Monday, November 15, 2010

FLOATING GOLD review from The Book Bag

The novel opens with a description of the rotting remains of a human being battered by the waves on the beaches of the Isle of Wight. I cannot recall any book I have ever read starting on a more depressing note, but this is far from a depressing, or disappointing, story.
Floating Gold is an historical naval novel centred around Captain Oliver Quintrell and his crew who set sail on a secret assignment to the Southern Ocean. The story moves at a good pace. The author never dawdles on one scene for too long or gets bogged down. There were a few subplots to support the main story – my favourite being the death of a midshipman during some onboard games.
There is a good contrast to the characters, the most important three being the Captain, his lieutenant, Simon Parry, and the carpenter's mate, Will Ethridge. The characters are developed well and their backstories slot into the story perfectly. The interactions between characters and the rest of the crew is believable and well written.
I think I would have found the story harder to read if I had not recently read a couple of other books from the same genre. Naval terms, such as ketches, brigs, sloops and fo'c'sle were common and if I had not read other naval novels recently or was especially interested in the genre, I am sure I would have found some of the book harder to understand.
There can be no doubting the calibre of the author's writing. I found the book hard to put down and was kept interested throughout. There is a richness and sharpness to the prose that made the book so enjoyable. There were a few moments of humour littered throughout the book, my favourite being the colourful assertion by the Captain that women view news through kaleidoscopic eyes.
I would certainly not hesitate in recommending the book. It is well written and is a good read. I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag.

Genre: Historical Fiction
Reviewer: John Harding

Summary: Well paced historical naval fiction set in the Southern Ocean in 1802. A good read with plenty of intrigue and mystery.
Pages: 224 Date: May 2010

Publisher: Robert Hale Ltd
ISBN: 978-0709090519

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