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Book Review: The Brave by Nicholas Evans

The Brave by Nicholas Evans

In the opening chapter of The Brave, Tommy, a thirteen-year-old boy, visits his mother in prison. She is on death row and due to be executed and they both know this is the last time he will ever see her – and all that is left unsaid between them hints at the bigger mystery of how she came to be in this situation and how he will go on to cope with his loss. This opening quickly sets the scene for the entire book and for a novel that is powerful and moving, tragic and intriguing.

The novel centres on Tom and the chapters bounce backwards and forwards in time, so the reader gets to experience his early years when he is a shy youngster who idolises cowboy Flint McCullough from the TV series Wagon Train, and much later, when he is a divorced father, estranged from his only son Danny. But Danny is in serious trouble and is facing a court martial following a tour of duty in Iraq, and Tom has to somehow bridge the gap between them if he has any hope of helping to save his son. The Brave also follows Tom’s mother’s life – a talented actress who moves from Britain to the US to follow her dream of being a successful actress. She falls in love with another actor, Ray, but it is when they star together in the film The Forsaken that things begin to go drastically wrong.

Nicholas Evans is an outstanding novelist and he is in total control of The Brave from the outset – a read that lingered in my mind long after the final page. In many ways the novel is a Western, in other ways it is a tragedy, in every way it is a remarkable read – it is a stand against injustice and a search for redemption.

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