James Scott

Book cover image

Narrated By: Kate Udall

Duration: 12 hours and 10 minutes

What to expect

How far would you go for your family, for love, for revenge?

In the winter of 1897, a trio of killers descends upon an isolated farm in upstate New York.

Elspeth Howell returns home to find her family brutally murdered. The only survivor is her twelve-year-old son who witnessed it all.

Wounded, frightened and with retribution in their hearts, mother and son set out into the frozen wilderness to track down the red-scarfed men who killed their loved ones in cold blood.

Their journey leads them to a rough-hewn settlement on the edge of ice-filled Lake Erie, a merciless place where violence abounds. Here, forced into a brutal adulthood, Caleb begins to discover truths about his mother he could never have anticipated and Elspeth must finally confront the terrible urges that envelop her. All the while, the memory of Caleb’s brothers and sisters presses him onwards.

Big skies, deep snow, open wounds: The Kept delves deep into what it means to be a mother – and to be a son. It asks us how far we would go for our family, for love and, ultimately, for revenge?


Modern & contemporary fiction

Listen to a sample

Mysterious and compelling... James Scott has written a riveting and memorable debut novel.

Tom Perrotta, author of The Leftovers

Winter and discontent... Scott is the master of mood... Haunting'

New York Times Book Review

A classily written crime novel that is also an atmospheric evocation of a bygone era.

The Sunday Times

With its vivid sense of time and place, lyrical writing, and complex questions of what constitutes a family, The Kept is an outstanding debut by a bright new voice in fiction.

Ron Rash, author of Serena and The Cove

Darkly beautiful... The Kept is a rare blend of brutality and empathy, emotion and close observation. I thought at times of Cormac McCarthy's work and of the novels of David Vann. At other times it brought to mind Stef Penney's The Tenderness Of Wolves and Charles Frazier's Cold Mountain. But there's something wonderfully distinctive about The Kept... A literary page-turner of the highest calibre by a writer of serious talent.