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3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (491 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Paulette Jiles Narrator: Jack Garrett Publisher: HarperCollins Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: March 2009 ISBN: 9780061805479
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“Meticulously researched and beautifully crafted.... This is glorious work.” — Washington Post

“A gripping, deeply relevant book.” — New York Times Book Review

 From Paulette Jiles, author of the critically acclaimed New York Times bestsellers Enemy Women and Stormy Weather, comes a stirring work of fiction set on the untamed Texas frontier in the aftermath of the Civil War. One of only twelve books longlisted for the 2009 Scotiabank Giller Prize—one of Canada’s most prestigious literary awards—The Color of Lightning is a beautifully rendered and unforgettable re-examination of one of the darkest periods in U.S. history.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “A gripping, deeply relevant book.” 

    New York Times Book Review

  • “[A] meticulously researched and beautifully crafted story…this is glorious work.” 

    Washington Post

  • “Jiles writes like she owns the frontier, and in this multifaceted, riveting and full of danger novel, she does.” 

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Jiles never reduces her cast of characters to stock stereotypes, tackling a traumatic and tragic episode in American history with sensitivity and assurance.” 

    Booklist

  • “Garrett’s sympathetic attention and unflagging skill are a perfect match for Jiles’ marvelous invention.” 

    AudioFile

  • Winner of an AudioFile Earphones Award, July 2009
  • Selected for the April 2009 Indie Next List

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jennifer | 2/16/2014

    " Fascinating story of a newly-freed black family that moves to Texas in 1863. It's based on a real family. The wife and two children are kidnapped by Native Americans, and the husband rescues them 8 months later. The author does a fantastic job of exploring the moral ambiguities in the relationship between settlers (especially black settlers since their ancestors were brought to the U.S. against their will) and Native Americans. Now I am interested in her other books as well. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Candace Hinkle | 1/31/2014

    " If you like historical fiction this is a must read. It is based on a true story of the wild and wooly early frontier days in Texas. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mary | 1/31/2014

    " In this book, Paulette Jiles opened my eyes to what it was like for the Indians during the period following the Civil War and actually during the whole period when the government was trying to resettle them. I had,up to this time, heard more about what the Indians did to the settlers who came to their land. Jiles does share accounts of the atrocities visited on the white settlers by the Indians in this area of Texas. However we also see the Indian side and for me anyway this was enlightening. I don't know how the whole Indian situation could have been handled better but surely there must have been some way. This is a book worth reading and thinking about. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 renukar | 1/30/2014

    " About the 'wild west'. Not my favorite type of fiction. But a few pages in, was completely hooked. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Valerie | 1/29/2014

    " An interesting story about strife among blacks, whites, and Indian tribes in post-Civil War Texas marred by uneven writing, sentence fragments, and abrupt transitions between scenes. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lynn | 1/20/2014

    " Jiles did a good job of bringing to life some lesser-known people and events from that part of American history. Read the full review. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sharon | 1/6/2014

    " Rich in texture, a vivid portrayal of the settling of Texas after the Civil War. Jiles seemlessly weaves together the sensibilities of three cultures, Comanche-Kiowa, Southern white and Southern black with insight from a Northern peace-keeping perspective provided by a Quaker Indian agent and a reporter. It's a beautiful telling and amazing in its ability to let us see so much. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Terry | 1/4/2014

    " Great fictional account of a true story. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Karin | 12/31/2013

    " Couldn't get into this one. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Irene Fischer | 12/24/2013

    " I really enjoyed the author's style of writing and the story line was compelling enough. For me, more insights into the plight of the Native-Americans and those who chose to live on their lands. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 LisaB Burton | 12/19/2013

    " Honest fictional account of an historical period mostly unknown to us, namely the African American experience in Texas following the Civil War and the struggle with Native Americans. Hard to read in places due to explicit violence. Very non-judgmental. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sam | 12/11/2013

    " Was interested in the book, knowing that the main character, was someone who actually did some of the things descripted in the story. Know Paulette Jiles worked hard, to piece this story together, wanted to give it, the respect and time it deserved. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Marcella Curry | 11/24/2013

    " I loved the first half of this novel; the events were difficult to read about but vividly told. I found I reached a point where I was not motivated to continue reading and finally decided not to finish it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sara D | 11/24/2013

    " Excellent, gripping historical novel about an African American family during the early 19th century, when Kiowas and Apaches raided North Texas and carried many settlers, mainly women and children, into captivity in the Indian Territory. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Dori | 4/19/2013

    " Incredible book. Loved it, hated to have it end. So much great history and untold history. Wonderful imagery and language. Love this author! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 G Gadus | 6/7/2012

    " A tough book to read--especially at the beginning--but very enlightening. About the American Indian tribal wars against the settlers in the Oklahoma-Texas territories with the focus on an African American Britt Johnson who rescues his wife, children, and a neighbors taken captives by the Comanches. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Amy | 5/25/2012

    " Extremely memorable characters set during a time in US history that I didn't know much about. Expertly composed and well worth the read! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Gay | 4/19/2012

    " loved this book, the right time period, close of Civil War, great story which included: Indians, freed slaves, and immigrants to TX and Quakers. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Roberta | 9/24/2011

    " Historic fiction about the pioneers and the Indians on the prairie. One of the most interesting sections was about the Quaker Indian agent who struggled with his work. Wonderful writing, excellent story. Jiles wrote the terrific Enemy Women about the Civil War in Missouri "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sara | 8/23/2011

    " A very interesting story of the time after the War Between the States that takes place in Texas. It is the life a a Black Man who works to find his family that the Indians have stolen while he was off working. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Seale Ballenger | 4/28/2011

    " The language is so lovingly crafted that it takes your breath away. A book that never really reached readers in the way it should have. I strongly recommend this book for lovers of historical fiction and for book groups. From the author of the highly acclaimed ENEMY WOMEN. Savor it.... "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 LaLa | 3/23/2011

    " Paulette Jiles slays me every time. Gosh Her word choice is trancendant and her charecters make me put the book down and beg the skies for a happy ending - even when I know it's impossible. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Amy | 2/2/2011

    " Extremely memorable characters set during a time in US history that I didn't know much about. Expertly composed and well worth the read! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Melissa | 12/15/2010

    " Good historical fiction. Not my typical book but I enjoyed it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Shawna | 11/7/2010

    " Although I really do enjoy historical fiction, this book did not really captivate me. I had no problem walking away from it to do other things. I read on because yes, it was interesting, but I didn't become attached to the characters at all. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Alice | 9/30/2010

    " This is about Britt Johnson - the story of his life. Opened my eyes to another part of American history. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Irene | 8/30/2010

    " I really enjoyed the author's style of writing and the story line was compelling enough. For me, more insights into the plight of the Native-Americans and those who chose to live on their lands. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Karin | 8/20/2010

    " Couldn't get into this one. "

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About the Author
Author Paulette Jiles

Paulette Jiles is a novelist, poet, and memoirist. She is the author of Cousins, a memoir, and the novels Enemy Women, Stormy Weather, The Color of Lightning, Lighthouse Island, and News of the World. She lives on a ranch near San Antonio, TX.

About the Narrator

Jack Garrett’s voice is immediately recognizable from his work in commercials and as a personality on radio stations in the west and southwest. In addition to guest appearances on television, he has performed in dozens of theater productions on regional and New York stages, including Guys and Dolls, Hallelujah Breakdown, Prelude to a Kiss, Cast a Spell, and Bongo Fever.