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The River of Kings

3.74  ·  Rating details ·  734 ratings  ·  151 reviews
Two brothers travel a storied river’s past and present in search of the truth about their father’s death in the second novel by the acclaimed author of Fallen Land.

The Altamaha River, Georgia’s “Little Amazon,” has been named one of the 75 “Last Great Places in the World.” Crossed by roads only five times in its 137-mile length, the blackwater river is home to thousand-yea
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published March 21st 2017 by St. Martin's Press
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3.74  · 
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 ·  734 ratings  ·  151 reviews

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Elyse Walters
Dec 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
Having just spent time playing with the manatees - Kayaking, snorkeling, at Crystal River in Florida, recently....I found this historical fiction story to be an exciting adventure.
Also about a week ago, I was chatting with a friend about how I'd like to visit Savannah...take in all the history and the towns charm. Well, given that 'The Altamaha River" isn't too far from Savannah...( just south of it), sounds like a day on the river would be part of the get-a-way plan also.

Taylor Brown's writin
Diane S ☔
Jan 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: lor
Hiram was a hard man, a tough man and he made the Altamaha River his home, knew every nook and cranny, every island and offshoot, yet his quest to make a living from the river, failed time and time again. He was a hard father, sometimes cruel, but he taught his two sons to love the river, taught them all he could, showed them all he could. When he is killed, said to be by a sturgeon strike, his two sons, Lawton, a navy seal and Hunter a college student undertake a journey by two skiffs to where ...more
Angela M
Jan 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
It's a story of the south, gritty, and the writing in many places is as beautifully descriptive as it was in Taylor Brown's first novel, Fallen Land. The descriptions here are so precisely beautiful that I felt as if I was on that river, the Altamaha in Georgia, with these two brothers in their kayaks as they travel with their father's ashes seeking the truth of his death . This is the first of several alternating narratives and takes place in the present as we are introduced to Hunter Loggins w ...more
Jul 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
In Georgia, there is a river known as the Altamaha, that stretches 137 miles. Much life surrounds it as does history AND a whole lotta testosterone to boot!

Three narratives are entwined. One dating back to the 16th century when the French landed there. Their interactions -both violent and non - with the natives and the Spanish.
The main narrative is of 2 brothers travelling it in kayaks in the 21st century to shed their father's ashes and learn more of how he came to die on the river. The third
Feb 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Taylor Brown has transported me to another place and time yet again. In Fallen Land, set in the final year of the Civil War, I journeyed beside Callum and Ava in their passage from war-torn lands to safety, as they journeyed from the Appalachians to the Georgia coast.

In The River of Kings he’s brought me back to another time and place once again through the voices of these men who called the banks of the Altamaha home.

As the story begins, brothers Hunter and Lawton Loggins,
3.5 Stars

THE RIVER OF KINGS alternates three interesting and deadly tales of adventure. In one, we meet the Loggins' brothers who set out by kayak, along a river they know so well, to bury the ashes of their stern and sometimes brutish (but loved) father still questioning the circumstances of his death. The second story belongs to father Hiram himself and his tumultuous, secretive and cursed life as a fisherman; and in the third story, Taylor Brown takes us back to the year 1564 following painte

Shelby *trains flying monkeys*
I'm totally at fault on this one. I didn't realize that this book was written by the same guy that wrote Fallen Land (another book that everyone else loved and I read wrong). I'm going to admit that maybe this author just is not for me now.

I will admit to liking this one the most of the two books.

Two brothers Hunter and Lawton are on a river trip to take their father's ashes to the place that he spent most of his time, the Altamaha River. Dad wasn't the best father to these boys, he smacked the
"A swampland cathedral, roofed in leaves and plumbed with creeks, columned with cypress and gum. We knew its sights and secrets, its hidden sloughs. In showing us the river -- his river-- I believe he let us into his heart, at least some part of it. And that's how I knew we were loved."

But Hiram Loggins was a hard man and, most times, a hard man to love. He lived and breathed in the essence of what was and is the Altamaha River in Georgia. Hiram knew every cranie and every curve of this great ri
Jan 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017
This book is filled with rich, dense wording that provokes such vivid imagery of the Altamaha River, both in modern day and in the year 1564.

Taylor Brown masterfully crafted his work to perfection, smoothly transitioning between the two alternating stories in the novel. His command of both types of languages is simply wonderful; you can't ask for more. The only other time I've seen this done so well is with Cloud Atlas, by David Mitchell.

