The twentieth century looms just a few years away, bringing with it the belief in progress and a new world. But for Josiah Fuller, William Corvin, and the Rider in the Appalachian backwoods and small towns, there is nothing but a world where bloodshed is paid for in blood, and violence is the ultimate law of the land.
When seventeen-year-old Josiah Fuller comes home to find his parents hanged and mutilated and the family house burned to the ground, he sets off to find the man responsible for their murders and avenge their deaths. His journey takes him through new towns and wildernesses he has not seen before. He meets people who show him the realities of living in a violent world, forcing Josiah to decide what is most important to him: vengeance or grace.
Years after running away from home as a young boy, William Corvin returns with his new bride to take over the family’s coal mining operation. Though he is haunted by the violence of his past, he sets out to live a peaceful life and start a family there. However, Corvin’s hopes of peace are challenged when a horrible act of violence causes him to revert back to the man he once was.
After being visited by an angel in a dream years earlier, the Rider has become a man with violence in his blood, believing himself to be appointed by God to collect the souls of sinners. He travels around on his horse, killing whoever he feels is deserving of God’s wrath and vengeance.
These three men move along their individual paths, their stories intersecting one another, as they search for an understanding of the violent world in which they live. The novel examines the power and fragility of belief and conviction within humans, showing how one small act often leads to consequences that reach far beyond anyone’s imagining.
Praise for A MURDER COUNTRY:
“A Murder Country is an existential, primordial fable. You will hear this novel compared to the work of Cormac McCarthy. You’re going to hear that a lot. And it’s true, Daily is mining a dark American seam. He’s of a tradition that starts with Hawthorne, and on to Poe, to Dickinson. From Melville, to Steinbeck, to O’Connor. And yes, to McCarthy. And now beyond. You must read this book. But steel yourself.” —Grant Jerkins, author of A Scholar of Pain and A Very Simple Crime
“In A Murder Country, author Brandon Daily has crafted a dark and beautifully written story of death and violence in a mystical landscape of tortured souls struggling with their innermost desires and demons. Daily’s style is reminiscent of Cormac McCarthy at his finest, but with twists and turns that make this work uniquely his own. An excellent read!” —William Rawlings, author of A Killing on Ring Jaw Bluff
“A Murder Country is a beautifully written, razor-sharp historical thriller. The prose is so assured and powerful, the characters so vivid and fully formed that it’s hard to believe this is a first novel. You won’t be able to put it down.” —David Bell, author of Never Come Back
“Brandon Daily has managed what is rare in a debut novel, the synthesis of adventure and philosophy, of gritty realism and metaphysics. In the traditions of Jack London and Cormac McCarthy he has delivered an engaging story of the hardness of human nature and the quest for vengeance, all set in an expansive and questioning vision.” —Anthony Grooms, author of The Vain Conversation and Bombingham