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Download Kings of the Earth Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Kings of the Earth, 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:
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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.”


  • “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 by 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 by 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 by 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 by 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. "

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