A modern reimagining of Shakespeare’s King Lear,
from debut literary novelist Drew Krepp.
Henry O’Reilly, the founder and head of an enormous seafood empire nearing the end of his career, makes sudden preparations to divide his company among his three sons and entrust to them not only the family business, but the future of their North Carolina town.
The youngest of the three, Patrick, remains at odds with his family’s decadence and avarice, and declines to become involved. As the two older men conspire to force Henry into early retirement and take over the company completely, his brothers’ lust for power leads to turbulent and terrifying battles with Patrick unwillingly thrust to the very eye of the storm.
As greed, cowardice, and petty spite threaten to destroy those around him, Patrick proves himself no match for the scheming of others. If he is to survive the maelstrom wrought by his bickering, dangerous kin, he must find his strength within.
Caught between the spiraling pulls of business intrigue and the deadly force of a hurricane sweeping up the Carolinas, the events of The Salt Marsh King will alter the shape of a barrier island, the destiny of a powerful family, and the fate of the town that relies on their industry
Fast on the heels of his 2013 successful short The Brackish, Drew Krepp’s debut novel The Salt Marsh King heralds the full arrival of a talented author with a voice well suited to reprise Shakespeare’s tragedy.
Early Praise for The Salt Marsh King:
“This debut novel is a retelling of King Lear in the broadest possible strokes—the passing of the kingdom, in this case a seafood company in North Carolina; the exclusion of the youngest child; the faithful general named Kent; even a climactic storm. Unlike Lear, however, the focus here is almost entirely on that youngest child and the way he wrestles with his role in events as they unravel . . . Krepp writes beautifully about the water, its many moods, and the significance of its actions. The result is essentially Lear Lite, lacking the brilliant psychological complexity and subplots of the original but still offering an engaging examination of loyalty, greed, and power—and the devastating upheaval that results when these potent forces combine.”
“Drew Krepp’s fine first novel, The Salt Marsh King, shuffles a deck of wealth, power, betrayal, and family secrets and then deals us lucky readers a royal flush—with suspense and tension ratcheted up degree by degree, page by page. Along the way, Mr. Krepp masterfully describes places that you smell and feel while he weaves themes that touch on the nature of time and our trajectories in it.”
–CLYDE EDGERTON, AUTHOR OF FIVE “NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOKS OF THE YEAR,” INCLUDING THE NIGHT TRAIN, SOLO, AND WALKING ACROSS EGYPT
“The explosively entertaining Salt Marsh King is a captivating story mixed with strikingly poetic elements. Krepp’s passion for the nautical outdoors is reminiscent of a young Hemingway, while his contemporary prose rivals that of Chad Harbach’s. It’s a fascinating novel that will make you see Shakespeare’s King Lear in a whole new light.”
―TONY MUSCIO, LA-BASED PLAYWRIGHT AND SCREENWRITER
“Drew Krepp is an impressive young writer who’s weighed in with a powerful and thrilling debut novel. Saturated with details of place― you can smell the ocean and see the marsh―The Salt Marsh King also delivers the high drama of a strongly rendered Oedipal conflict. A great read.”
―DAVID GESSNER, AUTHOR OF RETURN OF THE OSPREY, CALLED BY THE BOSTON GLOBE A “CLASSIC OF AMERICAN NATURE WRITING”
“Drew Krepp understands the meaning of work, how it starts as a living but soon becomes a way of life, making us narrow or open-minded, callous or compassionate. Lear may be his jumping off point, but The Salt Marsh King is all his own, a taut and emotionally powerful story that demonstrates precocious talent. Krepp is definitely a novelist to watch.”
―ROBERT ANTHONY SIEGEL, AUTHOR OF THE NOVELS ALL WILL BE REVEALED AND ALL THE MONEY IN THE WORLD
“Salute the start of a great career. Drew Krepp boldly steps into the long storytelling tradition of the novel, and this book reads as if Steinbeck took a long walk with Pat Conroy, discussed Shakespeare, and dreamt up this big beautiful book. The story winds around and cares about everything―family, loyalty, manhood, friendship, business. A brilliant debut.”
―REBECCA LEE, AUTHOR OF BOBCAT AND OTHER STORIES, A FINALIST FOR THE 2014 STORY PRIZE