About Me

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Victoria, Australia
I am an author of Young Adult Fiction books. I worked as a teacher in the Pacific Islands for seven years. Whilst in the Solomon Islands I taught PSSC English before the ethnic tension in 2000 forced a change of plans. I love Pacific literature, art and music. You can find me on Facebook at Beth Montgomery Author.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Ship Kings: The Coming of the Whirlpool by Andrew McGahan

The Coming of the Whirlpool was the one book I took to NZ to read while I was away. Written by award-winning Australian author Andrew McGahan, who usually writes for adults, I thought it would be a terrific book. The story was original and interesting but I felt the start was too tame which meant that the story lacked pace at the beginning.

The Coming of the Whirlpool
(Allen and Unwin, 2011)
   So what was the story? A young lad discovers that he doesn't want to be a wood-cutter, he wants to go to sea and his family are troubled by this. Eventually he gets his wish and joins an old fisherman who has lost his son and grandson to a whirlpool. Their relationship is prickly and the hero Dow Amber feels as if he has been cheated of his ambition, slugging it out each day in the bay fishing instead of voyaging the high seas. And then when the Ship kings come to the bay everything starts to get worse for Dow and the whirlpool comes again. 
   The setting is a fictional island but it's hard to tell when the story was set. It has a timeless quality, the ship kings have distinctly Spanish names and the characters have almost medieval voices. Some of the characters were terrific. I particularly liked the cranky old man Nathaniel and the innkeeper Boiler Swan.
   I would recommend this book for stronger readers and those interested in adventure, sea stories and even pirates. I think that many boys would be annoyed with the lack of pace in the beginning though and ditch what ultimately becomes a fascinating read.

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