Sunday, September 28, 2014

East India by Colin Falconer

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Obtained from: Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours
Read: September 25, 2014

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.’ But can he keep it? Described by one critic as ‘Jack and Rose in the seventeenth century’, East India will keep you wondering until the final page.

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Colin Falconer's East India was an interesting read for me. Past experience being what it is, I was immediately skeptical of the piece, but the praise of my fellow reviewers roused a curiosity I couldn't well ignore. 

To get right to the point, I liked East India a lot more than I'd expected. The shipwreck was a perfect platform for Falconer to weave a gritty tale of doubt, danger and desperation. I enjoyed the romantic aspect between Cornelia and Michiel, but I was perversely enchanted with the darker elements of the plot. Falconer holds nothing back and in this context, I felt the explicitness of his descriptions really worked in his favor and conveyed a very realistic sense of the crisis his characters are meant to experience over the course of the novel.

What I liked most, however, were the number of underlying themes and abstract concepts the Falconer worked into the story. Beneath the surface, East India is a phenomenal exploration of social interaction and what happens when we are forced to struggle for limited resources. I don't mean to sound pedantic in my assessment, this is fiction after all, but from a behavioral and psychological standpoint I was fascinated at how Falconer depicted that degeneration within the narrative.

A fast-paced adventure, East India is difficult to put down. A brilliant choice for fans of 17th century historicals and drama on the high seas.

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“You must pray there is no hell, Christiaan, for if you are wrong, I do believe the Devil has several new and exquisite torments devised particularly for such as you.”
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Check Out All the Stops on Colin Falconer's East India Blog Tour Schedule

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
Wednesday, August 27
Review at Book Reviews by Lanise Brown
Saturday, August 30
Review at Book by Book
Wednesday, September 3
Review at Unshelfish
Wednesday, September 10
Review at A Bookish Affair
Monday, September 15
Review at Griperang’s Bookmarks
Wednesday, September 17
Review at The True Book Addict
Friday, September 19
Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past
Sunday, September 28
Review at Flashlight Commentary
Friday, September 26
Review at Kinx’s Book Nook
Tuesday, October 7
Review at A Cup Of Tea and A Big Book
Sunday, October 12
Review at With Her Nose Stuck in a Book

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