Monday, November 15, 2010
FLAOTING GOLD review by 'Pirates and Privateers'
By Margaret Muir
Robert Hale, 2010, ISBN 978-0-7090-9051-9, £18.99
Captain Oliver Quintrell has recovered from his war wounds and desperately wants a new ship, but with the Royal Navy downsizing following the declaration of peace between the European nations, that is unlikely to happen. As he observes a convoy of merchant ships from the beach on the Isle of Wight, his manservant brings news that he’s been called to London, much to the dismay of Oliver’s wife. But duty calls and he goes to Whitehall, where he receives orders shrouded in secrecy.
His new post is the thirty-eight-gun frigate, and he and his crew are to accompany a convoy to Madeira. He is not, however, to engage any enemy. Nor is he in command of the convoy, which causes problems when the commodore’s orders directly conflict with those from the Admiralty. Once they arrive at Madeira, he receives additional orders – secret ones that he is not to open until his ship reaches the fifteenth parallel.
Breaking in a new crew and not knowing much about the officers who serve under him, Quintrell runs a tight ship. Before they reach their destination, they acquire additional and unexpected hands – Will Ethridge and several others. Will’s knowledge of shipbuilding and carpentry earn him a spot as mate to Chippy, the ship’s carpenter. When Chippy disappears after a stop in Brazil and two of the unexpected recruits go missing, Will is the first to sound the alarm, but there is little Quintrell can do.
The journey to their final destination, a secret place that may or may not exist, is fraught with danger – weather, a leak that was caused on purpose, and others who seek the same treasure as England. Will they survive? Will they find what the Admiralty needs? Will they return safely home?
Muir crafts a spellbinding nautical tale that captures the reader’s attention and never releases it until the final page is turned. Her research and attention to detail are impeccable and her experience as a mariner enhances the adventure. Floating Gold whisks readers back to the heyday of the British navy and while the astounding voyage never actually happened, readers find themselves living the life of a sailor and witnessing the awesome beauty and dangers of Deception Island and sailing the seas on a wooden ship in days of yore.
Reviewed by : Cindy Vallar
Editor, Pirates and Privateers: