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The Brave
Format: Paperback|Change
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on 24 October 2011
I had fairly high hopes for this book considering The Loop and The Smoke Jumper would both have a good chance of making my favourite books list. A few folk that I speak to in the library had told me that it was a dud and so I didn't rush into reading it when it came out last year. While it isn't Evans' best, I still enjoyed it a lot and I'm glad I finally read it.

Like with his other novels, the storyline is a little far-fetched and a tad over the top, but that is something that has never bothered be before and certainly never bothered me when reading this. If I'm being honest, I actually rather like the melodrama and enjoy the fact he writes a good tale without bogging it down too much with gritty realism. That's not to say the storylines individually are unrealistic, for example his son being charged with the murder of civilians during war is certainly something that you could read in the newspaper tomorrow, it's just that all of this happening at once, to one character and ending the way it does? Possibly not. But, like I said above, I pick up a book of this type not wanting to be depressed by how realistic it all read. I pick it up to enjoy the story and for it to hopefully be tied up in a neat little bow at the end.

I also enjoyed how the story was told in alternating chapters of Tom's past and present and how we start the book with Tommy visiting his sister in prison but not knowing until the very end how she got there. Keeping the reader hanging on the end of each chapter is usually hit and miss for me but here it worked for me rather than irk me. Although I did see the outcome of Tommy and Diane's story a mile away, I didn't know how the story of Dan, Tom's son, was going to end. The tales of his time in war and how the civilians came to die did make for grim reading but it had believability around it. Who hasn't read snippets of a soldier's stories from Iraq or Afghanistan?

Tom was a somewhat complex character, as you would hope when an entire novel is centred almost entirely around him, but I felt some of the supporting characters were a little flat and underdeveloped which is what makes it a bit inferior when you compare it to Evans' other novels.

Despite a few minor problems, The Brave is a novel I enjoyed from an author I always look forward to reading.
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on 3 June 2013
I have been hooked by Nicholas Evans from the start, with The Horse Whisperer, and have read all his bookes, of which there are not enough, unfortunately. I always wonder how an Englishman can write with such passion about the American West. However, this book is not really a patch on Evens' past work, dealing with actors and actresses and starting out in England. The only connection the The West is that one of the main characters in an aging actor in TV westerns who happens to live on a ranch. Tom, the story-teller, mixes problems with his own son in adult life with those of himself as a child. I'm sure there was supposed to be some correlation in the lives of Tom and his son but I failed to see it. I did enjoy the book, although not with as much fervour as previously. No author can get it 100% right to every reader every time so, for me at least, I can only hope that Evans will return to more genuine American people to fill his future works. I am looking forward to them anyway.
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on 14 July 2015
I don't think I've ever been so disappointed by a book by one of my favourite authors. Nicholas Evans has written some brilliant books in the past but this one just feels as if he's had a few good story ideas in his head and has tried unsuccesfully to make them into one story. There's a glamorous movie star, a bullied school boy and a war crimes trial all linked but it doesn't quite work. Just to keep his loyal fans happy there's a few cowboys and horses thrown in for good measure. Not his best by far.
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on 18 September 2017
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on 7 November 2017
An excellent book. Complex, deep and meaningful story with good narrative and deep insight into human nature...... one of Nicholas’s best along with Horse Whisperer & Smoke Jumper. A gripping and thought provoking read.
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on 12 December 2015
Another brilliant book from Nicholas Evans he writes with such feeling and emotion that you fall in love with the characters and story instantly
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on 13 October 2016
Excellent book.
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on 14 August 2017
I have read all of Nicholas Evans' books and this one did not disappoint. Such a beautiful book, I would recommend reading all of his books
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on 29 October 2017
I am now reading the 5th and last of Nicholas Evans books. All are great.
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on 12 April 2013
Not a patch on other Nicholas Evans books. Very weak storyline, although it is so uncomplicated it makes for very easy bedtime reading!! Very disappointing.
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