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The King of America by Samantha Gillison
The King of America is loosely based on the real-life story of Michael Rockefeller, the son of Nelson Rockefeller, who disappeared at the age of 23 on an anthropological expedition in New Guinea. Stephen Hesse, firstborn son of one of America's wealthiest, most powerful men, has spent most of his life trying to escape his mother's clutches and win the acceptance of his estranged father. Brilliant, petulant, and possessing an arrogance that comes with a lifetime of privilege, Stephen sets out an anthropological expedition to New Guinea to collect headhunter skulls for his father's museum. He's convinced this will earn his father's pride, but he ignores warnings about the upcoming monsoon season, with devastating consequences. Samantha Gillison's novel is a mix of family drama, adventure, and love story. The King of America has received mostly positive reviews with the Portland Oregonian calling it a "crystalline jewel of a novel."