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This is the fourth and final volume in McMurtry's Berrybender Narratives (following By Sorrow's River), a frontier epic of lusty and bloody proportions, in which, fortunately, nearly everyone is killed off. Lord Berrybender, an arrogant and lecherous Englishman and his whining brood of daughters, their brats and servants have been arrested by Mexican authorities and are under house arrest in Santa Fe in the mid-1830s. Tensions between Mexicans and Americans run high as the dispute over Texas drifts toward war. When the Berrybender party is expelled from Santa Fe, the group is forced to march across the desert to Vera Cruz, escorted by inept Mexican soldiers. The grueling journey is filled with hardship and death as thirst, cholera and hostile Indians whittle the group by half. Meanwhile, Jim Snow, aka the Sin Killer, a famous mountain man, plans to rescue his white wife, Tasmin Berrybender, and her family somewhere along the desert route. Once the rescue is complete and the surviving Berrybenders are safely in Texas, Jim goes after the gang of slavers who murdered his son and his Indian wife (mountain men seem to have a lot of wives). Here McMurtry really shows why Jim is called the Sin Killer and why white men and Indians fear the mountain man who shrieks "the Word" and shows no mercy when he is riled up. Of the four books in the series, this is the bloodiest and most brutal, with rapes, torture, mutilation and death heaped upon the characters until grief and despair nearly consume them. Add the disaster at the Alamo and a passel of colorful Texas heroes to the enduring figures of mountain men Kit Carson and Tom Fitzpatrick, and this grisly frontier soap opera concludes with a bang.
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This is the fourth and concluding volume of the Berrybender Narratives, McMurtry's saga of the four-year odyssey of the Berrybender family as they traverse the various river valleys of the American West in the 1830s. Once again, the heart of the story is the evolving relationship between Tasmin Berrybender and her enigmatic, primitive husband, Jim Snow. Both have changed. Tasmin has learned to cope with the physical demands of a nomadic life and the emotional demands and trauma of motherhood and death. Jim, still capable of savage violence, seems more tender and vulnerable here. As they and their familiar entourage journey eastward from Santa Fe, they encounter various historical personages, including William Clark, Charles Bent, and Davy Crockett. They also endure searing landscapes, cholera, and the constant threat of horrific brutality at the hands of Apaches, Kiowas, Commanches, and slave traders. As always, McMurtry is a gifted storyteller who seamlessly melds multiple plotlines, paints vivid images, and creates memorable literary characters. The ending, while leaving plenty of loose ends, seems satisfying and appropriate. This is a worthy close to an outstanding quartet that has shown McMurtry at his best. Jay Freeman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
I did not intend to read the whole series, the Berrybender Narratives, but it drew me along to the end, Folly and Glory. This is easy, entertaining reading.Published on July 5 2004 by Susan J Josenhans
A fitting end to a great epic story. Larry McMurtry outdoes himself on the last segment of the Berrybender saga and as usual paints the West with his harsh but realistic brush. Read morePublished on July 2 2004 by Mr. Patrick N. Renaud
Folly and Glory is the last of the four books in the excellent tale. You must start with the first book, Sin Killer. Each story leaves you craving more. Read morePublished on June 21 2004 by Reeda
A slight change of pace from Book #3. After a lengthy stay in Santa Fe with the usual descriptions of Berrybender rhetoric and aristocratic decadence - there's a great conversation... Read morePublished on June 18 2004 by Pol Sixe
The final piece of the Berrybender Narratives, starts out strong, picking up where the the last three left off. Read morePublished on June 14 2004