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The Keeper's Son (Josh Thurlow #1)

3.78 of 5 stars 3.78  ·  rating details  ·  403 ratings  ·  47 reviews
From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Rocket Boys comes a tale of romance and daring set against the World War II battle for the Atlantic.
Paperback, 352 pages
Published October 22nd 2003 by St. Martin's Griffin (first published June 3rd 2003)
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Apr 02, 2011 Nomanisan rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: pretty much anyone--but WW II buffs might especially like it
This is one of those books one might want to give up on in its early stages, but it was my experience that staying with it was well worth it. This novel, based on meticulous research by Hickam of the destruction of US ships (military and civilian) off the East Coast, begins to really carry one along once Hickam establishes his foundations. (The book in fact precedes The Ambassador's Son>u<, another of my favorite books by this author.) Some of the events, especially as the book rushes to i ...more
I'm a sucker for a WWII book anyway, but this one was exceptional. Great story, little known history, vivid descriptions which were not tedious, and it kept me reading four hours straight to finish last night--and I'm not on vacation! Can't wait to read the sequel and others by Homer Hickam.
This is a wonderful book, set on Kilakeet Island just after America entered into WWII with Germany. We follow the lives of Josh Trulow and his fellow islanders. Josh, the lightkeeper's son, left Kilakeet when he joined the Coast Guard, trying to find his way in life while dealing with the tragedy of losing his baby brother to the sea 17 years earlier. He returns when Doc tells him his father is dying; Doc had conveniently forget when, saying a lie isn't a lie until it happens. With German u-boat ...more
Anne Kenan
This is a true story about the people who inhabited the islands along the outer banks of N.C. They were mostly fishermen and their families who had lived there all their life and had never traveled far from these islands. They played an interesting and significant role in the beginning of World War l l. They patrolled these waterways for enemy subs and the islands on horseback. They organized themselves and used what they had available to safeguard their islands and the USA.
Although this is fiction, it takes place along the NC coast around what is most likely Cape Lookout. It takes place during WWII, and reviews the main character's experiences serving on a small boat defending the US coastline against U-boats. It is an entertaining story, and I am looking forward to reading the sequel.
Ann Amadori
I enjoyed this book. I liked the setting along the NC coast, the characters who lived on Killakeet and the mystery of Jacob who was lost. I was interested to learn about the U-boat attacks on the US during WWII and look forward to reading more about that, as well as the sequels to this book.
This was historical fiction about events that happened on the Outer Banks during WW II about which I had never heard. U-boats torpedoing our merchant ships! And the story from Josh's childhood that is woven into the story is intriguing. Interesting story
Jun 20, 2011 Sarahb. rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Robin, Mikey , JB
As soon as I sterted this book, it felt familiar. I realized I'd read it long ago, but I wanted to finish it again, because it is such a neat book with a great ending! Lots of NC coastal history, a good summer read!
Beth Stuerman Stuerman
I picked this up on a recent trip to North Carolina OuterBanks.... I was so captivated by the characters and the storyline that I was up until 4 AM in order to finish the book! I loved it.
I had seen October Sky and decided to read this based on how much I enjoyed the movie... It was very good. Based on that book, I've picked up another of his books, Dinosaur Hunter.
Homer Hickam is a great memorist as he titles himself. His semi-autobiographical novel, Rocket Boys, is one of my treasured reads. The follow-ups to that were also works I found to be more than worthwhile. Wanting to write in a new genre, that of fiction, we turn to his account of a time that he is an expert on. That of the fighting that took place along the outer banks right when the US joined WWII.

