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Joan Druett
Author
The Money Ship
Joan Druett, author

Adult; General Fiction (including literary and historical); (Create)

Money ships were wrecks of treasure-galleons belched up from the bottom of the sea after tremendous storms, yielding doubloons and all kinds of precious treasure ... gold bars and bullion, chests of brilliant gems.

Oriental adventurer Captain Rochester spun an entrancing tale to Jerusha, seafaring daughter of Captain Michael Gardiner — a story of a money ship, hidden in the turquoise waters of the South China Sea, which was nothing less than the lost trove of the pirate Hochman.  As Jerusha was to find, though, the clues that pointed the way to fabled riches were strange indeed — a haunted islet on an estuary in Borneo, an obelisk with a carving of a rampant dragon, a legend of kings and native priests at war, and of magically triggered tempests that swept warriors upriver.  And even if the clues were solved, the route to riches was tortuous, involving treachery, adultery, murder, labyrinthine Malayan politics … and, ultimately, Jerusha’s own arranged marriage.

An epic drama of fortune-hunting in the South China Sea during the early nineteenth century, The Money Ship is a fast-moving novel on a sprawling canvas that spans three oceans and a myriad of exotic ports. As the pages turn, Jerusha voyages from the smuggling and fishing port of Lewes, Sussex to Boston in its glittering heyday, then back to newly settled Singapore, until her quest for love and pirate treasure comes to a spine-chilling climax in the benighted lands of Borneo.

Plot/Idea: 7 out of 10
Originality: 7 out of 10
Prose: 7 out of 10
Character/Execution: 6 out of 10
Overall: 6.75 out of 10

Assessment:

Plot:  This skillfully plotted novel delivers as much historical information as it does story. Only at the end, which is somewhat predictable, does the plotting falter, with loose ends that are wrapped up a little too neatly

Prose: The prose is true to the time period, contains great details, and delivers the flavor and style of the era. The writing keeps the reader in the story, but never in an overly showy fashion.

Originality: This historical maritime adventure is original and engaging. The author's knowledge of sailing, the time period, the South China Sea, and the economics of the day is evident -- and this information is deftly incorporated into the story. Much of the spirit of the time is captured in this intriguing tale.

Character Development: The characters here are very well developed for the most part. The author provides backstory for each main character and follows the characters' evolution over the course of years. Though their stories are interesting, some of the characters' motivations could be clearer.

Date Submitted: April 13, 2017

Reviews
Quarterdeck

This swiftly paced novel is punctuated with provocative characters, betrayal, murder, romance and treacherous seas ... The Money Ship, a richly drawn historic adventure, dazzles with Druett's truly splendid prose, which shimmers like diamonds on a sun-drenched sea.

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