SINS OF THE
Genre: Literary Fiction / Romance / Spy / Thriller
Publisher: Texas Christian University Press
Publication Date: February 28, 2018
Number of Pages: 296 pages
Sins of the Younger Sons has received the Jesse H. Jones Award for Fiction from the Texas Institute of Letters! Luke Burgoa is an ex-Marine on a solitary covert mission to infiltrate the Basque separatist organization ETA in Spain and help bring down its military commander, Peru Madariaga. Luke hails from a Basque ancestry that came with the Spanish empire to Cuba, Argentina, Mexico, and, seventy-five years ago, to a Texas ranch. Neighbors consider the Burgoas Mexican immigrants and exiles of that nation’s revolution, but the matriarch of the family speaks the ancient language Euskera and honors traditions of the old country. Luke’s orders are to sell guns to the ETA and lure Peru into a trap. Instead he falls in love with Peru’s estranged wife, Ysolina, who lives in Paris and pursues a doctorate about an Inquisition-driven witchcraft frenzy in her native land. From the day they cross the border into the Basque Pyrenees, their love affair on the run conveys the beauty, sensuality, exoticism, and violence of an ancient homeland cut in two by Spain and France. Their trajectory puts Luke, Ysolina, and Peru on a collision course with each other and the famed American architect Frank Gehry, whose construction of a Guggenheim art museum seeks to transform the Basque city of Bilbao, a decrepit industrial backwater haunted by the Spanish Civil War—and a hotbed of ETA extremism. Ranging from the Amazon rain forest to a deadly prison in Madrid, Sins of the Younger Sons is a love story exposed to dire risk at every turn.
PRAISE FOR SINS OF THE YOUNGER SONS:
“Reid’s story is a fascinating blend of page-turning thriller and vivid tableau of Basque culture and the movement that battled the Spanish establishment for many decades. A reader can’t ask for more—a book that’s engaging, entertaining, educative, and unique.”
—Thomas Zigal, author of Many Rivers to Cross and The White League
“What a fine book Jan Reid has written! At once history—both cultural and political—and sensual love story, it reaches beyond genre to make for a magical and profound reading experience. Don’t start reading it at night unless you want to stay up until dawn and then some.” —Beverly Lowry, author of Who Killed These Girls? and Harriet Tubman: Imagining a Life
“Page by page, Sins of the Younger Sons invites the reader to dwell for a while within its unique world, to suffer and celebrate with its unforgettable characters. It’s a trip that, if taken, is well worth the effort.” —Ed Conroy, San Antonio Express-News
“Sins of the Younger Sons vividly takes us into a world few of us have seen and into a bitter conflict most of us have never considered nor understood.” —Si Dunn, Dallas Morning News
This is certainly an intricately crafted, thoroughly thought out, and researched novel.
In the beginning it almost seems like a handful of only slightly-related stories, but as the novel progresses you realize just how tied together these stories are. It’s also a reminder that politics stretch over time periods, each with their fingers entwined in what has happened in the past, and what they want out of the future. Isolated incidents are rarely such, and sometimes the reasons reach far into the past.
I love how much of the language, culture, and explanations found their way into this novel. It was certainly an immersive experience in that way.
However, because of the use of Basque, Spanish, and sometime French dialogue, the reading was greatly slowed down. There were also times when the characters would slip into thinking about their past almost imperceptibly, and I’d have to go back and find the place where it changed so I could know it wasn’t the “current” time of the story. I found this book to be a but more challenging than what I typically choose; that’s not a bad thing, it just requires a different amount of effort and type of reading headspace.
I think the characters in this story are very human and want a lot of the same things most people do–a better world–even if the means to the end aren’t quite ideal. I didn’t really find myself empathizing with them though.
This book is a great choice for people who enjoy literary pieces that turn on the brain.
Jan Reid’s highly praised books include his novel Comanche Sundown, his biography of Texas governor Ann Richards, Let the People In, his memoir of Mexico, The Bullet Meant for Me, and The Improbable Rise of Redneck Rock. Making his home in Austin, Reid has been a leading contributor to Texas Monthly for over forty years.
VISIT THE OTHER GREAT BLOGS ON THE TOUR:
|5/17/18||Promo||The Page Unbound|
|5/18/18||Review||Hall Ways Blog|
|5/19/18||Excerpt||Texas Book Lover|
|5/20/18||Author Interview||The Librarian Talks|
|5/21/18||Review||Books in the Garden|
|5/23/18||Playlist||The Clueless Gent|
|5/24/18||Review||The Love of a Bibliophile|
|5/26/18||Review||Reading by Moonlight|
blog tour services provided by