Cover image for The river of kings : a novel
Title:
The river of kings : a novel
Author:
Brown, Taylor, 1982- , author.
Edition:
First Edition.
Publication Information:
New York : St. Martin's Press, 2017.

©2017
Physical Description:
320 pages : illustrations, maps ; 25 cm
Summary:
"The Altamaha River, Georgia's "Little Amazon, " has been named one of the 75 "Last Great Places in the World." Crossed by roads only five times in its 137-mile length, the blackwater river is home to thousand-year-old virgin cypress, descendants of 18th-century Highland warriors, and a motley cast of rare and endangered species. The Altamaha has even been rumored to harbor its own river monster, as well as traces of the most ancient European fort in North America. Brothers Hunter and Lawton Loggins set off to kayak the river, bearing their father's ashes toward the sea. Hunter is a college student, Lawton a Navy SEAL on leave; both young men were raised by an angry, enigmatic shrimper who loved the river, and whose death remains a mystery that his sons hope to resolve. As the brothers proceed downriver, their story is interwoven with that of Jacques Le Moyne, an artist who accompanied the 1564 expedition to found a French settlement at the river's mouth, which began as a search for riches and ended in a bloody confrontation with Spanish conquistadors and native tribes. In The River of Kings, SIBA-bestselling author Taylor Brown artfully weaves three narrative strands--the brothers' journey, their father's past, and the dramatic history of the river's earliest people--to evoke a legendary place and its powerful hold on the human imagination"--
Language:
English
ISBN:
9781250111753
Format :
Book

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Summary

Summary

In The River of Kings, bestselling author of Fallen Land Taylor Brown artfully weaves three narrative strands--two brothers' journey down an ancient river, their father's tangled past, and the buried history of the river's earliest people--to evoke a legendary place and its powerful hold on the human imagination.The Altamaha River, Georgia's "Little Amazon," is one of the last truly wild places in America. Crossed by roads only five times in its 137 miles, the black-water river is home to thousand-year-old virgin cypress, direct descendants of eighteenth-century Highland warriors, and a staggering array of rare and endangered species. The Altamaha is even rumored to harbor its own river monster, as well as traces of the oldest European fort in North America.Brothers Hunter and Lawton Loggins set off to kayak the river, bearing their father's ashes toward the sea. Hunter is a college student, Lawton a Navy SEAL on leave; they were raised by an angry, enigmatic shrimper who loved the river, and whose death remains a mystery that his sons are determined to solve. As the brothers proceed downriver, their story alternates with that of Jacques le Moyne, the first European artist in North America, who accompanied a 1564 French expedition that began as a search for riches and ended in a bloody confrontation with Spanish conquistadors and native tribes.Twining past and present in one compelling narrative, and illustrated with drawings that survived the 1564 expedition, The River of Kings is Taylor Brown's second novel: a dramatic and rewarding adventure through history, myth, and the shadows of family secrets.


Author Notes

Taylor Brown grew up on the Georgia coast. He has lived in Buenos Aires, San Francisco, and the mountains of western North Carolina. His fiction has appeared in more than twenty publications, he is the recipient of the Montana Prize in Fiction, and was a finalist in both the Machigonne Fiction Contest and the Doris Betts Fiction Prize. The River of Kings is his second novel. He lives in Wilmington, North Carolina.


Reviews 4

Booklist Review

Georgia's Altamaha River, teaming with rare and dangerous species, runs through the heart of this sinewy, full-blooded follow-up to Brown's Fallen Land (2016). Brothers Lawton and Hunter Loggins, who grew up on the river in the shadow of their abusive father, must now navigate the treacherous waters to spread the ashes of the old man, Hiram, recently deceased under mysterious circumstances. The creatures that inhabit the river are often endangered, desperate, and violent, and Hiram was no exception. Prone to epic spells of bad luck, the Vietnam vet had his boat seized by the DEA and its replacement swept away in a violent storm. A third story line follows Jacques la Moyne, an artist aboard the French expedition in 1565 that founded Fort Caroline on the Georgia coast, and details battles with natives and Spanish conquistadors. There is enough adventure, mystery, and historical references in this polished, tightly controlled narrative to fill two novels, all richly and lovingly evoked in Brown's sure hands. For readers of Donald Ray Pollock and Larry Brown.--Kelly, Bill Copyright 2017 Booklist


Publisher's Weekly Review

Brown's (Fallen Land) second novel captures the essence of an enchanting place with a story combining adventure, family drama, and local history over the span of centuries. The book begins with brothers Hunter, a college student, and Lawton, a Navy SEAL, kayaking down the Altamaha River in Georgia to scatter their father's ashes, as well as to answer some questions about his death. Chapters describing their modern-day outdoor adventure down the river alternate with scenes from their father's life on the river and historical chapters set in the 1560s in the same area. At that time, French settlers claimed the land at the river's mouth and established the first European fort in America, Fort Caroline, where they clashed with Native American tribes. The historical chapters focus on Jacques Le Moyne, a real-life artist who recorded the expedition, and include his actual drawings of the Native Americans they encountered and the settlers' harrowing experiences. These captivating, detailed drawings enhance the historical account. Brown ties the three stories together with tales and sightings of an ancient river monster. Brown makes this nostalgic trip down the river a gorgeous ode to the Georgia coast. Agent: Christopher Rhodes, The Stuart Agency. (Mar.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Library Journal Review

Brothers Lawton and Hunter Loggins kayak down the Altamaha River in southeast Georgia to take their father's ashes to the sea, a journey that holds terror of legendary river monsters, lurking alligators, and half-crazed men protecting their water shanties and meager territories. The brothers soon suspect that their father's death was not an accident, and when they follow their instincts into dead-end, shadowy waterways lined with prehistoric cypress and tupelo, they find the reason Hiram died. The hard, angry Hiram lashed out because of constant bad luck yet remained deeply respectful of the river, and both his dark, mysterious story and the boys' experiences are shadowed by the ghosts of history. In the 1560s, French explorers accompanied by the artist Jacques le Moyne built an encampment on the river and are seen here facing attacks by Native Americans and Spaniards, and near starvation. The entire narrative unfolds as a perilous, life-changing journey, richly illustrated with le Moyne's original sketches. VERDICT Drawing comparisons to James Dickey's -Deliverance and Charles Frazier's Cold -Mountain, Brown's impressive second novel (after Fallen Land) is an intense, solidly written story of family loyalty, Southern traditions, and haunting historic landscapes, all bound up in the mythical powers of the Altamaha River. [See Prepub Alert, 9/12/16.]-Donna Bettencourt, Mesa Cty. P.L., Grand Junction, CO © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


School Library Journal Review

The Altamaha River (sometimes known as the "Little Amazon") takes center stage in a novel that weaves in and out of multiple plotlines and time periods. Over five days, Hunter and Lawton Loggins kayak downriver to spread their father's ashes while looking for the truth behind his mysterious death. The young men's journey becomes intertwined with the story of their father, a river shrimper, and the historical figure Jacques le Moyne, an artist who traveled with French colonists in an attempt to settle northern Florida in the 16th century. The specter of a mythological water serpent rears its head in both the past and the present as Brown artfully blends historical fiction, realistic literature, and magical realism. Though some readers might consider the narrative slow going, the graceful prose is effective and will have teens questioning what is real and what lives only in the subconscious. Reproductions of le Moyne's art will spark discussion about historical perspective. VERDICT A strong choice for schools looking to beef up their literary fiction collections, especially for AP English or U.S. history courses.--Krystina Kelley, Belle -Valley School, Belleville, IL © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.