The Bird Saviors early reviews
The Bird Saviors
William J. Cobb
Hardcover $25.95 (320pp)
William J. Cobb daringly dips his pen into the inkwells of past, present, and future, and comes up with a story that is at once gritty and gripping, portentous yet promising, raw but redemptive.
When we meet seventeen-year-old Ruby Cole, a single mother living with her fundamentalist father, "Lord God," drought and unyielding dust storms drape the Southwest desert landscape. Dying birds signal man's demise, a killer fever is spreading like the wildfires burning nearby, and rogues and murderers are a dime a dozen. Amidst such hardship, Ruby must decide whether to yield to Lord God's plans to wed her to a man twice her age or stand her ground and carve out a life for herself and her daughter. Ruby is beguiling, her innocence and pluck in stark contrast to Lord God's unyielding stance.
But nothing is as black-and-white as Lord God, a disabled war vet, would have others believe. And nothing is as hopeless, either. Credit Cobb for that.
Weaving a biblical motif with social, political, economic, and environmental undertones, he does a yeoman's job of bringing together complex themes in a touching and memorable tale that readers can't, and won't, soon forget. It's Cobb's prose in particular that breathes life into this tumultuous terrain, his every sentence dulcet in the discordance. Characters range from murderous fuel hijackers and cattle rustlers to a bottom-feeding pawnshop owner and garden-variety thugs. But there are good people here too: a grieving 'bird savior'; an honorable police officer humping duty on horseback, and an imposing Native American (Crowfoot) who rescues damsels in distress when he's not meting out gentle justice or painting petroglyphs on canyon rock.
"She [Becca] wonders what George Armstrong Crowfoot has in his heart that gives him the confidence to offer his own depiction of the history of the world. There's a daring quality to it. 'This is amazing,' says Becca, and immediately regrets it. The words are weak and meaningless."
Likewise, readers will wonder what William J. Cobb has in his heart: doubtless, courage and a daring quality that gives him the confidence to render such a depiction of our world—now, and then. And to say The Bird Saviors is 'amazing' is also to short-change Cobb. For his is a timeless story of love and redemption, a classic tale of good vs. evil, and a can't-miss page-turner that leaves readers wanting more. The Bird Saviors was selected as an Indie Next pick for June. (June) CHRIS HENNING
Booklist: May 15, 2012
The Bird Saviors.
Cobb, William J. (Author)
Jun 2012. 320 p. Unbridled, hardcover, $25.95. (9781609530709).
The dusty town of Pueblo, Colorado, has been beset by a ravaging bird flu, a crippling drought, a growing cabal of criminals, and a revitalized fundamentalist religious presence. Amidst this negativity, the townspeople of Pueblo continue to seek meaningful human connections. In stories of survival, love, and the resilience of the human spirit, set against a backdrop of pawn shops, seedy motels, and cattle feed lots, the characters manage to triumph. Focusing on a young mother, a police officer, a disabled war veteran, and a grieving ornithologist, The Bird Saviors is an immersing and emotional piece of literature. Cobb devotes an impressive amount of attention to his novel's setting, allowing readers to experience the fullest picture of life within the confines of Pueblo. Glimpses of climate change, economic unrest, religious fanaticism, and immigrant hardship contribute to the near-futuristic setting, giving Cobb's fiction an eerie familiarity. In a voice reminiscent of Charles Frazier's, The Bird Saviors tells a fascinating story of success in spite of chaos, opportunity in spite of despair, and love in spite of hate.
Cobb, William J. The Bird Saviors. Unbridled. Jun. 2012. c.320p. ISBN 9781609530709. $25.95. F
In a grim, dystopian American West, bird populations, which are being blamed for a virulent avian flu epidemic, are being shot to extinction. Oil shortages play havoc with the economy, stretching the divide between rich and poor. The weather is bizarre, with persistent drought and dust storms. Scariest of all: these events don't seem to be occurring that far in the future. On the fringes of Pueblo, CO, characters' lives and misadventures intersect. These characters include Ruby, an unwed teen mother whose fundamentalist Mormon father considers selling her off to a polygamist pawn shop owner; a handsome but shady Native American living off the grid; a city traffic cop who patrols on horseback, plus a few assorted criminals. Ruby's interest in birds leads her to a job as research assistant to an ornithologist who's mourning the deaths of his own wife and child to the flu. VERDICT A powerful but disturbing read. Beyond building a sense of dread and panic, Cobb (Goodnight, Texas) gets inside the heads of people down on their luck in a disintegrating world.—Reba Leiding, James Madison Univ. Libs., Harrisonburg, VA