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Extended Audio Sample The Lightning Keeper, by Starling Lawrence Click for printable size audiobook cover
2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 2.00 (109 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Starling Lawrence Narrator: Terence Aselford Publisher: HarperCollins Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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The Lightning Keeper is a sweeping, epic novel of ambition, love, and enterprise in America. It is the story of an unlikely Romeo and Juliet romance at the dawn of the electric age, with the nation balancing on the brink of world war and a scientific revolution.

In 1914, Toma Pekocevic is a penniless immigrant in New York, recently escaped from the bloody politics of the Balkans that have claimed most of his family. He is also a gifted inventor who designs a revolutionary water turbine while working with Harriet Bigelow, scion of a proud Connecticut iron-making dynasty now fallen on hard times. Their attraction is immediate and overwhelming, but every circumstance is against them.

Toma is eventually drawn inside the industrial empire of General Electric, his machine an essential cog in its grand scheme to provide electricity to the entire country. His invention is all he has after losing Harriet to a wealthy politician, but Toma is determined to win her back, setting the stage for a confrontation that could change not only his life but the course of scientific progress.

Deeply evocative and utterly engrossing, The Lightning Keeper is a rich tapestry of technology, romance, and war -- an unforgettable and distinctly American saga that establishes Starling Lawrence as one of the most talented writers at work today.

Performed by Terence Aselford

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Quotes & Awards

  • “When The Lightning Keeper releases you from obsessively turning its pages, you’ll know that you have read an unforgettable account of lives and experience unique to this country. This is a great novel, a transcendent and enduring American novel. I loved it.”

    Harper Lee

  • “A subtle and moving novel, an old-fashioned narrative that addresses modern questions of ethnicity and belonging.”

    Los Angeles Times

  • “Lawrence’s descriptive gifts are such that the history and science of electrical energy and turn-of-the-century manufacturing are given the power and fascination they must have held for people of that time. His writing is always crisp, often beautiful…This many-layered story pulsates with the power of two hearts beating in the darkness, waiting for that flicker of electricity that will light not only their way, but the way of a nation.”

    Washington Post

  • “Sparks fly in Lawrence’s blend of romance and historical fiction, set against the struggle to harness electricity in the early 20th century…Skillfully intertwining fact and fiction, Lawrence generates an electric history of ideas, kindled by the flames of capital and passion.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “A splendid novel with grandeur of thought, emotion, and erudition, The Lightning Keeper offers us science, domestic turbulence, and history writ large. This book is a true reading pleasure—an old-fashioned, sprawling, and patient unfolding of a century that is the mark of indispensable storytelling.”

    Howard Norman, author of The Bird Artist

Listener Opinions

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 by h.schofi | 5/14/2013

    " I had high hopes for this book once I'd heard the Harper Lee had recommended it. Unfortunately, Lawrence weighs down his cliched plot and character-less characters with an excess of historical detail. I could barely drag myself through this. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 by Sue Mellgren | 4/7/2013

    " A book about technology and love. Great historical piece but didn't really do much for me otherwise. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 by Kristen | 9/6/2012

    " well written, but really over detailed. i lost track of the story. it was too boring for me to be interested in what happened. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Joyce | 6/6/2012

    " Interesting historical fiction, but the love scenes are awkward. It would be better without them. "

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About the Author

Starling Lawrence is the editor-in-chief and vice chairman of W.W. Norton & Company. His fiction has won the Lytle Prize from the Sewanee Review and the Balch Prize from the Virginia Quarterly Review. He lives in New York City and northwestern Connecticut.