Part epic of Texas, part classic coming-of-age story, part unflinching portrait of the bloody price of power, “The Son” is an utterly transporting novel that maps the legacy of violence in the American West through the lives of the McCulloughs, an ambitious family as resilient and dangerous as the land they claim.
Spring, 1849. The first male child born in the newly established Republic of Texas, Eli McCullough is 13 years old when a marauding band of Comanches storms his homestead and brutally murders his mother and sister, taking him captive.
Brave and clever, Eli quickly adapts to life among the Comanches, learning their ways and language, answering to a new name, becoming the chief’s adopted son, and waging war against their enemies, including white men — which complicates his sense of loyalty and understanding of who he is.
But when disease, starvation, and overwhelming numbers of armed Americans decimate the tribe, Eli finds himself alone. Neither white nor Indian, civilised nor fully wild, he must carve a place for himself in a world in which he does not fully belong — a journey of adventure, tragedy, hardship, grit, and luck that reverberates in the lives of his progeny.
Intertwined with Eli’s story are those of his son, Peter, a man who bears the emotional cost of his father’s drive for power, and Jeannie, Eli’s great-granddaughter, a woman who must fight hardened rivals to succeed in a man’s world.
Philipp Meyer deftly explores how Eli’s ruthlessness and steely pragmatism transform subsequent generations of McCulloughs. Love, honour, even children are sacrificed in the name of ambition as the family becomes one of the richest powers in Texas, a ranching-and-oil dynasty of unsurpassed wealth and privilege.
Yet, like all empires, the McCulloughs must eventually face the consequences of their choices. Harrowing, panoramic, and vividly drawn, “The Son” is a masterful achievement from a sublime young talent.
By: Philipp Meyer
Synopsis: Philipp Meyer, the acclaimed author of “American Rust”, returns with “The Son”, an epic of the American West and a multigenerational saga of power, blood, land, and oil that follows the rise of one unforgettable Texas family – from the Comanche raids of the 1800s to the oil booms of the 20th century. Harrowing, panoramic, and deeply evocative, “The Son” is a fully realised masterwork in the greatest tradition of the American canon – an unforgettable novel that combines the narrative prowess of Larry McMurtry with the knife-edge sharpness of Cormac McCarthy.