"I'm back! Hey, everyone, I'm back. Rusty Jenson is back!" he shouted, but no one was there to hear him. Rusty Jenson is back, back into a world where men set their own alarm clocks, exercise the dignity of work and are compensated with sufficient income to buy bread, where neighbor greets neighbor, and life goes on, aloof from the lowest elements of society. He's back, but no one takes notice or cares. He trudges along the muddy track atop the Mississippi River levee, as it holds back the turbulent waters of the mighty stream. His few possessions are held loosely in a half-filled backpack. Wild flowers bloom along the sloping sides of the bank of soil, leaves burst forth from spring buds, birds flit about the trees chirping, and small animals seem happy as cool mornings replace colder frost. But Rusty lives in a world of loneliness, where he has never been in his twenty-four years. After all the years of clanging sounds, belligerent voices, curses, and shouted orders, he feels the silence, as if a giant vacuum has sucked out all the noises of civilization. In the river a string of barges is being pushed upstream by a struggling tugboat, leaving a plume of turbulence in its wake. But no one welcomes him, knows him, notices him, or shakes his hand. He seeks no destination but a food-laden table and a soft bed. He has no place to call home, and, worse, no one to give him a hug, or even to say "Hello, Rusty, welcome home." Few of us will ever know the depths of despair and punishment that a drug and alcohol-crazed life earned Rusty, the principal character of Deep Runs the River. But while living out the consequences, he experiences the power to succeed morally and spiritually. Believing that he had wronged others, he is driven to make amends, earn forgiveness, reconciliation, and friendship. Along the way, he discovers the truth, reaches his goals, and finds true love.