Here I think we have not seen the full potential that we found in his earlier works. Perhaps it i
Phil Ford
As far as a fast and easy, perhaps on the shores of the Outer Banks, type of read, this is fairly quick to get into and finish. Also good for a relatively untold or unknown fact that German U-Boats sunk many ships off the U.S.coast during the second World War; from Maine to the Gulf of Mexico. The story revolved around a tiny fictional island called Killakeet during the first years of World War II. Some characters are given depth, others are as central casting as they can come. Perhaps the most ...more
I've never read anything by Hickman and found him to be much like Clive Cussler, only more predictable. Hickman's portrayal of what might have happened on the Outer Banks during World War II is quite believable and merges island lore, the strength of a lighthouse, its keeper and the community that binds itself together. Hickman gives each character a kind soul including the German U-boat captain and crew. My favorite part in the book is when the old keeper of the light tries to ignite an interes ...more
Jeff Dickison
Good tale of a little known incident in our history. Basically, a story of the US Coastguard just before and during the beginning of WWII when U-boats attacked our shipping lanes. The characters are unique, interesting, and believable. Recommended.
Wes Metz
If you've read Homer Hickam's trilogy about his days in Coalwood, West Virginia, you already know he can write. In The Keeper's Son he turns his talent to a tale that, although fiction, is firmly grounded in fact. The story is told from the perspectives of a U-boat commander, and the captain of a tiny Coast Guard patrol boat. It's about love, death, loss, honor, and patriotism, and it shows a side of World War Two that isn't often portrayed in literature or film. We get a glimpse of a way of lif ...more
Frank Tarquini
This book had one of my favorite settings, during one of my favorite historical times. The Outer Banks during the Second World War. It is a fictional story set on a fictional island that resembles Ocracoke. Not to put a spoiler but it is a story of Coast Guard cutter manned by locals, the skipper with some guilt over an incident as a child, a grieving father who is the lighthouse keeper, a young woman and a Hollywood cowboy star. Oh there is a U boat also involved in all of this.

I enjoyed it. I
Nov 21, 2014 Jerry-mac marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
I registered a book at!
Paula Pinto
this book was a gift and it's not my usual reading however I do advise reading it. It's very interesting, well written and it's worth.
I didn't know what to think when I bought this book. I bought it after I had read Rocket Boys and was expecting something similar. Actually I had gone to the books store trying to find another of Homer Hickam's books about his growing up years only to find this was the only other book by Homer Hickam in the bookstore. So I bought it. I actually liked it better than Rocket Boys except of course for the portrayal of weak women who can't do anything but swoon and wait around for the men to do every ...more
I read the series not knowing the history of the NC coast and the events during WWII enjoyed it.
Slow to start but eventually gets good
Josh Thurlow, a coast guardsman, still suffers guilt over the death of his two year old brother 17 years earlier. It is now 1941, and against his will he has been drawn back to the small outerbanks island where he grew up. He fights Nazi submarines, finds true love, and unknowingly discovers the answer to a family mysery. A subplot is the story of Krebs the commander of one of the attacking U-boats. The author made me want to learn more about the historic events that inspired this well-researche ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Fascinating read from a historical standpoint. Tells the story of German U-Boats off the coast of North Carolina during World War II and the damage that they caused. Always interesting to learn about things that usually don't pop up in our high school history textbooks. While I knew they were there, I had no idea that over 400 ships were destroyed. Amazing characters, both American and German, though the love story is hokey and completely unnecessary.
Brett Taylor
Mar 08, 2012 Brett Taylor rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in German U Boats or North Carolina Beaches.
Recommended to Brett by: No one
It was interesting hearing about the outer banks area of Killikeet...It made me miss being near the beach. The characters were interesting. Preacher was someone I related to. I'm not sure about the ending. It was good, but kind of sad too , I mean all the changes that took place over the years. I don't want to spoil it for anyone though. Overall a very enjoyable book.

This was a book on tape I borrowed from the York County Library.
A very nice book. Some things in the book are predictable, but only in the "I know what is going to happen" sense. Some of those things do happen, but you don't know it until the very, very end. Good character development. It was especially nice the way he reversed character roles, making some of the "bad guys" nice and "good guys" despicable.
Dick Lord
A good follow-up novel for his non-fiction "Torpedo Junction", about the German submarine raids on America's shipping along the Atlantic Coast after the outbreak of WWII. A lot of "novel" ideas of what might have happened on a small coastal island during the period. A little far-fetched at times, but, all-in-all, a good story, well told.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
It was a romantic, historical page turner. I found the ending disappointing. I don't like cliff hangers. I wonder if I will find out the ending if I read the rest of the series or if the whole series leaves questions unanswered?
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Homer Hickam (also known as Homer H. Hickam, Jr.) is probably best known for his award-winning memoir Rocket Boys which was adapted into the ever-popular movie October Sky. Mr. Hickam has been a coal miner, Vietnam combat veteran, scuba instructor, NASA engineer, and now a best-selling author. For more information, please go to
More about Homer Hickam...
Rocket Boys (Coalwood #1) The Coalwood Way: A Memoir Sky of Stone Crater (Helium-3, #1) The Dinosaur Hunter

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