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
Reading this book contributed to these challenges:
Oh, I have this one so I am thrilled to see that you enjoyed it. Since it is a short book, I might try to sneak it in sometime in the next couple of weeks.
WKK is at the Ilona Andrews level of appreciation from me. He can do no wrong. His books really speak to me.
I like the premise, how interesting. I used to live close to the Mississippi river and I can’t imagine it at 80 miles across.
I love the natural disaster aspects but there is so much more here. There are class issues and family issues. This author is masterful in the character development and story telling.
Yes, it’s amazing how people must come together when fending off Mother Nature. Sounds like an interesting story, Anne.
It is a favorite author Rachel. His talent with characters and stories is amazing.
I read several books by this author but it was years ago. I do remember really enjoying them and I need to pick up more by him. This one looks like a great read.
This author is incredible. He’s an auto-read for me.
Mother Nature has a way of changing things up
yes I really enjoy natural survival stories. This author does well with the characters and story telling too.
I’ve really liked the few books by William Kent Kreuger that I’ve read. 😀
He’s an auto read for me. I’ve loved everything of his I have read.
I really enjoyed this one as well, Anne. My review is scheduled for later in March. I may have to start posting reviews 6 days a week. I am so glad Simon Audio brought this to my attention.
Everything from this author is so well developed and I always love it. I know! I may have to start doubling up too. Mostly I’ve done that with freebies since they are also often short but I may need to do it with other books too. I just don’t always want to put more pressure on myself to write more reviews. I can read library books for some and only have to do a short Goodreads review with a few sentences.