On September 3, 2019, William Kent Krueger will release his second standalone novel, This Tender Land, which he calls a “companion novel” to his 2013 bestseller Ordinary Grace.
While best known for his Cork O’Connor series, including his most recent novel Desolation Mountain, Krueger actually won an Edgar Award five years ago for Ordinary Grace, which follows Frank Drum—a thirteen-year-old boy who can’t seem to escape one tragedy after another, and his reflection on that painful summer forty years later. While it’s not exactly clear what the author means by calling this a “companion” novel is, other than the fact that it’s not a direct sequel to Grace, Krueger’s This Tender Land will feature another character who goes through a slew of problems and attempts to find himself during the Great Depression.
The acclaimed author of Ordinary Grace crafts a powerful novel about an orphan’s life-changing adventure traveling down America’s great rivers during the Great Depression, seeking both a place to call home and a sense of purpose in a world sinking into despair.
“Ask me, God’s right here. In the dirt, the rain, the sky, the trees, the apples, the stars in the cottonwoods. In you and me, too. It’s all connected and it’s all God. Sure this is hard work, but it’s good work because it’s a part of what connects us to this land. This beautiful, tender land.”
1932: Located on the banks of the Gilead River in Minnesota, Lincoln School is home to hundreds of Native American boys and girls who have been separated from their families. The only two white boys in the school are orphan brothers Odie and Albert who, under the watchful eyes of the cruel superintendent Mrs. Brickman, are often in trouble for misdeeds both real and imagined. The two boys’ best friend is Mose, a mute Native American who is also the strongest kid in school. And they find another ally in Cora Frost, a widowed teacher who is raising her little girl, Emmy, by herself.
When tragedy strikes down Mrs. Frost, it’s the catalyst for a series of events that will send Odie, Albert, and Mose to rescue Emmy and flee down the river in a canoe, heading for the mighty Mississippi, leaving a dead body in their wake. Soon they are wanted by the law and they know that Mrs. Brickman will stop at nothing to track them down for dark reasons of her own.
Over the course of this unforgettable summer, Odie, Albert, Mose, and Emmy carefully make their way through the small river towns and big cities filled with people who are by turns desperate and generous, cruel and kind. As they search for a place to belong, these four remarkable children will lose their innocence but gain the strength to survive in the face of terrible loss.
With his signature “pitch-perfect, wonderfully evocative” (Dennis Lehane, New York Times bestselling author) prose, William Kent Krueger’s This Tender Land shows how the magnificent American landscape connects us all, haunts our dreams, and makes us whole.
Raised in the Cascade Mountains of Oregon, William Kent Krueger briefly attended Stanford University—before being kicked out for radical activities. After that, he logged timber, worked construction, tried his hand at freelance journalism, and eventually ended up researching child development at the University of Minnesota. He currently makes his living as a full-time author. He’s been married for over 40 years to a marvelous woman who is a retired attorney. He makes his home in St. Paul, a city he dearly loves.
Praised as “one of today’s finest book reviewers” by New York Times bestselling author Gayle Lynds, Ryan Steck (“The Godfather of the thriller genre” — Ben Coes) has “quickly established himself as the authority on mysteries and thrillers” (Author A.J. Tata). Steck also works full-time as a freelance editor and pens a monthly thriller column for CrimeReads. For more information, be sure to follow him on Twitter and Facebook. He currently lives in Southwest Michigan with his wife and their six children.