Francis Brett Young deviates from his usual English stomping ground and takes us on a sea adventure to Panda on the African coast.
In a nutshell, a sea captain is finishing a job in Naples and is expecting to be home in a matter of weeks when he receives a new command. He must take the ship to Panda, on the African coast to collect goods...and... he must take a passenger, a woman, who is attempting to track down her runaway husband who abandoned her seven years prior, and her young daughter.
For the first half of the book, FBY had me by the ears. I enjoyed seeing relationships develop on board with the various sailors, seeing how a young child changed these gruff men into more human creatures, also the jealousy and animosity between them, having a woman about.
Where FBY lost me was when we stepped ashore in Africa. The descriptions were...how can I put it? I couldn't SEE what he was describing. For example, there is a storm, a tornado, an escape through estuaries or swamps (I'm still not quite sure) and at these times I couldn't really picture what was happening.
There's also some loose ends which were never fully explained
There is a rather mysterious man of business who resides in his mosquito netted four posted bed. He looks like a marble statue and we're given to understand that he is partially paralyzed. Our hero has a few conversations with him. Later it is said that this mysterious man has died. And that he died a week prior. But our hero was in communication with him during this time. How? Was someone using him like a dummy? It's never explained. And why did everyone hate him so much? What did he do? Also, what happens to the woman's husband? There is a fight at the end and we don't know if he is alive or dead. Is our heroine free to marry again? We don't know. *END OF SPOILER*
I would be interested in hearing someone else's thoughts on this one but being that it is somewhat rare I may need to wait a while...
SEX: One offscreen attack/ rape
VIOLENCE: Some violence but not very descriptive.
PROFANITY: D's mostly. One B, and some racial slurs scattered about.
PARANORMAL ELEMENTS: there's talk of a house having a "feeling " about it because of past lives, also there's a question of whether one character died before or after a series of conversations.