4 out of 4 stars
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The Collins Dictionary gives one of the meanings of adrift as floating without steering or mooring. This is for a boat or a ship, in which case it is at the mercy of the prevailing winds. Adrift, a book by Charlie Sheldon, is a tale of tragedy, treachery, survival, rivalry and determination, both on land and at sea.
Seattle Express, a ship owned by Buckhorn, was sailing from Petropavlovsk in Kamchatka, Russia, with loads of cargo containers. Unknown to the ship’s captain, Steve Procida, the ship was also carrying illicit cargo, helicopter components for Buckhorn.
A week after departure from Petropavlovsk, the ship caught fire, 100 miles away from the nearest coast, southwest of Queen Charlotte Islands somewhere in the Gulf of Alaska. By the time the fire was discovered, early in the morning, it had already engulfed almost the whole ship. The outside was raining and freezing cold, with 30 feet high seas. Having done all they could to put out the fire but failed, the captain had no choice but to order the crew to abandon ship, which they did. The crew jumped into two life boats each going its own direction, unknown to the other. So started a life threatening journey into the unknown. One life boat was rescued by Canadian Coastguard while the other boat, with no power and no communication, drifted to a very remote place, many miles of snow covered mountainous coastline away from the nearest settlement. Its crew was rescued after spending almost two weeks out in the open, without food, due to the bravery and determination of Anne, a young woman, who was part of the crew.
The subsequent radio communication by Captain Steve Procida to Buckhorn, about the fire, was monitored by other marine vessel operators. Larry and Louise, a couple with a fair share of marital problems, operated a family business salvaging ships using a tug christened Warhorse. So Warhorse set off eight hours ahead of Buckhorn tugs and claimed the Seattle Express but Warhorse lost its captain, Larry, in the process. He died in an accident as he and his crew were hooking Seattle Express to Warhorse.
The book begins with remarks from readers among whom were marine captains. From the remarks it appears the author is not a stranger to marine transport. It is not surprising, therefore, that this book is a compelling tale of life at sea which can only be narrated by a seasoned mariner. The setup is in the rough and cold waters of the Northern Pacific and the author paints an appreciable picture of the dangers faced by people sailing in those seas. I could feel a rush of adrenaline as I read the book, as if I was actually at sea with characters in the book.
Character selection and development is in a class of its own in Adrift. Each character has a story of their own. Among them is Sarah, a thirteen year old girl, who was in the forefront in the search and rescue mission to one of the rugged islands where one of the life boats from Seattle Express drifted to, braving snow, strong winds and freezing rain.
Each chapter is a story of one character or the other and the tale is not confined to the sea. It depicts life in families with everyday problems such as suspicions of infidelity, which sometimes lead to animosity among spouses. It is about love, hatred, bravery and business interests, all woven together into a perfectly flowing story. The book is also about ordinary life of the people native to the islands.
Adrift is so well planned and written that once you start reading it you do not want to stop till the end. It is professionally edited. It has a few unknown words such as the res on location 2133 and emcee on location 3633. At a certain location the author talks about the Holy Spirit having a wicked sense of humor. Although the context was perfect but to a Christian like myself, the expression paints a picture contrary to the God we know. But this has not affected my rating of the book, which is 4 out of 4 stars.
I recommend this book for anyone with an appetite for good books. Mariners will love this book the most.
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