The Bully of Order
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The Bully of Order

3.38 (152 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

Set in a logging town on the lawless Pacific coast of Washington State at the turn of the twentieth century, a spellbinding novel of fate and redemption--told with a muscular lyricism and filled with a cast of characters Shakespearean in scope--in which the lives of an ill-fated family are at the mercy of violent social and historical forces that tear them apart.

Keen to make his fortune, Jacob Ellstrom, armed with his medical kit and new wife, Nell, lands in The Harbor--a mud-filled, raucous coastal town teeming with rough trade pioneers, sawmill laborers, sailors, and prostitutes. But Jacob is not a doctor, and a botched delivery exposes his ruse, driving him onto the streets in a plunge towards alcoholism. Alone, Nell scrambles to keep herself and their young son, Duncan, safe in this dangerous world. When a tentative reunion between the couple--in the company of Duncan and Jacob's malicious brother, Matius--results in tragedy, Jacob must flee town to elude being charged with murder.

Years later, the wild and reckless Duncan seems to be yet another of The Harbor's hoodlums. His only salvation is his overwhelming love for Teresa Boyerton, the daughter of the town's largest mill owner. But disaster will befall the lovers with heartbreaking consequences.

And across town, Bellhouse, a union boss and criminal rabble-rouser, sits at the helm of The Harbor's seedy underbelly, perpetuating a cycle of greed and violence. His thug Tartan directs his pack of thieves, pimps, and murderers, and conceals an incendiary secret involving Duncan's mother. As time passes, a string of calamitous events sends these characters hurtling towards each other in an epic collision that will shake the town to its core.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 400 pages
  • 147 x 216 x 25mm | 295g
  • English
  • Reprint
  • 0062297759
  • 9780062297754
  • 1,760,182

Review quote

THE BULLY OF ORDER possesses a strange magnetism its irresistible, multi-layered plotline will tug you all the way through a story that captures the gritty lawlessness of the Northwest s beginnings. --High Country News"
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Back cover copy

Washington Territory, 1886

Jacob and Nell Ellstrom step from ship to shore and are struck dumb by the sight of their new home--the Harbor, a ragged township of mud streets and windowless shacks. With Jacob's station as the town's only physician, prosperity and respect soon rain down on the Ellstroms. Then their son, Duncan, is born, and these are grand days, busy and full of growth. But when a new physician arrives, Jacob is revealed as an impostor, a fraud, and he flees, leaving his wife and son to fend for themselves.

Years later, on a fated Fourth of July picnic, Duncan Ellstrom falls in love. Her name is Teresa Boyerton, and her father owns the largest sawmill in the Harbor. Their relationship is forbidden by class and by circumstance, because without Jacob there to guide him, Duncan has gone to work for Hank Bellhouse, the local crime boss. Now, if Duncan wants to be with Teresa, he must face not only his past but also the realities of a dark and violent world and his place within it.
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Rating details

152 ratings
3.38 out of 5 stars
5 17% (26)
4 34% (51)
3 26% (40)
2 16% (25)
1 7% (10)
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