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The Son Audiobook, by Philipp Meyer Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Philipp Meyer Narrator: Clifton Collins, Will Patton, Kate Mulgrew, Scott Shepherd Publisher: HarperAudio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: May 2013 ISBN: 9780062263353
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Soon to be a TV Series on AMC starring Pierce Brosnan and co-written by Philipp Meyer. The critically acclaimed, New York Times bestselling epic, a saga of land, blood, and power that follows the rise of one unforgettable Texas family from the Comanche raids of the 1800s to the oil booms of the 20th century.

Part epic of Texas, part classic coming-of-age story, part unflinching examination of the bloody price of power, The Son is a gripping and utterly transporting novel that maps the legacy of violence in the American west with rare emotional acuity, even as it presents an intimate portrait of one family across two centuries. Eli McCullough is just twelve-years-old when a marauding band of Comanche storm his Texas homestead and brutally murder his mother and sister, taking him as a captive. Despite their torture and cruelty, Eli--against all odds—adapts to life with the Comanche, learning their ways, their language, taking on a new name, finding a place as the adopted son of the chief of the band, and fighting their wars against not only other Indians, but white men, too-complicating his sense of loyalty, his promised vengeance, and his very understanding of self. But when disease, starvation, and westward expansion finally decimate the Comanche, Eli is left alone in a world in which he belongs nowhere, neither white nor Indian, civilized or fully wild. Deftly interweaving Eli’s story with those of his son, Peter, and his great-granddaughter, JA, The Son deftly explores the legacy of Eli’s ruthlessness, his drive to power, and his life-long status as an outsider, even as the McCullough family rises to become one of the richest in Texas, a ranching-and-oil dynasty of unsurpassed wealth and privilege. Harrowing, panoramic, and deeply evocative, The Son is a fully realized masterwork in the greatest tradition of the American canon-an unforgettable novel that combines the narrative prowess of Larry McMurtry with the knife edge sharpness of Cormac McCarthy.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “An old-fashioned family saga set against the birth of Texas and the modern West, this is a riveting slow burn of love, power, and a legacy of violence spanning generations. Meyer is a writer of vast ambition and talent, and he has created nothing less than an American epic.”


  • “It may not be the Great American Novel, but it certainly is a damn good one.”

    Entertainment Weekly (Grade A)

  • “In gorgeously gritty prose, this epic novel follows three generations of the McCullough family—as wild as the untamed Texas frontier where they’ve settled—in their ruthless quest for power.”

    O, The Oprah Magazine

  • “As bold, ambitious, and brutal as its subject: the rise of Texas as seen through the tortured history of one family. At 561 pages, The Son is a demanding read...But by the end, Meyer ties it together and not too neatly. Tougher-than-tough Eli McCullough would respect that.”

    USA Today (4 stars)

  • “There is an extravagant quantity of birth, death, and bitter passion in Philipp Meyer’s grand and engrossing Texas saga.”

    Wall Street Journal

  • “Meyer has demonstrated that he can write a potboiler of the first rank, aswirl with pulpy pleasures: impossible love affairs, illicit sex, strife between fathers and sons, the unhappiness of the rich, the corruptions of power.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “Every facet of Meyer’s world—scent and sight and sensation—has weight and heft…Meyer’s dream is a nightmare in which blood seeks power. It’s also unputdownable.”


  • “Philipp Meyer offers a tale that spans generations and, in its own way, encapsulates the history of the state itself.”

    Los Angeles Times

  • “With its vast scope—stretching from pre-Civil War cowboys to post-9/11 immigrants—The Son makes a viable claim to be a Great American Novel of the sort John Dos Passos and Frank Norris once produced.”

    Washington Post

  • “[In] Meyer’s brilliant second novel…the writing is strong…and rich with detail…A wonderful novel.”

    Financial Times (London)

  • “A novel that is an epic in the truest sense of the word: massive in scope, replete with transformations in fortune and fate, and drenched in the blood of war.”

    Huffington Post

  • “One of those books that remind you how totally absorbing a novel can be... the work of an uncommonly visionary and skillful writer with a superb sense of pacing... A beautiful, violent and frequently heartbreaking book, but it is not without a sense of fun.”

    Washington Independent Review of Books

  • “Meyer’s massive Texas saga is perhaps the best Indian captive story ever written…[Meyer’s] tale is best compared to Giant. Little Big Man and Lonesome Dove also come to mind.”

