This is an oddly uneven novel, with certain qualities that make it worth the reading despite its excessive shortcomings. The cypress swamps of the Pearl River in lower Mississippi -- and the river itself mean home to the Coreys, but the townsfolk of the nearest market town label them ""swamp rats"" and consider them fair game for any conceivable violence and outrage. Abner and his sons, Glesa and Theresa are people in their own rights, as they eke out a precarious living from fishing and raising hogs and raising garden crops in their tiny garden. Skeeter, the younger boy, found the mysteries of the swamps endlessly fascinating and waged his own particular vendetta with the huge alligator which had gone berserk and killed wantonly. The Coreys were gentler than their neighbors, the Hookers, who took the law into their hands- and made a fearsome united front on the occasional trips to so-called civilization. Their loyalty created issues with the townsfolk that ended in the supreme test; their ethics compassed even that test, and they wrote finis to invasion of their rights. In the main, the thread of story, the portrait of a way of life carries its own conviction. The characterizations seem synthetic; Skeeter, a pallid echo of Jodie in The Yearling; and the dialogue amateurish and awkward. Six Angels at my Back by John Bell Clayton (Macmillan-see P. 288) has something of the quality of this but a warmer emotional impact.