Awarded the 2015 Jesse H. Jones Award for fiction from the Texas Institute of Letters
Named by Kirkus Reviews as one of the Best Fiction Books of 2014
War is coming to the distant Mexican province of Texas, a war that will shatter one nation, create another, test the strength of family, and measure the worth of dreams.
Promised Lands, Elizabeth Crook’s vast yet intimate novel of the Texas Revolution, depicts that legendary conflict for the first time in all its tragic dimension. It takes us beyond the traditional set-pieces of the Alamo and San Jacinto to the other places where the war was fought — to the forest traces and prairies and Gulf Coast beaches, and into the hearts of the novel’s vibrant characters. Among them:
Domingo De La Rosa — the great Tejano ranchero, implacable and devout, for whom the fight against the Anglo “heretics” is nothing less than a holy war.
Hugh Kenner — a physician in flight from his past, an indifferent farmer, a father whose son has run away to the war. During the horrors to come, he will discover the heroic strength of his compassion, and also its brutal cost.
Katie Kenner — Hugh Kenner’s restless daughter, a refugee caught up in the massive human stampede known as The Runaway Scrape, who finds herself in love with a foreigner and responsible for the life of an orphan baby.
Adelaido Pacheco — a dashing tobacco smuggler and self-made figure of romance. Loyal to no cause but his own, he is a man without a country, and in peril of becoming a man without a soul.
Crucita Pacheco — Adelaido’s beautiful and haunted sister. She has lost her family, all but Adelaido, in the cholera epidemic of 1832. Feeling that God has forsaken her, she enters the employ of Domingo de la Rosa as a spy against the Anglo rebels, and discovers an improbable love.
Callum MacKay — a Scottish immigrant hideously disfigured in a Comanche raid, who wanders the landscape like a vengeful ghost.
Through these people and many others, Promised Lands brings a myth-encrusted chapter of American history to authentic life, culminating in a harrowing depiction of the infamous Goliad massacre. Elizabeth Crook, the acclaimed author of The Raven’s Bride, demonstrates once again a stunning command of her period and a passionate regard for her characters. Promised Lands bears the hallmark of a master novelist: a grand vision, rendered on an unforgettably human scale.