Sins Of The Younger Sons
“If Graham Greene or Robert Stone had turned
their literary talents toward the Basque separatist
struggle and its complex history and political
intrigue, the result would be a book very much
like Jan Reid’s outstanding novel Sins of the
Younger Sons. Reid’s story is a fascinating blend
of page-turning thriller and vivid tableau of
Basque culture and the movement that battled
the Spanish establishment for many decades. A
reader can’t ask for more—a book that’s engaging,
entertaining, educative, and unique.”
—THOMAS ZIGAL, author of Many Rivers
to Cross and The White League
“By dramatizing the romance of his central characters amidst escalating violence inflamed by the Basque separatist group ETA, Reid humanizes the history of the people’s struggle. For centuries, the Basque have fought to liberate themselves from what they consider Spanish oppression, paying a heavy price. … Tempering the harsh events in his narrative, Reid also fashions scenes depicting the warmth, beauty and charm of daily life in Basque country — and at Luke’s home in Texas — with a colorful cast of supporting characters, ranging from a famous artist and a self-important priest to undercover agents and the eccentric but loving people in Luke’s and Ysolina’s families. Page by page, ‘Sins of the Younger Sons’ invites the reader to dwell for a while within its unique world, to suffer and celebrate with its unforgettable characters. It’s a trip that, if taken, is well worth the effort.”
Ed Conroy, San Antonio Express-News
“What a fine book Jan Reid has written! At once
history—both cultural and political—and sensual
love story, it reaches beyond genre to make
for a magical and profound reading experience.
Don’t start reading it at night unless you want
to stay up until dawn and then some.”
—BEVERLY LOWRY, author of Who Killed
These Girls? and Harriet Tubman:
Imagining a Life
Ex-marine Luke Burgoa is now a member of what he calls the Outfit. He is on a covert mission to infiltrate the Basque separatist organization ETA in Spain and help bring down its military commander, Peru Madariaga. Luke’s Basque ancestors came with the Spanish empire to Cuba, Argentina, Mexico, and, seventy-five years ago, to a Texas ranch. Neighbors consider the Burgoas Mexican immigrants and exiles of that nation’s revolution, but the matriarch of the family speaks the ancient language Euskera and honors traditions of the old country.
Luke’s orders are to sell guns to the ETA and lure Peru into a trap. Instead he falls in love with Peru’s estranged wife, Ysolina, who is writing a doctoral thesis on an ancestor entangled in the sixteenth-century witchcraft frenzy in the Basque country. In a sense, Ysolina’s fate mirrors that of her ancestor Enara—caught up in the beauty, sensuality, violence, and exoticism of an ancient homeland cut in two by Spain and France.
From the day they cross the Pyrenees border into the Spanish Basque country, the trajectory of their love affair on the run puts Luke, Ysolina, and Peru on a collision course with each other that culminates in a plot that involves King Juan Carlos of Spain, the celebrated architect Frank Gehry, and the famed Guggenheim Museum in the Basque city of Bilbao, an industrial backwater haunted by the Spanish Civil War—and a hotbed of ETA extremism. Ranging from the jungles of Ecuador to a deadly prison in Madrid, Sins of the Younger Sons is a love story exposed to dire risk at every turn.