Today I welcome Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours back to the Book Binder’s Daughter with another great historical fiction novel, East India by Colin Falconer. Please read my review, learn a bit about the author, enter the giveaway (paper copy for US, e-book for International) and see the full list of blogs on the tour.
In any other circumstance but shipwreck, rape and murder, a man like Michiel van Texel would never have met a fine lady such as Cornelia Noorstrandt.
He was just a soldier, a sergeant in the Dutch East India company’s army, on his way from Amsterdam to the Indies to fight the Mataram. Such a woman was far above the likes of him.
But both their destinies intertwine far away from Holland, on some god-forsaken islands near the Great Southland. When their great ship, the Utrecht, founders far from home, surviving the Houtman Rocks is the least of their worries.
As they battle to survive and the bravest and the best reveal themselves for what they are, Cornelia’s only hope is a mercenary in a torn coat who shows her that a man is more than just manners and money.
He makes her one promise: ‘Even if God forsakes you, I will find you.’
Described by one critic as ‘Jack and Rose in the seventeenth century’, East India will keep you wondering until the final page.
East India is the grown up version of Lord of The Flies. The Utrecht sets sail from Holland on a seven month voyage to India, laden with gold, silver and other treasures from the Dutch East India Company. This unlucky ship becomes a place of misery for all of its passengers. Of its 300 passengers, some are soldiers who are forced to spend most of the voyage below deck in darkness, some are regular Dutch citizens who are on their way to join loved ones in India, and some are the crew that are employed by the East India Company to sail the ship. The first third of the book describes the wretched conditions of this long voyage when everyone on board experiences sea sickness, cramped quarters, rotten food and stale water. The ship becomes a volatile atmosphere ripe for a mutiny.
The captain of the ship, Ambroise, keeps falling ill with a fever and his absence gives the mutineers plenty of time for plotting. This gang of nasty men also knows that the captain has a weak spot and it is Cornelia Noorstrandt, a beautiful noblewoman who is sailing to India to meet her husband. The fact that the captain and Cornelia have spent a lot of time together on the ship has not escaped anyone’s notice.
Just when they thought their situation couldn’t get any worse, the skipper steers the ship directly into a reef which slowly breaks the ship apart. The passengers, in a fit of chaos and panic, take rafts to a nearby island where they can only hope and pray that someone will save them. It is on the island where the “Lord of the Flies” atmosphere breaks out. The undermerchant, who was the leader of the mutiny while they were still on board the ship, makes himself a sort of tyrannical king of the island and slowly starts to murder some of the other passengers.
The heroes on the island actually turn out to be the soldiers who especially come to the rescue of the women on the island who are being abused and brutalized by the undermerchant and his band of thugs. I will warn you that there is a fair amount of violence in this book that might not be to everyone’s liking.
The greatest strength of the narrative is the descriptions of what it would have been like to spend months on end in a ship while traveling the rough and dangerous high seas. Today we take for granted the fact that we can easily board a plane and go from one continent from another in a matter of hours. Imagine having to sail on a ship in the 17th century under deplorable circumstance.
It was evident Colin Falconer did a lot of research about this famous shipwreck. If you like historical fiction about ships, sailing, mutinies and shipwreck then this is the book to add to your “to-read” list.
This Giveaway is for one hardcopy book (US only) and one e-book (International). Winners will be chosen on 9/19 and will be notified via email. There are TWO easy steps to enter:
1. Please follow The Book Binder’s Daughter in ONE of the following ways:
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2. Fill out this Google Docs Form with some basic information:
Thanks so much to everyone that entered! The winners are:
E-book: Mary P.
Paperback: Sharon B.
About the Author:
Born in London, Colin first trialed as a professional football player in England, and was eventually brought to Australia. He went to Sydney and worked in TV and radio and freelanced for many of Australia’s leading newspapers and magazines. He has published over twenty novels and his work has so far been translated into 23 languages.
He travels regularly to research his novels and his quest for authenticity has led him to run with the bulls in Pamplona, pursue tornadoes across Oklahoma and black witches across Mexico, go cage shark diving in South Africa and get tear gassed in a riot in La Paz.
He currently lives in Barcelona.
For more information please visit Colin Falconer’s website. You can also find him on Facebook or follow on Twitter.
East India Blog Tour Schedule:
Visit the other blogs on this tour-
Monday, July 28
Review at History & Women
Tuesday, July 29
Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views
Wednesday, July 30
Review at Just One More Chapter
Tuesday, August 5
Review at Book Nerd
Thursday, August 7
Review at Bibliotica
Monday, August 11
Review at A Library of My Own
Friday, August 15
Review at Jorie Loves a Story
Monday, August 18
Review at The Book Binder’s Daughter
Thursday, August 21
Review at Beth’s Book Reviews
Monday, August 25
Review at Casual Readers
Saturday, August 30
Review at Book by Book
Wednesday, September 3
Review at Unshelfish
Tuesday, September 9
Review at The True Book Addict
Wednesday, September 10
Review at A Bookish Affair
Friday, September 19
Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past