood, and faith.
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This book has its share of violence so it’s not for the weak at heart. But if you are up for it, I think you’d enjoy it as much as I did.
The characters are well developed; the book is worth reading.