Review copy was received from Publisher. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
The Levee by William Kent Krueger
Narrator: JD Jackson
Published by Simon & Schuster Audio on February 28, 2023
Genres: Historical Fiction
Length: 3 hours, 36 minutes
It’s 1927, and the most devastating flood in American history has swelled the Mississippi River to a width of eighty miles. In an attempt to save a family trapped by the rising water, four men in a tiny rowboat battle the treacherous flow: three are convicts, on loan from the local prison and pressed into service; the fourth, the leader of the team, is driven by his own hidden motives. But to their surprise upon arrival at Ballymore, an ancestral home protected by a high, circular levee, not everyone in the family feels the need to be saved. Pride, greed, loyalty, and even love create their own complex currents behind the massive wall. As the threat from the flood increases and time ticks away, the crew and the family must decide on a course of action, and a desperate plan is hatched to save the weakening levee and all it was built to protect.
The Levee is a propulsive, heartfelt tale of courage, cowardice, and sacrifice in a historic moment when the indomitable human spirit is pitted against the awesome and destructive power of nature.
William Kent Krueger is a talented writer and I am happy to read any of his work. He also seems to have been paired with outstanding narrators.
The Levee is a short, 3 1/2 hour story, available as an audio book initially. It is set in 1927 according to the blurb, but it felt like it could have been set in the 1800s. There is a distinct class difference between the characters. There are servants. Of course, some of them are from a nearby prison pressed into helping with the historic flooding of the Mississippi happening.
I won’t tell you the story but there are all kinds of problems. Some are because of the class issues. Some are because there are reasons some of the prisoners should be in prison. There is also just plain foolish ego, and a white man used to always having his way. Mother Nature doesn’t care though.
As with every story from this author, I had a wide range of feelings. It was interesting to learn a bit about the technical aspects with the levee. I worried about some of the people and had compassion for some. Others only left me angry or frustrated. It’s a tapestry as rich as life and very enjoyable.
I’ve enjoyed this narrator in the past. His voices are very well suited to the mostly male characters, but the female voices were well handled. I listened comfortably at my usual 1.5x speed.
Listen to a clip: HERE
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