Tag Archives: literary fiction

Review: The River of Kings by Taylor Brown

About The River of Kingstheriverofkings

Hardcover: 336 pages
Published: March 2017 by St. Martin’s Press
Source:
 Netgalley

Goodreads DescriptionTwo brothers travel a storied river’s past and present in search of the truth about their father’s death in the second novel by the acclaimed author of Fallen Land.

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, leaving the fort in ruins and a few survivors fleeing for their lives.

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.

My Review

The River of Kings is a story about family. About love, about triumph, and about truth. It’s a beautiful story, or rather, set of stories – the book covers three time periods. If you’ve ever read Michener, Brown’s writing reminds me quite a bit of his.

I read this one slowly, only a couple of chapters at a time. The writing is lyrical, but dense. I wanted to read because I enjoyed the style, but had a hard time staying engaged with the story. As often happens with books where the timeline shifts, I’d get engrossed in one story only to be moved to the next. And so on. It wasn’t frustrating, exactly, but made it that much easier to put the book down.

Because of that, or perhaps because of my mood, I ended up listing this one as abandoned. I simply don’t have the dedication to offer The River of Kings at the moment. Maybe I’ll pick it up again. It’s a great book, just not at the right time for me.

3 stars

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for the ARC. All opinions are my own.