4 out of 4 stars
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Adrift by Charlie Sheldon, is the second book in the Strong Heart Series. It is a tremendous adventure that, from the very beginning, grips the reader in a fast-moving ride on high seas.
Aboard the Seattle Express, the fire alarm wakes the Captain, Steve Procida. On the way up to the wheelhouse, he can smell the smoke. A fire aboard ship is as deadly as the sea itself. The crew valiantly fights the fire, but it worsens, forcing them to abandon ship. They are twenty souls.
The crew divides into two groups in two lifeboats, Captain Steve leading one and William leading the other. They lose touch with each other almost immediately. One of them loses engine power and is at the mercy of the power of the sea, completely adrift.
The drama continues as an un-invited independent tug moves in ahead of the owners for the salvage operation. Recovering a vessel on rough seas is no easy feat, and it becomes evident to the reader that the independent crew has almost bitten off more than they can chew.
One would expect that the most suspenseful part of this book would be the chapters that center on the ship fighting rough seas but, in truth, the sections dealing with the survival of the crew as they hope for rescue is just as suspenseful, if not more so. There is a place early in the book, where Captain Steve thinks about the time he will spend without his survival suit and how it will be a long hour, that reminded me of the lyrics, “ when the waves turn the minutes to hours…” in the old song The Wreck Of The Edmund Fitzgerald. It perfectly described the feel of the interminable wait that the crew could endure.
This book kept me on the edge of my seat. As a lifelong Alaskan, I grew up as a deckhand on Interior Alaska riverboats during the commercial and subsistence fishing season. I know firsthand how dangerous water can be and how important it is that a crew work together well. It can be the best day of your life or the most miserable. It is hard work, it can be fun work, and of course, it is addictive. Once experienced, it is never forgotten. It changes a person. Adrift captured this way of life wonderfully. That is what I liked most about this story, and is the reason I am rating it 4 out of 4 stars. I would give it five stars if it were possible.
I think this book will appeal to anyone who loves a real adventure. Outdoorsmen and women everywhere will enjoy this story because it is something they all can relate to through experience. It will also be a book appreciated by those who cannot be outdoors or who live in an area where working in a wild environment is a beautiful dream, or just plain impossible.
I could not find anything to dislike about the book. The discussions between the characters about faith and belief systems may be offensive to some but, in a survival situation, these subjects will most likely come up. It was written into this story perfectly naturally and did not bother me. I found myself gaining a better understanding of each character and their inner identity through those conversations.
Character development is excellent in this story. I enjoyed the sections that featured the belief system, history, and culture of William and his family. The visions and prayers held by his daughter Myra brought depth to the story and gave terrific insight to the inner beliefs of that family of characters.
I found Adrift to be a professionally edited book, with few errors. I heartily recommend it to anyone who loves an adventure with a wee touch of reality thrown in!
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