Two Rivers

De Trouble I Be See

Fiction - Historical - Event/Era
334 Pages
Reviewed on 08/01/2023
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Author Biography

Bob Rogers is the author of the historical novels First Dark and The Laced Chameleon, which earned critical acclaim from Kirkus Reviews, San Francisco Review, and Baltimore Examiner. His newest historical novel, Two Rivers, is available now.
Bob is a meticulous researcher, known to spend extra time, magnifying glass in hand, deciphering 18th and 19th century handwriting for “just the facts, ma’am.” Bob, a former U.S. Army captain and combat leader during the Vietnam War in Troop A, 1/10 Cavalry, finds his topographic experiences useful in field research. If not closeted in libraries or museums, you are likely to find him walking centuries old rice fields, battlefields, or in a canoe following the river trails of his characters. His favorite places to write include his studio, parks, beaches, airplanes, and libraries.

During and after his thirty-three-year sojourn at IBM, Bob created and taught gratis computer classes for under-employed youth (Norfolk, Virginia) and senior citizens (Charlotte, North Carolina) caught on the wrong side of the digital divide.

When not making desserts for neighbors, we see him frequently at baseball games and concerts of the symphony. Bob tends his flowers, okra, and tomato plants in Mérida, Yucatán, México. Visit him at and see his other books, what he’s up to next, subscribe to his monthly newsletter, and get links to free ebooks by other authors.

His Alma Mater is South Carolina State University, and he studied creative writing at the University of Maryland.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Jamie Michele for Readers' Favorite

Two Rivers: De Trouble I Be See by Bob Rogers is a historical fiction novel set during the Antebellum period on a sweeping rice-producing agricultural slaveholding plantation owned by the Tiffany family in South Carolina. Rogers offers multiple point of view characters with a focus primarily on an elderly Black slave named Posey and the white plantation manager named James. The novel is sectioned into three parts: Rice, Rebellion, and Resolution. The day-to-day life and the history of slaves laboring on the plantation are detailed, Posey's backstory and significance on the success of the plantation are revealed, and marital partnerships are formed out of care on the part of the slaves and advantage on the part of James. Acquisitions of land and the churning of profit are a direct result of the exploitation of the Tiffany plantation slaves and other less visible but overtly underhanded schemes. Throughout there is a slow simmer that Rogers builds up into a rolling boil when the pot spills over into rebellion.

Two Rivers requires some time to unpack after reading it and, if I'm being completely honest, some significant breaks in between. The plot is heavy and there are moments of brutality that are absolutely shocking, and the emotions they elicit are palpable. One of the standout scenes to me is when Posey has to deliver horrific news of a slave murder and the body's further defilement, and the young woman who has been subjected to horrors that Bob Rogers mercifully leaves to the reader's imagination. It's impossible not to collapse in grief with her. The catalyst of this event and the secrets revealed are perfectly paced. Rogers does not show his hand all at once and instead tells the story with the restraint of a gifted writer. As with all slaveholding plantations, the wealth accumulated comes at the ultimate price for the men, women, and children who are cruelly forced into curating it. All are intrinsically linked. Rogers says it best in the words of his own character: “It took many decades of blood, sickness, and death to create what you see here.” Very highly recommended.

K.C. Finn

Two Rivers: De Trouble I Be See is a historical work in the interpersonal drama subgenre. It is best suited to a mature adult reading audience owing to graphic violence, sexual situations, and explicit language throughout. Penned by Bob Rogers, the story takes us on an emotional and poignant journey through Colleton District, South Carolina, in July 1854. The Tiffany Plantation takes center stage in this intense story, where enslaved people battle for freedom and dignity as those who would continue to hold them captive turn a blind eye to the robbery of African bodies from their graves, being taken for medical research without consent.

Bob Rogers packs so much into this fascinating and heart-breaking novel that it’s hard to know where to start. For me, the standout feature of the work is its ensemble cast and the passion and emotional intelligence that Rogers displays in crafting so many different, realistic, and fully-fleshed-out viewpoints from which we can see the threads of other plots unfolding. I especially had a soft spot for Ella, whose simple desires in life and search for happiness were inspiring and heart-warming despite the lot she had been handed. In addition, I enjoyed the dialogue and dialect Rogers peppers into the narrative to give it those authentic historical and cultural touches that bring South Carolina to the fore of the story. Overall, Two Rivers is intricately penned with much to experience, be intrigued by, and learn from. But, above all, it’s a story about people and the terrible things they do to one another sometimes and how we should all strive to learn from that.

Asher Syed

In the novel Two Rivers: De Trouble I Be See, Bob Rogers transports readers back to the mid-19th century American South and a plantation named the Tiffany Plantation. Tiffany's holding goes back generations and throughout time have counted hundreds of Black slaves among their property holdings, and the slaves are valuable to the plantation in both life and death. Posey, a slave who has seen as much in his long life as any ten white men combined, is tapped for his intelligence by James Bosher, a plantation manager always looking to fatten his own pockets and social standing at any cost. Posey knows what needs to be done to maximize rice profit, and also knows that slave graves are being looted and bodies are being sold. As the atrocities committed by James mount, a wave of rebellion washes over the slaves and the only solution that feels right is a reckoning.

“We need to understand what drives such a man before we try to find some meaningful way to destroy him.” Posey is a character that readers will relate to from the moment he makes his presence known in Two Rivers: De Trouble I Be See by Bob Rogers. As a man of color who is of the first generation following the colonial rule of my country of birth, finding a novel about an enslaved man on a massive plantation that is written by a Black author is meaningful to me. Of course, if the book was poorly written this would not matter, but Rogers is an excellent storyteller and his words feel authentic. I am generally averse to dialogue that is written phonetically but Two Rivers is not the same piece of literature without hearing what Posey and all of the other slaves are saying as they would have said it. We know that there is no such thing as a “good” slaveholder and the juxtaposition of the family that owns slaves and those they hire to ensure compliance and a smooth, profitable running of the plantation is not blurry. Posey, James, the many John Tiffanys, and the more ancillary characters lend to the perspective and, when all is said and done, what is right and what is wrong is as straightforward as all things black and white.