Brown's careful weaving between the modern day story and L
Cathrine ☯️
Jan 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
In Taylor Brown’s sophomore novel the reader travels along on a fictional and perilous kayak journey down the real life river Altamaha in the USA state of Georgia. Combining history, myth, and the beauty of nature caught up in the stranglehold of man’s greed and pollution there will be no soft place to land except in the author’s lush prose. This is graphic and violent man-lit in the tradition of novels like Fourth of July Creek, Deliverance, and Bull Mountain. I’m always fascinated with da
Diane Barnes
Aug 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
I didn't like this one as much as "Fallen Land", Brown's first novel, but he certainly hasn't lost his touch. This falls somewhere in the realm of action/adventure, mystery, history, and nature writing, emphasis on the beautiful descriptions of the Altamaha River in Georgia. Dividing the story between 3 separate timelines, he never loses the thread in any of them.

I'm not sure who choses the artwork for his covers, but they are absolutely beautiful, and very evocative of the story between the pag
Maureen Carden
Three tales intertwined over five centuries concerning the mythic Altamaha River in Georgia. From Europeans' first contact and attempt to build a permanent fort, two son's wanting to release their father's ashes, and the father who attempts to make his life along the river make sense; these are stories of damnation and redemption. A southern specialty.

What can I say? Those Damn Southerners sure can write.

A pair of tough gritty characters in each story. A French artist-who's work has survived and
Melissa Crytzer Fry
Jul 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Wow! What a fascinating book written with absolutely gorgeous, transporting prose.

I tend to enjoy dual-period books, but this one actually is a rare treat in that it weaves a third period into the storyline, and does so expertly. The novel follows the stories of two brothers on a quest to take their father’s ashes to sea (no spoilers here – jacket copy says as much); the story of their father’s troubled past (a Vietnam vet); and the story of an artist on a 1500s French expedition in Georgia.

Feb 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
I was fortunate enough to receive a copy from the publisher before the actual release date to read and review. I'm a total Taylor Brown fan after reading his novel Fallen Land. This one is more poetic and descriptive. It has a slow build up that is so worth the time. I loved the three story lines that are represented. The research the author put into this book is impressive. I thoroughly enjoyed this read and appreciated how different it was from his first novel. No cookie cutter version of Fall ...more
Oct 26, 2016 rated it liked it
David Joy
Oct 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
With language as rich as floodplain soil, The River of Kings is a stunning Southern epic of tremendous heart and scope. Taylor Brown takes risks few other writers would chance and somehow manages to traverse those waters with an astounding grace and beauty.
Mar 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This incredible book I finished 3 days ago- and yet waited this long to review it. For a couple of reasons. First, was that I wanted time to talk myself out of giving it 5 stars. That failed. Secondly, because I was rather amazed at how it ended and I needed some time to digest the plot ending for the brothers and to consider the book, in that ending light, as a whole.

Taylor Brown is a fantastic writer. Are there some sentences that could give Faulkner a word count marathon competition? Oh yes,
Tom Mathews
Jul 17, 2017 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Southern literature and environmental enthusiasts.
Taylor Brown, whose last novel, Fallen Land, quickly became a bestseller, is in love with a river. At least, that’s what anyone who reads this unabashed love letter to Georgia’s Altamaha River would assume.

I must admit that before reading this book I had no idea where the Altamaha River was or even that it existed. Even when I did look into it, I wasn’t immediately impressed. I’ve spent the majority of my life where a 137-mile river would be hard-pressed to reach the next county, let alone make
Steph Post
Apr 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
What can I say? The River of Kings is gorgeous, powerful, and ultimately stunning. With intertwining storylines spanning over 300 years, multiple characters and multiple points of view, Brown weaves an absorbing adventure story all balanced perfectly around the Altamaha River. I especially enjoyed the rich historical storyline and Brown's attention to detail in recounting and reshaping the past for readers. And above all, of course, is Brown's master of language. Each paragraph is a gem, but Bro ...more
Thanks to for the opportunity to read this terrific novel that includes 3 narratives and to top it all this book was free. Hoowa.

It took me a bit to figure out what was going on since the story had 3 narratives. Once I got comfortable dealing with the narratives the story became alive.

