Book Source: Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours
Synopsis from HFVBT website:
August 1789. The Rights of Man. Liberty. Equality. Idealism. Patriotism.
A new age dawns.
And yet, old hostilities persist: England and Spain are on the brink of war. France, allied by treaty with Spain, readies her warships. Three youths--the son of an English carpenter, the son of a naval captain, an the son of a French court tailor--meet in London, a chance encounter that entwines their lives thereafter. The English boys find themselves on the same frigate bound for the Caribbean. The Frenchman sails to Trinidad, where he meets an even more zealous Spanish revolutionary. As diplomats in Europe race to avoid conflict, war threatens to erupt in the Caribbean, with the three youths pitted against each other.
Will the dawn of the boys' young manhood remain bright with hope? Or will it become tainted with their countrymen's spilt blood?
This story, part one of a trilogy, is about three young men and their lives, which are caught in the cross-roads of a world that is changing at a break neck pace. England is fighting with everyone home and away, France has inner turmoil and civil unrest, and the Caribbean which is influenced by both countries, and is key to world trade. Also lets not forget about that just born America; who knows what they will do. World trade and commerce are dependent upon sea travel, and the unrest that happens on land, doesn't stop at sea.
Three boys, Edward, Louis, and Jemmy, each epitomize some slice of society that is occurring at this moment. Edward comes from aristocratic England, but his family is in turmoil and he is unceremoniously sent to sea. Louis from a trade family in Paris, attends University has grand thoughts on equality and liberty and how France should be governed. Jemmy, who is poor, comes from the countryside of England, and must fend for himself on the streets. The paths of these three cross throughout the book, and what happens when they cross drive some of the story forward. We also read about their lives separately and how they are faring in this world.
That is the general picture of what this story is about. Unfortunately I could not get into this story for two reasons. B.N. Peacock knows her history and knows it well. She captures each part of society perfectly, one of which is life on a ship. However, I could not follow any of this part, which is Edwards story, to save my life. I was lost, and felt thrown into a situation I couldn't understand or even try to. Sorry I don't know the inner workings of a ship. Granted that's probably how Edward felt, but as a reader, that could have been done here and there. Not the whole time he was on the ship. I felt I needed a lesson in how ships operate and a dictionary of terms. I don't mind looking things up occasionally, but it shouldn't stop my grasp of the story.
Secondly, except for Jemmy, I did not like Edward or Louis. When two-thirds of a story has a character I don't like, interest in the story disappears. With respect to Edward, I liked him in the beginning. I empathized with him and his plight. His experience at sea in the beginning, my goodness, it was horrid and shameful However, because the chapters alternate between characters, I felt I left off with Edward one way, and when he returned he was haughty, uppity, and not someone I liked at all. What happened? And that was it for me with Edward.
With Louis, I did not like him from the first time I met him. What a spoiled, idealistic coward and brat. Louis stirred the pot but never thought about the consequences of his actions. I felt like he didn't care. Yes, he was disenchanted with Paris and it's governance, but there are better ways to accomplish your aims. Although given the general feeling at the time in France, nothing was going to stop that train, but regardless, I just never liked him.
These are the reasons I did not like this book. I finished it hoping for things to get better, but for me they didn't. The idea and the plot for the story are interesting and I think would make a great trilogy, but maybe the execution could be better.
Please stop by one of the other tour sites listed below to see what other people thought. I'm sure their take is much different than mine.
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