Born with no air in his lungs, it was only when Reuben Land’s father, Jeremiah, picked him up and commanded him to breathe that Reuben’s lungs filled. Reuben struggles with debilitating asthma from then on, making him a boy who knows firsthand that life is a gift, and also one who suspects that his father is touched by God and can overturn the laws of nature.
The Lands’ quiet, 1960s Midwestern life is upended when Reuben’s brother Davy kills two marauders who have come to harm the family. The morning of his sentencing, Davy—a hero to some, a cold-blooded murderer to others—escapes from his cell, and the Lands set out in search of him. Their journey is touched by serendipity and the kindness of strangers, and its remarkable conclusion shows how family, love, and faith can stand up to the most terrifying of enemies, the most tragic of fates.
Sprinkled with playful nods to Biblical tales, beloved classics such as Huckleberry Finn, the adventure stories of Robert Louis Stevenson, and the westerns of Zane Grey, Peace Like a River is at once a heroic quest, a tragedy, a love story, and a haunting meditation on the possibility of magic in the everyday world.
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