The Tilted World (Hardcover)
Federal agents Ted Ingersoll and Ham Johnson are in Hobnob, Mississippi, when the river starts to flood--this is in 1927. Although their mission is to roust out bootleggers (you remember that this is Prohibition time, right?), they become embroiled in saving a baby's life; finding someone to care for it; solving murders; finding hidden stills; and controlling their panic as the river rises and rises. The story is told in the voices of two protagonists: Ingersoll and Dixie Clay Holliver, the tough woman they leave the baby with. Franklin has a wonderful ear for language, and the particular cadence of Mississippi and the characters he and Fennelly (his co-author wife) evoke sound true to the time and location. The backdrop of the historic flood is fascinating as is the mystery. And it is not a bad thing that this is also a love story. I do hope this writing couple tries it again.— Edie
October 2013 Indie Next List
“In a compelling, poetic, and detailed manner, Franklin and Fennelly bring to life a little-known catastrophe in American history. The Tilted World weaves together the stories of two endearing characters -- an orphan who grows up to be a decorated World War I hero turned Prohibition revenuer and a bootlegging firecracker of a woman who yearns for her lost child. Add the setting of a town on the brink of destruction by deluge and some unsavory characters looking to profit from calamity, and the reader will be swept away by their story.”
— Sara Peyton, CoffeeTree Books, Morehead, KY
Set against the backdrop of the historic flooding of the Mississippi River, The Tilted World is an extraordinary tale of murder and moonshine, sandbagging and saboteurs, and a man and a woman who find unexpected love, from Tom Franklin, the acclaimed author of the New York Times bestseller Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter, and award-winning poet Beth Ann Fennelly
The year is 1927. As rains swell the Mississippi, the mighty river threatens to burst its banks and engulf everything in its path, including federal revenue agent Ted Ingersoll and his partner, Ham Johnson. Arriving in the tiny hamlet of Hobnob, Mississippi, to investigate the disappearance of two fellow agents who'd been on the trail of a local bootlegger, they are astonished to find a baby boy abandoned in the middle of a crime scene.
Ingersoll, an orphan raised by nuns, is determined to find the infant a home, and his search leads him to Dixie Clay Holliver. A strong woman married too young to a philandering charmer, Dixie Clay has lost a child to illness and is powerless to resist this second chance at motherhood. From the moment they meet, Ingersoll and Dixie Clay are drawn to each other. He has no idea that she's the best bootlegger in the county and may be connected to the agents' disappearance. And while he seems kind and gentle, Dixie Clay knows full well that he is an enemy who can never be trusted.
When Ingersoll learns that a saboteur might be among them, planning a catastrophe along the river that would wreak havoc in Hobnob, he knows that he and Dixie Clay will face challenges and choices that they will be fortunate to survive. Written with extraordinary insight and tenderness, The Tilted World is that rarest of creations, a story of seemingly ordinary people who find hope and deliverance where they least expect it--in each other.