Sunday, March 31, 2013

ABSALOM'S WAKE_GONE A' WHALIN' by Nancy A. Collins_Review

Review of Gone A’ Whaling (Absalom’s Wake Part I) by Nancy A. Collins
Reviewed for FreeBookDude
5 Stars
Poor Jonah Padgett: he thinks he’s doing the right thing by transforming from a Midwestern landlubber to a seagoing salt, taking up as crew on a whaler, an exceedingly dangerous position. But like a lot of 19th century boys, from farms or small inland communities, Jonah wishes to travel the world; and he also wishes to emulate his much admired Uncle Calvin. Calvin, a former whaler, has provided Jonah with a letter of recommendation to a particular whaling captain. Of course, Jonah has to pretend his name is Jonas, because Jonah has difficult connotations for superstitious sailors!
Once aboard the Absalom, Jonah settles in well, and finds the voyage demanding, yet rewarding. The real difficulty arises, though, not from the dangers of rampaging wounded whales nor from sharks attracted by the blood, nor even from storms at sea; what Jonah sees at midnight devouring, what has clambered up from the water-now, that’s the real horror.
Ms. Collins weaves a taut plotline with an endearing protagonist, and a wealth of 19th century details, including the whaling industry. Just when the reader thinks it’s safe to take a breath, she whips out the cliffhanger ending, leaving us hanging on, jaw agape, heart pounding-waiting for the next episode. “Absalom’s Wake” is being published in serial form, reminding us readers of the times of Charles Dickens and other 19th century authors, when serial publication in magazines was so prevalent, and expected.

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