The powerful fourth novel from Brown (The River of Kings) is a Southern family drama set in 1952 among the lush mountains of North Carolina, where whiskey is as precious as mother’s milk and blood ties run deep. Korean War veteran Rory Docherty, whose wooden leg and persistent dreams won’t let him forget his past, runs moonshine whiskey for Eustace Uptree with Eustice’s nephew Eli. Rory’s fiery grandmother, folk healer Maybelline “Granny May” Docherty, will do anything to keep him safe. They care for Rory’s institutionalized mother, Bonni, mute since an attack 22 years ago by three men—who were never caught—during which a boy was beaten to death and Bonni supposedly gouged out one of the men’s eyes. Rory feels hope when he meets the lovely Christine Adderholt at a church revival. He’s entranced, but her father, the one-eyed, snake-handling pastor Asa Adderholt awakens an uneasy suspicion inside him. Then Rory runs afoul of the psychotic Cooley Muldoon after a road race, and Muldoon’s vendetta sets the stage for an explosive third act. Brown’s lyrical prose invokes a verdant landscape whose rich past is woven into its roots and people; their dependence on the land and respect for its great mysteries are palpable. This tale of loyalty and retribution will linger with readers. Agent: Christopher Rhodes, the Stuart Agency.(Mar.)
Reviewed on: 01/15/2018 Release date: 03/20/2018 Genre: Fiction
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