Cover image for The keeper's son [a novel]
The keeper's son [a novel]
Hickam, Homer H., 1943-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Random House Audio, [2003]

Physical Description:
5 audio discs (5 hrs., 15 min.) : digital ; 4 3/4 in.
General Note:
Subtitle from container.

Compact disc.

Added Author:
Format :
Audiobook on CD


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
XX(1242137.19) Adult Audiobook on CD Audiobooks

On Order



On the outer banks of the Carolinas in 1941, fishermen and a few lonely sailors constitute the human population. Dominating the rough yet beautiful landscape is the majestic Killakeet Lighthouse, run for generations by the Thurlow family. But Josh Thurlow, the lighthouse keeper's son, has forsworn his heritage to become the commander of a small Coast Guard patrol boat. Tortured by twenty years of guilt for losing his brother at sea, Josh still searches for him, even while a looming wolf pack of German U-boats threatens to decimate the shipping lanes off the coast. One of the U-boats is captained by a hardened Nazi, Otto Krebs. But Captain Krebs may bring ashore more than the war - he may also have the answer to Josh Thurlow's quest.

Author Notes

Homer H. Hickam Jr. was born in 1943 in Coalwood, Va. and earned a degree in industrial engineering from Virginia Polytechnic Institute in 1964. He served in the U.S. Army from 1967 to 1972, rising to the rank of captain. Hickam also served as an engineer at the Army Missile Command in Huntsville, Ala. and with the Army Corps of Engineers in West Germany. He has been with NASA since 1981.

Homer Hickam is a rare combination of practicing scientist and literate storyteller. As a NASA trainer he has taught astronauts to walk on the moon. As an author he has written a poignant, personal memoir about how he became an aerospace engineer.

In Rocket Boys (1998) Hickam tells how his fascination with rockets began in the 50s Sputnik space race, developed into a teenage rocket club, and led to Hickam's winning a gold and a silver medal at the National Science Fair in 1960. His inspiring story, told with honesty and humor, had its beginnings as an article in Smithsonian's Air and Space magazine in 1994 and is being adapted as a motion picture.

Hickam's other book Torpedo Junction: U-Boat War Off America's East Coast, 1942 (1989) is also praised as a literary achievement. It is a fascinating, fast-paced narrative that draws on his background as a scuba diver and explorer of sunken ships. Hickam has also written several shipwreck articles for major magazines.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

This excellent story of World War II on the Outer Banks will surprise no one who remembers Hickam's Torpedounction (1989), his nonfiction account of the U-boat war off the American coast in 1942. Drawing on his research for that book, Hickam deftly crafts a romantic, even melodramatic story, occasionally venturing beyond the limitations of historical factuality but always presenting consistent viewpoints for both American and German characters. The former include the title character, Coast Guard Lieutenantosh Thurlow in his 83-foot patrol boat, the Maudieane; her motley crew; and the inhabitants ofillakeet Island. The Germans are hard-driving but ethical Captainrebs, commander of U-560, and his crew, one of whom, Harro Stollenberg, may beosh's brother,acob, who was lost at sea 17 years earlier. The pacing, the building of character with carefully chosen detail, and the masterful construction of a setting are as much strengths of this novel as they are of Hickam's other books. He evokes with great skill a time and a place that is passing out of living memory, and if he completes his projected series aboutosh Thurlow and those who went down to the sea in Coast Guard cutters, he will have made a very notable addition to American maritime literature, indeed. --Roland Green Copyright 2003 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

A gutsy Coast Guard officer battles German submarines and 17 years of unfettered guilt on the North Carolina coast in 1941 and 1942 in this high adventure yarn. Hickam, the author of the memoir Rocket Boys (which was turned into the film October Sky), knows a great deal about submarine warfare in WWII, as evidenced by his 1989 nonfiction naval history, Torpedo Junction. This is the first novel of a planned series about rough and tumble Coast Guard Lt. Josh Thurlow and his unusual patrol boat crew during WWII. Josh, 31, is a career officer assigned to Killakeet Island, along North Carolina's treacherous Outer Banks. Both he and his father-the keeper of the Killakeet Lighthouse-are haunted by the loss at sea and presumed death of Josh's two-year-old baby brother 17 years earlier. Shaken from his brooding by the appearance of German U-boats, Josh must try to protect the merchant ships torpedoed every night offshore. His patrol boat is small and ill-equipped, and his crew is a wacky group of casual islanders who aren't sure they really want to fight anybody. A talented U-boat commander named Krebs becomes Josh's honored enemy, but another U-boat skipper is a far more ruthless and dangerous adversary. Josh must fight both, as well as his suspicions that his little brother may not be dead after all; the reappearance of a childhood sweetheart leavens the mix. Hickam provides a vivid and convincing portrayal of life under the sea in a U-boat, as well as on the surface in a fragile patrol boat. Well-crafted characters, gripping naval warfare and colorful island life come together in this dynamic and exciting tale. Agents, Frank Weimann and Mickey Freiberg. (Oct.) Forecast: The success of the Rocket Boys trilogy should help launch this new series, as should an extensive author tour-Hickam is a practiced speaker. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

The "Rocket Boy" is back with the story of Josh Thurlow, a Coast Guard commander during World War II chasing a U-boat captain who might just know something about his lost brother. With an eight-city author tour. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.