Friday, February 11, 2011

A Thousand Shall Fall by Bodie Thoene

book cover

A Thousand Shall Fall
by Bodie Thoene

ISBN: 1-55661-190-0
Trade Paperback: 430 pages
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Released: 1992

Source: Bought in a library book sale.

Book Description from Back Cover:
The War to End All Wars is over, and the soldiers have come home. Birch Tucker, with his wife Trudy and his sons, makes his way back to Shiloh, Arkansas, his boyhood home, to carve out a new life for his family. Max Meyer, now a financial columnist for the New York Times , moves along the wealthy and influential stock barons of the world.

Life in America in the Twenties holds out the tantalizing promise of peace and prosperity.

But times are not what they seem. The peace is not permanent, and the prosperity moves toward its inevitable end. Birch and his family face the grim prospect of losing everything they have worked for. And Max may have to give up all his wealth and influence to gain the son he never knew he had...

My Review:
A Thousand Shall Fall is a historical novel set in September and October of 1929 and leads up to the stock market crash. This novel is the second in the series, but you don't need to have read In My Father's House to understand this one (though it will make it more enjoyable). Reading this novel out of order will partly spoil some events in the previous novel.

There were several point of view characters from different parts of America and different stations in life. The characters were interesting, and Birch's family was very engaging. Birch's sons got into a lot of very funny scrapes. However, the storyline with the boy, David, pushed past what I felt was realistic.

Since we know the stock market crash is only weeks away and will affect everyone in the book, the suspense was high from beginning to end. There were also some relationship tensions and occasionally physical danger to main characters to add suspense.

The historical and setting details brought the story alive in my imagination. Most of the historical details were about class differences and how prohibition and the stock market affected society. The book wrapped up very quickly and left a number of loose ends, but they might be answered in the next book in the series.

Several of the main characters were Christians. However, there wasn't much religious content until the small amount at the very end where they have to decide to trust in God even if they loose everything.

There was no sex. There was no bad language. Overall, I'd recommend this enjoyable and well-written historical novel.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Excerpt from Chapter One
Moonshine whiskey and cockfights--the two ingredients spelled MONEY, plain and simple. Prohibition had proven to be a profitable enterprise. Not a county in the entire nation remained untouched by the sale of illegal liquor at illegal sporting events held deep in some secret, wooded glens or black-road barns. The law knew, but hard cash or a stake in the profits silenced them. From near and far, men came to see the mortal combat--sometimes between cocks with razor-sharp metal spurs strapped on their legs, sometimes between pit-bull dogs raised from puppies for the sole purpose of battling to the death before a roaring crowd.

On still other occasions, those within the fighting pit were men--convicts, specially chosen from among their fellow prisoners for strength, endurance, and brutality. Their masters were guards who urged them to fight in the prison yard; the champion received extra food and special privileges.

There were no rules in such fights. Leg-irons, fists, and teeth were all equal weapons. Like ancient gladiators, they fought until one man lay unconscious in the ring of torchlight. Sometimes the loser lived. Sometimes he did not. But the winner was expected to fight again at some future date. The law did not even need to be bribed, because it was the lawmen who sponsored the fights and gloried in the profits.

Sheriff Myron Ring had discovered a champion among the human refuse of his Oklahoma chain gang. Ring had seen him take on three white men in the prison yard one sultry afternoon.


Anonymous said...

There was no sex except for a small part where the wife and husband were going to sleep and the husband wanted milk but they didn't have any and since the wife was nursing her baby he said "We can arrange that". I guess it was an inside joke?

Genre Reviewer said...


I honestly don't remember that scene and perhaps didn't understand that it meant (as you assume) that they were going to have sex.

In any case, when I say "no sex" in a review, it could mean anything from there literally was no mention or implication that sex occurs DURING this novel to "sex was implied--they got married and babies happened, after all (or it's otherwise implied)--but it wasn't specifically stated in the text."