4 out of 4 stars
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Adrift by Charlie Sheldon is a literary fiction novel. It is the sequel to Charlie Sheldon's first book, Strong Heart. The book was published by IronTwine press. The author wrote from the perspective of various characters. This ensured that there was always a new and unique perspective on the plot.
On December fifth in the Gulf of Alaska, Steve wakes up to find smoke aboard the Express. The issue is worsened by the fact that they cannot seem to locate the fire. When they finally locate the fire in the port tunnel, it has grown and spread to the engine room. They manage to seal the engine room and stop the fire there, but the fire had already grown. The captain, Steve Procida, is forced to evacuate the ship. He spreads the crew into two lifeboats and leaves the Express abandoned, still aflame. The two lifeboats disembark from the Express successfully. William and half the crew in one of the lifeboats manage to get away from the burning ship, but their boat's engine fails, and they are left adrift. Meanwhile, news of the Express’ fate spreads to Larry and Louise, the owners of a salvage company and the tug called Warhorse. Knowing that other salvage companies will be eager to collect the claim on the Express, they quickly gather their crew and race to collect the Express. Steve and half the crew manage to get to land only to learn that the other boat is still missing. William and the crew in the second lifeboat are adrift. They also find out that their radio is not working. Their boat is drifting towards the Queen Charlottes, a dangerous storm-wracked shore full of jagged rocks and steep snow-covered ridges beyond. On the Express, Larry and the crew manage to tie their line on the ship, but an accident occurs. Larry loses a foot and an arm and collapses due to blood loss. The crew manages to stop the bleeding, but they are unable to get any immediate help sent due to terrible weather. Will Larry survive his injuries? Will William and the crew survive the Queen Charlottes? Will they be rescued? What caused the fire on the Express? Who will collect the claim on the Express? All these questions will be answered in this amazing book.
The author writes from the perspective of various characters. This ensured any reader would be captivated by the many subplots in the book. I was eager to learn the truth about Larry and the supposed affair he was having. I also wanted to know who would be blamed for the fire on the Express. The accident on the Express that led to Larry losing a foot and an arm came as a surprise. I was so shocked that I forgot about the other plots in the book. I was also eager to find out Louise's reaction to the news of her husband's injury. Using the perspective of various characters was an amazing decision. It made it even harder for me to take a break.
The character development in this book was written masterfully. The author starts with Captain Steve. We learn of his relationship with his son Jimmy and his condition. We learn how he came to decide to abandon the Express. We also get to know Larry and Louise. They are desperate for any job and collecting the claim on the Express seems like the only way for them. The author also introduces Travis, a reporter who left everything to join the crew of the Warhorse. The author made sure to highlight the characters of the first book. We get to hear the story from William’s Perspective and also from his daughter, Myra. Pete was a refreshing addition. His problems with his ex-wife and his relationship with his son were developed masterfully. He also has a crush on Myra. This sparked my interest because I knew, from the previous book, that Myra is romantically interested in the Russian, Sergei.
I rated the book 4 out of 4 stars. The book was very engaging with plenty of information on ships and how they are manned. The many subplots made the book captivating and hard to put down. I encountered very few errors. This led me to believe that the book was professionally edited. The errors did not interfere with the rhythm of the book, and they did not factor into my rating. The book was amazing, and it is hard to find anything that I hated. That being said, I disliked the vivid scene when Larry was injured on the Express. I also was not happy to learn how marooned sailors use their rescue suits for bowel movements. These bits of information were vital to the story, but I found myself wishing I had not read about them.
The book would appeal to readers who appreciate a fast-pacing plot with many subplots. The book falls under the literary fiction genre. The book would not appeal to readers who prefer only a single well-defined plot. It would also not appeal to non-fiction fans. This was a great book with many positive aspects. I am looking forward to reading more books from Charlie Sheldon.
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