Fallen Land: A Novel
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
An Indie Next pick, an Okra 2016 Winter Selection, and a SIBA Bestseller!
Fallen Land is Taylor Brown's debut novel set in the final year of the Civil War, as a young couple on horseback flees a dangerous band of marauders who seek a bounty reward. Callum, a seasoned horse thief at fifteen years old, came to America from his native Ireland as an orphan. Ava, her father and brother lost to the war, hides in her crumbling home until Callum determines to rescue her from the bands of hungry soldiers pillaging the land, leaving destruction in their wake. Ava and Callum have only each other in the world and their remarkable horse, Reiver, who carries them through the destruction that is the South. Pursued relentlessly by a murderous slave hunter, tracking dogs, and ruthless ex-partisan rangers, the couple race through a beautiful but ruined land, surviving on food they glean from abandoned farms and the occasional kindness of strangers. In the end, as they intersect with the scorching destruction of Sherman's March, the couple seek a safe haven where they can make a home and begin to rebuild their lives. Dramatic and thrillingly written with an uncanny eye for glimpses of beauty in a ravaged landscape, Fallen Land is a love story at its core, and an unusually assured first novel by award-winning young author Taylor Brown.
forehead, and it felt cool against his skin. “Any higher and we’d be putting a tourniquet on your leg at the hip. You’d be lucky to keep the leg. But we got to disinfect. Before it starts to discolor.” She bent over the bandage and sniffed. “And to smell.” “Water,” said Callum. She dug in the saddlebags and found their beef bladder: drunk dry. “We got to get on,” she said. “We got to find something somewhere to disinfect with.” He was breathing hard now, the pain like an enemy underneath his
meat soon. This path broke onto a sparsely wooded ridge. Long-fallen hunks of rock covered the slope, each of them bearing furry green moss. Delicate ferns peeked out of their cracks and fissures, as if those little plants had been what split the mighty granite. Beyond this the ridge verged unto a small valley. A small highland village sat upon the valley floor, hunkered in shadow. Callum, silent, dismounted. His eyes were wide, captive. He crawled to the cliff’s edge. He couldn’t believe it.
him. Was not sure it mattered. But he felt compelled to voice the words into the old man’s ear, to show them to the old man as he would some doomed artifact in a disappearing world, just so someone else would know of its existence. He had to. Ahead of him the tavern pulsed with light and sound. The rest of the town was dark-windowed and silent. A seeming ghost town. The doors surely bolted or barred against the ruckus, no candles to tempt or invite the band of riders. Next to the tavern stood a
fire. “I remember my daddy talking about this,” said Ava. Callum looked at the devastation, raised an eyebrow. “He some kind of soothsayer now? Future-reader?” Ava shook her head. “More the opposite. He said these prehistoric shorelines cut across the land at places, specially down here. Said the land, it goes suddenly flat like this because it used to be underwater. All this”—her hand swept a panorama of the vista before them—“all this used to have fish swimming in it. Sea monsters with
blinked. She was gone. The window black. Shadows crisscrossed him. The tickle of rope. His chest was burning, his breath short. His eyes were open but barely. The outspill of his saddle wallets glittered on the road. He saw a jar. The jar. On its side. A babe, unborn. A seed. He looked up. Bare branches fissuring the blue sky. He closed his eyes. A naked white tree glowing in perfect darkness. He felt the rope scratching his neck. Tightening. They’d tied the other end to the pommel of the