The Bully of Order
Set in a logging town on the lawless Pacific coast of Washington State at the turn of the twentieth century, a spellbinding novel of fate and redemption—told with a muscular lyricism and filled with a cast of characters Shakespearean in scope—in which the lives of an ill-fated family are at the mercy of violent social and historical forces that tear them apart
“The Bully of Order does what only the best works of fiction can do: it brilliantly imagines those parts of life that history all too often fails to record. This is a thoroughly engrossing story told in mesmerizing prose.” —Kevin Powers, author of The Yellow Birds
Keen to make his fortune, Jacob Ellstrom, armed with his medical kit and new wife, Nell, lands in The Harbor—a mud-filled, raucous coastal town teeming with rough trade pioneers, sawmill laborers, sailors, and prostitutes. But Jacob is not a doctor, and a botched delivery exposes his ruse, driving him onto the streets in a plunge toward alcoholism. Alone, Nell scrambles to keep herself and their young son, Duncan, safe in this dangerous world. When a tentative reunion between the couple—in the company of Duncan and Jacob’s malicious brother, Matius—results in tragedy, Jacob must flee town to elude being charged with murder.
Years later, the wild and reckless Duncan seems to be yet another of The Harbor’s hoodlums. His only salvation is his overwhelming love for Teresa Boyerton, the daughter of the town’s largest mill owner. But disaster will befall the lovers with heartbreaking consequences.
And across town, Bellhouse, a union boss and criminal rabble-rouser, sits at the helm of The Harbor’s seedy underbelly, perpetuating a cycle of greed and violence. His thug Tartan directs his pack of thieves, pimps, and murderers, and conceals an incendiary secret involving Duncan’s mother. As time passes, a string of calamitous events sends these characters hurtling towards each other in an epic collision that will shake the town to its core
After reading the description of this book I was super excited to read it… then I started and wasn’t too sure. As I sit here now and write this blog post I’m still not sure what I think of the book. The concept was cool, the characters had personality, but something just didn’t do it for me. I can’t tell if it was the over wordy passages or the jumping around or just the setting, all I know is I thought this book was okay.
I enjoyed reading about Jacob and how he was living his life with his wife and child, and Matius was an interesting character who seemed to enjoy stirring up trouble. Tartan and Bellhouse were an interesting mix also. I think one of my other problems with the book was that, at the beginning I wasn’t quite sure who was who or how they were all connected- names just seemed to be thrown at you.
I really don’t know what to say about this book. It was an interesting concept, and the characters were fun to read about, but I don’t think I would ever re-read this book…
I give this book:
(3 out of 5 Hippos)
Thank you to
for allowing me to participate in this blog tour.