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Extended Audio Sample Kings of the Earth Audiobook, by Jon Clinch Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (1,033 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Jon Clinch Narrator: Jon Clinch, George K. Wilson, Rich Orlow, Henry Strozier, T. Ryder Smith, Ed Sala, Richard Poe, Alan Nebelthau, Ken Marks, Andrea Gallo Publisher: Recorded Books, LLC Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: July 2010 ISBN: 9781449837679
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The edge of civilization is closer than we think.

It’s as close as a primitive farm on the margins of an upstate New York town, where the three Proctor brothers live together in a kind of crumbling stasis. They linger like creatures from an older, wilder, and far less forgiving world—until one of them dies in his sleep and the other two are suspected of murder.

Told in a chorus of voices that span a generation, Kings of the Earth examines the bonds of family and blood, faith and suspicion, that link not just the brothers but their entire community.

Vernon, the oldest of the Proctors, is reduced by work and illness to a shambling shadow of himself. Feeble-minded Audie lingers by his side, needy and unknowable. And Creed, the youngest of the three and the only one to have seen anything of the world (courtesy of the US Army), struggles with impulses and accusations beyond his understanding. We also meet Del Graham, a state trooper torn between his urge to understand the brothers and his desire for justice; Preston Hatch, a kindhearted and resourceful neighbor who’s spent his life protecting the three men from themselves; the brothers’ only sister, Donna, who managed to cut herself loose from the family but is then drawn back; and a host of other living, breathing characters whose voices emerge to shape this deeply intimate saga of the human condition at its limits.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “This is the kind of fiction we should be reading. Kings of the Earth is eloquent and moving, written with precision and clarity to stave off loss—the loss of history, of art, of humanity.”

    Washington Post
  • “In this masterful and compassionate novel...Clinch readily slips into the voices of his diverse cast of characters. Through evocative descriptions of the rural landscape, and by imbuing these odd men with a gentle nobility, Clinch has created a haunting, suspenseful story.”

    O, The Oprah Magazine

  • “We know the events that lie behind Clinch’s novel were real and that the novel is not. But the realism here is no less, with writing so vibrant that you feel the bite of a northern wind, smell the rankness of dissipated lives and experience the heart-tug of watching tenuous lives play out their last inches of thread.”

    Los Angeles Times

  • “Clinch’s literary alchemy results in a stunning book…Recalling William Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying, each short chapter is broken into a section that is told in the first person. Not only do we get the brothers’ voices, we hear a rural chorus.”

    Dallas Morning News

  • “Inspired by the Ward brothers (of the 1992 documentary My Brother’s Keeper), Clinch explores family dynamics in this quiet storm of a novel that will stun readers with its power.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “[A] gritty but nonetheless warmhearted and beautifully realized novel.”

    Library Journal (starred review)

  • “[A] gripping tale of family, life, death, and the hardships and hazards of agricultural work and rural poverty. Spanning nearly sixty years, the story is narrated in multiple voices: the brothers; their neighbor, who tries to protect them from things they don’t understand; a state trooper; and others. It’s an odd but intriguing story, made both odder and more intriguing by the fact that it is based on real people and real events.”

    Booklist

  • “With a realism not often present in modern-day fiction, Clinch tells his story with a technique used by William Faulkner and in prose compared to that of Cormac McCarthy; he is eloquent and clear-eyed in everything—from his descriptions of the harsh landscape to the simple brothers’ grueling farm life.”

    Bookmarks magazine

  • Kings of the Earth is blunt and brutal yet beautifully told, a classic tale of family kinship twisted askew…[with] the resonance of a modern ballad—more Waits than Springsteen—about the fate of America's rural outback.”

    Julia Glass, National Book Award-winning author

  • #1 on Oprah’s Summer Reading List
  • A 2010 Washington Post Best Book for Fiction
  • An Indie Next Notable Title, July 2010

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Debbie | 2/10/2014

    " Hard to describe this book...lots of back and forth and up and down...but still easy to follow. Can't wait to talk about it later this month! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Rita | 2/1/2014

    " I found the multiple time lines distracting. I had to spend too much time thinking about the date of the narrative. There were way too many needless side stories - especially in the older dates. The side stories did nothing to move the plot or explain the characters. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tom | 1/28/2014

    " Never heard a novel describe stink so much "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jeanine Microni | 1/24/2014

    " This novel captured my attention from the first pages. Clinch writes from the perspective of the numerous different characters. The Proctor boys, dirt poor dairy farmers in upstate New York become suspects in the death of their oldest brother. Clinch jumps from the present (1990) to the past, as the boys were growing up to explain how they became what they are. This novel was was upsetting and disturbing at times, but beautifully written. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Peri Kinder | 1/21/2014

    " Loved this book. I loved the cadence of the writing. The story told from so many points of view. The love between the three brothers and the visual writing Clinch uses in every paragraph. Can't wait to read Finn. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Theweed74955 Wild | 1/19/2014

    " Fascinating story about a rural family buried in tradition and ignorance. The author provides a detailed look at what goes through the minds of three brothers who have known only hardship and poverty. Their sister has managed to escape to a marriage that removes her from the stagnant life of the farm. The writing style is superb in bringing the reader right into the family I loved the book. the only thing I have against it the way the author skipped around. It was hard to keep a train of thought on any one scene. Once you get into it, bam! You're back in time about 30 years. than back to the future again. This is done too often. It confused the heck out of me. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Nancy Hadley | 1/14/2014