Two brothers were trying to scatter their father's ashes in the river that he seemed to own and he knew every bend, crook, and cranny. Their father was a roughie and hard. So, they wonder how did he d
Randal White
Jan 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley, fiction
Three stories in one, all centering around the Altamaha River in Georgia. Story one, a present day kayak trip of two brothers. Story two, a look back at the brother's father, and his relationship with the river. And story three, a look at a French exploration of the area almost 500 years ago. Taylor Brown is a very good writer, his prose and descriptions are engaging. They make you feel like you are actually present during each story. And the manner in which he interwove the stories was flawless ...more

I generally despise the past-present form of storytelling employed in THE RIVER OF KINGS, because so often it just seems like filler, but that is NOT the case here. What we have here is a book that is absolutely, 100 percent, Pulitzer Prize worthy. I’m about certain I’ve read my fiction book of the year here for 2017. Superb.
Debbie Mcafee
Jan 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Great book for me. Great characters, plot, history, adventure, and even a touch of folklore.
Mar 30, 2017 rated it liked it
I received a digital arc of this book from NetGalley/publishers in exchange for an honest review.

The River of Kings is a story telling three different perspectives. In modern day, two brother - Hunter and Lawton - are going on an adventure down the Altamaha river to say a final goodbye to their father and spread his ashes. In 1564, French artist Le Moyne is sharing his life at Fort Caroline - an early French settlement in what would become the United States. And through it all, we also see chap
Mar 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
Taylor Brown’s debut novel, “Fallen Land” was remarkable, and with his second novel, “The River of Kings,” he proves he is no one-hit wonder. Brown expertly intertwines two stories separated by centuries, but joined by location. The first story involves a canoe trip down Georgia’s Altamaha River taken by brothers Lawton and Hunter Loggins to deliver their father’s ashes to the sea. While on that journey they also hope to discover the secrets of his mysterious death. The second story is set in th ...more
Rachel Watkins
Feb 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: southern, georgia
Taylor Brown's second novel is written with artful language that is vibrant and intricately descriptive. The Altamaha River plays a central role just as the horse Reiver did in his first book FALLEN LAND. I love Brown's writing. The setting of THE RIVER OF KINGS is as important as the journey of the human characters. That's what makes this book beautiful.
Lily Miller
Dec 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
Taylor Brown’s ambitious sophomore effort, THE RIVER OF KINGS (March 21, 2017, St. Martin’s Press, 336 pages), shares aspects with his SIBA bestselling 2016 debut, FALLEN LAND, most notably, both novels follow two dissimilar characters on perilous journeys into beautiful but ruined, uncharted regions where they encounter evil and test the bounds of their relationships. Both novels also bring a sense of history to bear on the plots, although in distinctly different ways.

But there the similarities
Jun 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Two brothers are taking a kayak trip down the Altamaha River in Georgia to release their father's ashes at the mouth down of the river that was as much a part of his veins as blood. This river is and always has been a brutal and unforgiving place.

The story is told in three parts alternating between the brothers, Hunter and Lawton, their father Hiram, a brute of man, and illustrator le Moyne who was a member of a party of 16th century French Huguenots that tried to settle the area.

This is a stor
Rose Parke
Feb 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
"An old man stands tall against the rise of the sun, balanced upon a river of shattered glass."--From that first beautifully crafted line, I was hooked by the prose, imagery and flow of this layered narrative that skillfully weaves three timelines into a story about a river and its men, monsters and memories.
A 16th century French artist recording an epic journey of exploration of the new world, a hard and complicated man with river water in his veins, and the two grown sons he fathered twenty y
Andria Williams
Mar 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Taylor Brown spins fantastic and riveting historical fiction like no one else. The River of Kings is engrossing, exciting, poetic, with surprising moments of tenderness, and crafted with a master hand. The writing exhibits shades of Philipp Meyer, Richard Ford, Annie Proulx, and Anthony Doerr, but every book by Brown is all his own. If your curiosity is piqued by an exciting river adventure with rich character study and language that fairly leaps off the page, look no further―you've found your b ...more
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Taylor Brown is a recipient of the Montana Prize in Fiction, and he's been a finalist for the Press 53 Open Awards, Machigonne Fiction Contest, and Doris Betts Fiction Prize. He is the author of In the Season of Blood and Gold (Press 53, 2014), Fallen Land (St. Martin's, 2016), The River of Kings (St. Martin's, 2017), Gods of Howl Mountain (St. Martin's, 2018), and Pride of Eden (St. Martin's, 202 ...more