THE KEEPER’S SON by Homer Hickam


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Nazi U-boats threaten the sweetly daffy residents of an island in the Outer Banks.

Setting his irresistibly romantic WWII adventure on the fictional Carolina barrier island of Killakeet, long before the coming of the hulking cottages or the invention of time sharing, memoirist Hickam (Sky of Stone, 2001, etc.) successfully knits the true story of Germany’s turkey shoot off the East Coast with the low-key lives of the fishermen, wild horses, lighthouse keepers, and other village types who had the beautiful place largely to themselves. Sturdy, smart Josh Thurlow, son of the present keeper of the Killakeet lighthouse has come back to the island after years away to take charge of the tiny Coast Guard station. Haunted by his responsibility for the disappearance at sea of his two-year-old brother Jacob, Josh has declined the inheritance of the family business, but he has thrown himself deeply into his new job, whipping the local lads who crew his rescue boat into a force capable of dealing with the certain menace of German submarines. Oddly, he seems to be the only officer in the Coast Guard able to see the vulnerability of the countless merchantmen who steam past the Graveyard of the Atlantic. And the Germans are indeed watching, particularly Kapitan Leutnant von Krebs, ace skipper of U-560. Krebs, who gained and lost the love of his life and acquired responsibility for a smart young orphan in one eventful visit to his childhood orphanage home, begins picking off the ships as quickly as he can launch his torpedoes. Josh gets no help from the higher-ups, but he can count on small-bore gunfire support from his recovering sophisticate girlfriend Josie who teams up with a Hollywood stunt rider as a mounted patrol. (It actually makes sense.) The situation worsens with the arrival of Supernazi sub skipper Vogel who has it in for Krebs. And that orphan on U-560, is it just coincidence that he’s the exact age of the missing toddler Jacob? Or that he washes ashore after a crash dive?

First of a series certain to seduce armchair sailors.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2003
ISBN: 0-312-30189-8
Page count: 368pp
Publisher: Dunne/St. Martin's
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1st, 2003


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