    " Shouldn't really even say I read this book, only made about 100 pages. My book club didn't felt the same way I did... too many good books out there to read to read a book this boring. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Dalia Corkrum | 11/3/2013

    " Clinch's use of language and ability to evoke emotion from the mundane are unparalleled. He develops each character with compassion, yet distills the essence of their tragic nature with breathtaking clarity, making this this one of the best books I have ever read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Irene | 10/15/2013

    " I thought it was a good read "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Denise | 10/10/2013

    " Terrible waste of precious reading time!! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Hannah | 10/2/2013

    " The writing style was interesting enough, but I don't think I have the proper background to appreciate a story about three old farmers. I gave it 100 pages to pick up speed but it never happened. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Joanne | 9/26/2013

    " This was one odd book - but I did enjoy reading about these three weird brothers living in upstate New York country...a little difficult to follow since the chapters varied in 4-5 different time frames. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Carla Burgess | 8/22/2013

    " Portrayal of people you would never choose to spend your life around, yet you want to protect them from the world that tries to take advantage of them. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Lisa | 3/14/2013

    " I finished this book and still have no idea what it was about. I waste of my precious reading time. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mark E. | 12/28/2012

    " Ward boys from Munnsville, NY "My brothers keeper!" "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Nicole | 11/7/2012

    " Very well written book. I am still a bit confused by the abrupt ending but I loved it. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Danielle | 8/25/2012

    " I thought this book was so boring. I could not get into it. Didn't feel connected to any of the characters. Wish I had more to say about it, but I don't. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Alanna | 12/3/2011

    " This was an amazing story!! I couldn't put this book down. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rose | 9/2/2011

    " This is an incredible and well-written story. I must say that the ending threw me... I was looking forward to the trial. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kristen Iworsky | 7/10/2011

    " So good... but the ending... really?!?! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Crystal Finney | 5/27/2011

    " A busy life made this a long read but well written. I enjoyed it even if I didn't love how the story ended. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Amy | 3/30/2011

    " Disappointing story. Didn't like the constant changing of time periods and characters telling the tale. It was difficult to follow and I didn't feel the story was resolved at the end, unless I missed it, which is possible because it was so erratic. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rose | 3/19/2011

    " This is an incredible and well-written story. I must say that the ending threw me... I was looking forward to the trial. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Tori | 3/15/2011

    " slow moving, hard to get through "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lauren | 1/23/2011

    " This story about three eccentric brothers who farm the land in New York state had a promising start, but after a while I just got so bored and couldn't read on. Like I completely lost the thread and just didn't give a flying @#%@ what happened next. (Did I just use that expression?) "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mary Kay | 1/20/2011

    " Disturbing look at three brothers who live & work on a New York farm. The story is told over many decades by various characters. The filthy conditions in which the brothers lived got a little old after a while. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Britt | 1/17/2011

    " Beautiful and interesting writing, but it was just too depressing for me. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Linda | 1/15/2011

    " A little hard to read because of the back and forth narrative. Interesting and different story, however not a satisfying end. "

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About the Author
Author Jon Clinch

Jon Clinch has worked as an English teacher, a metalworker, a folksinger, an illustrator, a typeface designer, a house painter, a copywriter, and an advertising executive. He is the author of numerous novels, including Finn and Kings of the Earth. He is married to novelist Wendy Clinch, and they have one daughter.

About the Narrators

George K. Wilson is a working actor in stage, film, television, and commercials with almost one hundred audiobook narrations to his credit. He began in broadcast journalism with American Forces Radio and Television and is a graduate of the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. He had a lead role in the cult film classic Attack of the Killer Tomatoes and appeared on television’s One Life to Live, Ryan’s Hope, and The Doctors and has been heard on voice-overs for The Guiding Light and The Cosby Show, as well as many television and radio commercials.

Rich Orlow is a film, television, and voice actor. Among his audiobook narrations are The Outsider by Jimmy Connors, House Rules by Jodi Picoult, and Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger.

Henry Strozier has appeared in numerous films, including Contact, You Don’t Know Jack, Thirteen Days, and Sex in the City. Also a voice-over artist, he has worked extensively in video games and audiobook narration.

T. Ryder Smith is an actor based in New York City. He has appeared on Broadway in Equus and in many off-Broadway shows including Passion Play, Dead Man’s Cell Phone, and Lebensraum, for which he won a Drama Desk Award. Smith has also made numerous television appearances on series such as Nurse Jackie, Blue Bloods, Law & Order: SVU, and others.

Ed Sala has narrated dozens of audio books throughout his career. His readings include Harlan Coben’s Tell No One, Stephen Sears’ Gettysburg, and Cormac MacCarthy’s Outer Dark.

Richard Poe has worked extensively in movies, television, and on Broadway. He is best known for his portrayal of Gul Evek in three different Star Trek series: Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, and Star Trek: Voyager. He is a well-known and prolific audiobook narration who has won twelve AudioFile Earphones Awards.

Alan Nebelthau is an actor and audiobook narrator, known for The Hebrew Hammer, The Peacekeeper, and the Remember WENN television series.

Ken Marks is an actor/narrator with almost thirty years experience in New York City and beyond. He is an Earphones Award Winner for his narration of The High Country by Williard Wyman, and currently he can be seen on Broadway as Uncle Ben in the hit musical Spiderman: Turn Off the Dark.

Andrea Gallo is an audiobook narrator whose works include Ungifted by Gordan Korman, The Nosy Neighbor by Fern Michaels, Kings of the Earth by John Clinch, and In Search of Eden by Linda Nichols, among many others.