Hadrian's Walls

Front Cover
Knopf, 1999 - Fiction - 321 pages
1 Review
This striking debut novel is an intensely powerful story of imprisonment, both behind walls and within the personal confines of human relationships.
Shepherdsville, East Texas, is a town defined--architecturally, financially, and socially--by its state penitentiaries, among them the bleak Hope Prison Farm. It's a town where virtually every inhabitant is either an inmate or a prison employee, a town where crime literally pays.
Shepherdsville's two most famous citizens are Sonny Hope, its larger-than-life prison director, and Hadrian Coleman, its most notorious convict. Their friendship since boyhood has followed a pattern of mutual dependence, keeping them at once in collusion and on opposite sides of the law. At age fifteen, introspective and emotionally vulnerable, Hadrian killed a man and was sentenced to fifty years at Hope Farm. However, twenty years later, he achieves the unthinkable and escapes from the prison.
After years of life on the run, he's summoned back to Shepherdsville to receive a full governor's pardon secured by Sonny, who now runs the prison and, by extension, the town. Hadrian knows that Sonny's motives are not entirely clean, that this is a favor that will require something in return. When the nature of that payment is finally made clear, he must determine who really owes what to whom and whether carrying out Sonny's demand will result in a lifetime spent in his power. As Hadrian vacillates between loyalty to his friend and the struggle to do right, he is pulled toward a final showdown with Sonny--a crisis that will not only change the lives of the two men but also finally free Hadrian from Shepherdsville and from his past.
Hadrian's Walls won theSteven Turner Award, given by The Texas Institute of Letters for the best first work of fiction.

From inside the book

What people are saying - Write a review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - quartzite - LibraryThing

This was a very good book, a well written tale that struck me as a cross between Scott Turow and Greek tragedy. A book where complicated relationships between a wide variety of well-drawn characters ... Read full review


User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

In his cool, prosaically loping fiction debut, Texas journalist Draper easily entraps the reader in a Lone Star State prison town rancid with lies, corruptions, and cover-ups. Draper's most vivid ... Read full review


Section 1
Section 2
Section 3

13 other sections not shown

Common terms and phrases

About the author (1999)

Robert Draper spent years as an editor and writer at Texas Monthly before moving to his current position as staff writer for GQ magazine. A lifelong Texan, he lives in Austin with his wife, Meg Littleton.

Bibliographic information