Matthew McConaughey in the upcoming Free State Of Jones

Those looking forward to the Matthew McConaughey-starring Free State Of Jones, which released an action-packed trailer back in January, may be forgiven for not realizing the source material isn’t quite as gunfire-centric. But the original book is even more explosive than the film adaptation, just in a different way. The Free State Of Jones, by Victoria E. Bynum, deals with a Confederate soldier who deserted the army and created his own free state, including escaped slaves and neighbors, and then fended off Confederate officials who entered Jones County. (All while looking remarkably like Matty Mc-C, it seems.)

The A.V. Club is premiering an exclusive excerpt of the new audiobook, out today from Audible, that provides the instantly compelling introduction to the story. It’s read by House Of Cards and Hunger Games: Mockingjay actor Mahershala Ali (who‘s also appearing in the upcoming Luke Cage series on Netflix, as well as Free State of Jones), whose rumbling baritone makes for an addictive listen. Since he’s not currently reading every audiobook in existence, as we’d prefer, we’ll have to settle for this one. In only two minutes, he narrates a discussion of racial identity with life or death consequences. Give a listen to the introduction below, and then check out the book in advance of the movie’s June 24 release.

Mahershala Ali