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Publisher's Summary

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.
©2003 Homer Hickam (P)2003 Books on Tape, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"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." (Publishers Weekly)
"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." (Booklist)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    39
  • 4 Stars
    23
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    12
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    2
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    1

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    18
  • 4 Stars
    2
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    3
  • 2 Stars
    0
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    0

Story

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Sort by:
  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Robert
  • Charlotte, NC, USA
  • 02-12-04

Good story, horrible narration!

Homer Hickam is one of my favorite authors. I actually took my son to Coalwood, WV to see the town Hickam describes in his Rocket Boys book and sequels. This story is different, since it is not autobiographical. Again, I think the story line is strong and entertaining. Living in North Carolina, I wanted to read a book which links a favorite author to my home state.

The narration by Michael Kramer is horrible, however, to the point of making listening distracting and frustrating. While Kramer has an incredible reading voice, his narration is dry and without any inflection, even when exciting events are taking place. But what really bothered me the most are the accents he uses for characters in the story. Granted, there are many characters, and Hickam descibes their accents as "Outer Banks brogue." However, the characters in the narration are constantly shifting tone and accent. Most of the main characters speak a sort of British Cockney accent with a slight Southern drawl, although at times it is all Cockney and at times is is all drawl. One time a character speaks has no bearing on how they will sound later in the story, and even within sentences the accents shift back and forth. Altogether, I found this very distracting, since I was focusing more on the accents than the plot.

Overall, I would suggest reading the book if you want a good story. The 3 star rating is the average of a 5 for the book and a 1 for the narration.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Matt
  • Springfield, OH, USA
  • 05-12-05

A good OBX yarn from a lost era

I have been spending time on the Outer Banks for years and every once in a while, I got a glimpse of how different and fascinating the area around Morehead city was in the 1920's-1940's. "The Keepers Son" is a great story with great characters set in a time on the Outer Banks that is long gone. A great story of the lives of interesting characters.

Spending a lot of time there, I did find the narrator needed a bit of work with the nuances of the Eastern NC accent, but it did not detract from the great story and overall, and he did a fine job. I really recommend this read for WWII enthusiasts, especially set against the backdrop of actual history on the early days of the war along the NC coast. Its also just a great love story and with characters you will like...and I love the ending.

Enjoy.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Kathy
  • Mechanicsville, VA, USA
  • 01-17-06

Very entertaining

This was my first Homer Hickam book, and I found it utterly charming. I, too, spend a lot of time in North Carolina's Outer Banks, on a beach with wild horses, so I was particularly attracted by the story line. I was pleasantly surprised at how entertaining the book was. The characters were well developed and endearing; I like a book where you love the good guys and hate the bad guys. I didn't find the narration distracting at all, in fact, it seemed to add to the atmosphere of the story. I found myself reluctant to stop listening, and thinking about it when I wasn't listening to it. I will highly recommend this one to my friends!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Richard
  • Rochester, NY, USA
  • 11-10-04

A fine story

I'd agree with the first reviewer - Hickam tells a good story. He isn't as technically proficient as some authors, but he really knows how to develop characters, and make them interesting. The book is more of a love story than I anticipated, but don't let that turn you away - while the romance seems forced, it doesn't detract from the main plot at all.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Carroll
  • Hilo, HI, United States
  • 09-08-11

Best of this series

A great series... This is # 1 of those 3... a barely known actual twist of WW II that is well told at a personal level.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Hometown Touch

As in Rocket Boys and Coalwood Way, the author projects an image of intimate acquaintance with his characters, and the setting they are in. I was pleasantly surprised at the complexity of the story, and not distracted by the narrator's form.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Martha
  • rapid city, SD, USA
  • 05-18-04

Great characters.

I enjoyed this book. A little different take on WWII battle so near to home shores- thouth I wouldn't classify it as a war book. I had no problems with the narrator or the accents(unlike earlier reviewer). The second I have listened to by Homer Hickam,enjoyed them both.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Arthur
  • Raleigh, NC, United States
  • 09-09-09

Snapshot of times gone by

I enjoyed this picture of life in an era and a war theater now mostly forgotten. In these days of satellite communication, the internet and GPS, it's hard to remember just how isolated the Outer Banks were and just how dangerous navigation on the east coast could be. I have been up and down the Outer Banks, have visited all the lighthouses, and enjoyed the little bits of the real places woven into a fictional story. I had lunch in Morehead City yesterday and it's changed so much even in my lifetime.

I had been aware of the Uboat warfare on the east coast early in WWII and was glad to see it used in a story. The coincidence/plot twist at the end was, as others have noted, completely improbably but so charmingly done, I liked it anyway.

I took away one star because the narrator's attempt at the accents drifted in and out and was nowhere true to life. However, if you don't know the difference you probably won't notice the difference.


  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Robin
  • Knob Noster, Macau
  • 05-05-06

LIke a movie script

Although the story has some interesting parallel plots and the reader does a passable job, the longer I listened to this book, the more I pictured the author writing for the big screen. I did not find the characters to be particularly believable, in fact, they turned out to be extremely stereotypical and easy to picture. I found myself predicting the plot's "twist" very early on. I gave this a 3 because it's entertaining, mindless listening and the recording is good quality. But I'd prefer to give it a 2.5. There are way better audio selections to choose from.