    Booklist (starred review)

  • “Meyer never falters…Like all destined classics, Meyer’s second novel speaks volumes about humanity—our insatiable greed, our inherent frailty, the endless cycle of conquer or be conquered. So, too, his characters’ successes and failures serve as a constant reminder: ‘There is nothing we will not have mastered, except, of course, ourselves.’”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “Meyer brings the bloody, racially fraught history of Texas to life. Call it a family saga or an epic, this novel is a violent and harrowing read.”

    Library Journal

  • “An expertly written tale of ancient crimes, with every period detail—and every detail, period—just right.”

    Kirkus Reviews (starred reviews)

  • “The story of our founding mythology; of the men and women who tore a country from the wilderness and the price paid in blood by subsequent generations. An epic in the tradition of Faulkner and Melville, this is the work of a writer at the height of his power.”

    Kevin Powers, award-winning author

  • “Philipp Meyer’s wonderful novel employs beautiful turns of phrase, imaginative imagery, and vivid scenes. It’s all matched by the quality narration of a full cast. Will Patton’s grizzled voice is perfect for Eli, who becomes a man at a young age. Kate Mulgrew’s deep-voiced twang gives great-granddaughter J. A. the vocal personality her independence deserves. And Scott Shepherd’s slightly shaky and tired voice is perfect for Peter, Eli’s son, who details his perspective through the pages of his diary. Meyer’s story recounts more than 150 years, covering rough and rocky ground, which is smoothed out by attentive narrators. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award. A 2014 Audies finalist.”


  • A Booklist Top 10 in June 2013
  • Selected for the June 2013 Indie Next List
  • An AudioFile Editors’ Pick, June 2013
  • A New York Times bestseller
  • Winner of an AudioFile Earphones Award
  • A Publishers Weekly bestseller
  • A Los Angeles Times bestseller
  • One of New York Times Book Review 100 Notable Books of2013
  • An Amazon Top 100 Book of 2013
  • A 2013 Entertainment Weekly Best Book for Fiction
  • One of Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books of 2013 for Fiction
  • A 2013 Chicago Tribune Book of the Year
  • An NPR bestseller
  • A 2013 BookPage Best Book
  • An Audie Award Finalist for 2014 for Best Narration
  • A Washington Post Top 10 Book of 2013
  • A San Francisco Chronicle Best Book of 2013 for Fiction
  • A 2014 Pulitzer Prize Finalist for Fiction
  • A 2013 USA Today Best Book
  • Winner of the 2014 Western Heritage Award for Best Western Novel
  • A 2014 Indies Choice Book Award Honoree for Adult Ficiton
  • One of Oprah’s Terrific Reads: Ten Titles to Pick Up Now
  • One of Globe and Mail (Toronto) Best Books of 2013

Listener Reviews

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  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Frank Ah Sue | 8/22/2017

    " I've read this book and have listened to the audio book many times. A great story and well written. "

About the Author

Philipp Meyer grew up in Baltimore, dropped out of high school, and got his GED when he was sixteen. After spending several years volunteering at a trauma center in downtown Baltimore, he attended Cornell University, where he studied English. Since graduating, he has worked as a derivatives trader at UBS, a construction worker, and an EMT, among other jobs. His writing has been published in McSweeney’s, Iowa Review, and Salon. From 2005 to 2008 Meyer was a fellow at the Michener Center for Writers in Austin, Texas. He splits his time between Texas and upstate New York.

About the Narrators

Scott Shepherd is best known for his work with two internationally celebrated theater companies, the Wooster Group and Elevator Repair Service. He was the narrator of Gatz, a seven-hour staging of the entire text of The Great Gatsby, for which he won an Obie and an Elliot Norton Award.

Will Patton is an award-winning actor and narrator. HIs narrations have earned the prestigious Audie Award for Best Fiction Narration and also won dozens of AudioFile Earphones Awards. His numerous film credits include Remember the Titans, The Punisher, The Mothman Prophesies, Armageddon, and The Spitfire Grill. He starred in the TNT miniseries Into the West and on the CBS series The Agency and won Obie Awards in the theater for his performances in Fool for Love and What Did He See.

Kate Mulgrew is an accomplished film and television actress, most noted for her lead role as Captain Kathryn Janeway on Star Trek: Voyager. Other television credits include Ryan’s Hope, Murphy Brown, Cheers, and the Netflix original series Orange Is the New Black. She has won numerous awards for her performances, including an Obie Award, Golden Satellite Award, Saturn Award, and a Golden Globe nomination. Her audiobook narrations have won her four AudioFile Earphones Awards.

Scott Shepherd is best known for his work with two internationally celebrated theater companies, the Wooster Group and Elevator Repair Service. He was the narrator of Gatz, a seven-hour staging of the entire text of The Great Gatsby, for which he won an Obie and an Elliot Norton Award.