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Breaking Even [Mass Market Paperback]

Elizabeth Fackler
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Nov. 18 2002 Seth Strummer (Book 3)
In this superbly detailed frontier novel featuring Texas outlaw Seth Strummer, our hero at last achieves a humble form of justice that allows him to break even with his past. When Seth falls in love with Hekuba Free, the sister of Joaquin's new bride, he hides their love from his wife while flaunting it in town. It's a deadly game of retribution as Seth must face down sheriff Joaquin in a final battle between two old adversaries.

The culminating novel in the critically acclaimed Seth Strummer series, this is the bittersweet tale of a man who must break free from his past before he can break even.

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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Fackler (Billy the Kid: The Legend of El Chivato) resuscitates outlaw Seth Strummar in a strong, dark new western. As the novel opens, Seth accompanies his partner, Joaqu!n Ascarate, to buy his beloved Heaven Free out of a life of prostitution. In order not to separate Heaven from her sister Hekuba, Seth obliges by purchasing the sibling. Soon, however, Seth is taking advantage of the arrangement by taking his "rights" with his new acquisition. Returning to their home, Seth sets Hekuba up in her own house, where he visits her frequently. Although he attempts to hide the relationship from his wife, the arrangement grows notorious around town. Trouble looms when Adam Noah arrives, threatening to kill Seth for leaving him high and dry after a bank job in Texas. To save her man, Hekuba kills the would-be assassin, setting off a cycle of violence and retribution that shatters the friendship of Seth and Joaquin and sends Seth to prison. Things will only be set right when his daughter sets out to "prove a woman's love is stronger than men's destruction." Fackler has a keen sense for dialogue and period and a classic, clipped prose style. Seth's brutality (and the book's undercurrent of violence toward women), however, may alienate some readers from her hero and his world.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Heaven and Hecuba Free are sisters, but Heaven is light skinned and can easily pass for white, a useful attribute in the post^-Civil War Southwest. Hecuba doesn't have that option and must endure the scorn of those around her. Their lives change drastically when brothel owner Raul Ortega sells them to Joaquin Ascarate, a wealthy caballero. He marries Heaven and vows to care for Hecuba, but when Hecuba takes Joaquin's friend and married partner, Seth Strummar, as a lover, a potentially deadly game of retribution begins. The struggle extends over more than a decade and eventually forces all the key characters--especially the heretofore amoral, dangerous Strummar--to reevaluate their lives and their relationships. Once again, Fackler demonstrates her mastery of character-driven westerns in which women are the self-aware, self-reliant, and ultimately stronger players. Fackler's audience is deservedly growing. Wes Lukowsky --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Three novels in one. Feb. 27 1999
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
This is an engrossing, at times chilling, novel, almost three novels in one. The first part deals with the "ugly" sister, Hekuba, who unwittingly falls in love with Seth Strummar, the irrestible rouge who is at the heart of all three parts of this novel. The second deals with Strummar's friend, Joaquin, and becomes almost a Cormac McCathyish quest-into-Mexico story. The third part is told from Seth's daughter, Elena's point of view, and it was this third part that put me off as a reader. I never connected with Elena the way I did with Hekuba and Joaquin. I also resented the short shrift given to Hekuba's death, when I had become so emotionally attached to her. But despite this and some minor anachronisms, particularly in the language, this is a whopping good page-turner which I have recommended it to others.
Was this review helpful to you?
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
I finished this book in the wee hours of the night--I couldn't put it down. I cried at the ending. Maybe because Elena might never race again, or because Seth was trying so hard to do the right thing, or because Hekuba lost so much. Most western fiction is concerned only with violence, but in the Seth Strummar series, the author asks all of the most probing questions of life. She certainly presents stark portraits of social inequity, yet the books are quite poetic. The continuing metaphors of the bullfight and macho were very effective in Breaking Even. I highly recommend all of Elizabeth Fackler's novels to anyone interested in character studies revolving around the great issues of life.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Poignant, exciting, true to the heart. June 12 1998
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
I loved this story. It's the most true-to-life and touching novel about friendship and family love which I've ever read. Joaquin and Seth are soul brothers. Elena broke my heart.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Three novels in one. Feb. 27 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This is an engrossing, at times chilling, novel, almost three novels in one. The first part deals with the "ugly" sister, Hekuba, who unwittingly falls in love with Seth Strummar, the irrestible rouge who is at the heart of all three parts of this novel. The second deals with Strummar's friend, Joaquin, and becomes almost a Cormac McCathyish quest-into-Mexico story. The third part is told from Seth's daughter, Elena's point of view, and it was this third part that put me off as a reader. I never connected with Elena the way I did with Hekuba and Joaquin. I also resented the short shrift given to Hekuba's death, when I had become so emotionally attached to her. But despite this and some minor anachronisms, particularly in the language, this is a whopping good page-turner which I have recommended it to others.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Poetic, stark portraits of social inequity on the frontier Sept. 24 1998
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I finished this book in the wee hours of the night--I couldn't put it down. I cried at the ending. Maybe because Elena might never race again, or because Seth was trying so hard to do the right thing, or because Hekuba lost so much. Most western fiction is concerned only with violence, but in the Seth Strummar series, the author asks all of the most probing questions of life. She certainly presents stark portraits of social inequity, yet the books are quite poetic. The continuing metaphors of the bullfight and macho were very effective in Breaking Even. I highly recommend all of Elizabeth Fackler's novels to anyone interested in character studies revolving around the great issues of life.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Poignant, exciting, true to the heart. June 12 1998
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I loved this story. It's the most true-to-life and touching novel about friendship and family love which I've ever read. Joaquin and Seth are soul brothers. Elena broke my heart.
3.0 out of 5 stars An alright story--just not great! Feb. 7 2014
By Apple Road - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
A different storyline---a variety of personalities, but it does seem to go on & on with a not so satisfying ending--it just seems to END!
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