This recently publishes novel introduced me to the author Homer Hickam. I did not purchase the book, but rather borrowed it from my local public library.
The Keepers Son is about lighthouses and keepers but not entirely, or even mostly. The main character Josh Thurlow is indeed son of the lighthouse keeper of Killakeet Island. Hickam sets the islands in North Carolina’s outer banks.
In this book Thurlow is the captain of a Coast Guard patrol boat. Thurlow and his crew of islanders go onto fight German U boats. This part of the plot is based on actual incidents in World War II which Hickam wrote about in another book, Torpedo Junction.
Other elements include: lover interests for both Josh and a German U boat captain, battle scenes, scenes set in North Carolina, France and Germany.
Hickam’s prose is at the same quality level regardless of what he is writing about. There aren’t any weak points. The range of watery subjects covered includes: sailing, fishing, crabbing, and surface and submarine warfare. There is also excellent writing on horses.
To the sailor one of the most interesting parts of the book is the flashback that opens the book. Left alone by his keeper father, Josh takes his little brother to sea. Their purpose is to salvage a ‘moth boat’ adrift. The Moth boat is a single sailed, square bowed, scow like one design. Whilst at sea Josh loses his little brother. Unlike other wrecks the currents don’t bring any sign of boat nor person to the Island. This incident affects Josh in many ways as he goes forward.
This book is the 1st of a planned trilogy so not all the plot lines are wrapped up. Will Josh follow on as keeper? Does he marry Dosie? How does he spend the rest of World War II? Maybe he takes up racing Moth boats?
Having read the first of 3 parts, I look forward to Hickam’s answer to these questions in the coming books.
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