Genre: Nautical Fiction
Setting: Aboard the Lady Rebecca, a sailing ship, in 1905.
First Sentence: Captain William Jones paused on the bridge wing as the MormacMar steamed up the River Plate.
This novel is based upon real ship and its passage around the Horn in 1905.
As Captain William Jones is bringing his ship into port in Uruguay, he spies a rusted hulk beached on the shore. He recognizes the abandoned derelict. It is the Lady Rebecca. The Lady Rebecca was one of the last of a dying breed, a square rigged sailing ship still operating at the beginning of the 20th century. She was a steel hulled, three masted windjammer.
It was in this ship that Captain Jones took his first sea voyage as an apprentice.
On June 11, 1905, the Lady Rebecca left Cardiff, Wales carrying a load of coal, bound for the port of Pisagua, Chile. On board are twenty able seamen, four apprentices, the ship's officers, and the captain's wife and two children.
After 139 days at sea, the ship finally arrives at her destination. Along the way there have been terrible hardships. There was a fire in the cargo hold. They spent 71 days battling freezing weather and contrary winds while rounding the horn. Four seamen lost their lives. Many were injured or sick. And there was the threat of a mutiny.
The tale of this voyage makes for a thrilling story of adventure on the high seas. Spilman tells the tale of this fateful voyage through the eyes of William, the Captain, his wife, and an American sailor. Through their experiences we get a glimpse of the realities and hardships faced by sailors during the Age of Sail.
The author does a great job of integrating actual maritime vocabulary into his telling of the story. He has also added a glossary of nautical terms to help the reader understand that colorful jargon.
In my opinion, this novel would be a great place to start if you're interested in trying out nautical fiction. And for those who are experienced readers of this genre, it's an exciting ocean going yarn.
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