By Philipp Meyer
(Ecco Press, Paperback, 9780062120403, 561pp.)
Publication Date: January 2014
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A Globe & Mail 100 Selection
Spring, 1849. Eli McCullough is thirteen years old when a band of Comanche storms his Texas homestead and murders his mother and sister, taking him captive. Brave and clever, Eli quickly adapts to Comanche life, carving out a place as 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, civilized nor fully wild, he must fashion a place for himself in a world in which he does not fully belong--a journey of adventure, tragedy, and grit 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 Eli's great-granddaughter, Jeannie, 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, honor, and 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.