3 out of 4 stars
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Review of Adrift By Charlie Sheldon.
The genre of the book, Adrift is fiction. It’s a gripping story, replete with suspense and drama that had me turning one page after another.
When the book starts, Captain Steve Procida has just woken up from a nightmare. There is a fire outbreak in the Seattle Express . The ship’s crew of twenty, tries to fights the fire, with little success. They ultimately opted to abandon the ship.
Part of the crew leaves with Captain Steve and the rest with Randall, the first mate, and William, a major protagonist.
It‘s snowing, raining, the sea is rough, and their lifeboats boats capsize severally. Some of the crew are nursing burns from the fire, and sanitary facilities within the lifeboats are non-existent.
Fortunately for Steve and his mates, a Canadian Cutter comes to their rescue, after thirty hours or so.
But William, Randall, and the rest are not as lucky. They drift for close to three days and reach the coast of Haida Gwaii. Safe landing ashore appears impossible, and death inevitable. But at the last minute, their boat is hurled into a cove, and nobody is hurt.
Haida Gwaii is a harsh wilderness. They have no proper shelter, food and water rations are not much. It’s a classic case of, out of the frying pan, and into the fire.
William, who was born in Haida Gwaii, and Anne the third mate, leave the group behind, to walk until they find help. They head in the direction of what William hopes are settlements.
It’s a tough mission, courtesy of the rough terrain and brutal weather. The situation worsens further after William has an accident. Anne, young, terrified, and weak from lack of food, must continue with the mission alone.
Larry and Louise are a married couple and the owners of a salvage company. Seriously in need of some money, they are looking for ships to salvage. News of the abandoned Seattle Express, is music to their ears, and they spring into action. It’s a race against Buckhorn tugs, the owners of the ship, which are also headed towards the same ship.
A tragedy occurs, in the process, one that changes a lot of things. Added to that, is a tussle with Buckhorn. The future of the salvage company appears jinxed.
With the crew of the second lifeboat still missing, William’s friends and family, especially daughter Myra, are deeply worried.
They organize a sweat lodge ceremony to pray for him. Myra connects with her father, through an intriguing experience. She later discovers that Sarah, one of his friends’ granddaughters, who is just thirteen, underwent a similar experience.
Anne is found more dead than alive and rushed to a hospital. Hopes of finding the missing crew somewhat revives. A team flies out to Haida Gwaii in search of them.
As the book nears its end, William is still missing. Weeks have passed and he is probably dead. But Myra and Sarah, especially still have faith. Accompanied by some his friends, Myra flies out to Haida Gwaii. She prepares herself for the worst but also hopes for a miracle.
There are many things I liked about Adrift. The suspense, twists, and turns in its plot, setting on land and sea, and the lifelike characters. I bonded with most, if not all of the characters, was affected by their sorrows and triumphs. William was one of my favorite ones. I admired his calmness in the face of adversity, selflessness, natural leadership skills, and the way he told stories to keep everyone’s spirits up. Anne’s courage was also commendable, I wondered what I would have done under the same circumstances. And finally, I liked Myra and Sergei, was a bit disappointed their romantic issues remained largely unresolved by the end of the book. To his credit, Charlie Sheldon has developed his characters so well, that I kept forgetting they are fictitious.
I could not understand the nautical terms Charlie Sheldon used when referring to the ship and sailing. This interfered a lot with my enjoyment of the book and I didn’t like that.
I also found some of the scenes described by the author, a bit too graphic for me. Larry’s accident is a good example, another, example, is where Heather kills a seal pup. My rating of the book is 3 stars out of 4, because of these reasons.
I highly recommend this book to People who love adventure stories and are familiar with the sea and sailing. People who are not keen on sailing might not enjoy it very much. I found zero errors in the book. It is thoroughly and professionally edited.
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