Friday, January 19, 2007

The Dark Frigate

by Charles Boardman Hawes

From my earliest days, I have had a taste for science fiction. To me, adventure equaled hopping in one's spaceship and blasting off for distant worlds. As I grew older and became aware of other genres of fiction, I gained a vague awareness that the plot of a typical space opera could easily be rewritten--to fit another genre, to be set in the Wild West or on the open seas. I never had an interest in experiencing those other genres, however. The few snatches of westerns or pirate swashbucklers I saw on television never made me hungry for a different taste. I have now learned that maybe I just needed to experience a good story in one of those other genres. The Dark Frigate is a pirate story. It's the tale of Philip Marsham, a young man born and bred to the sea. Left on his own when his father is lost at sea, Philip sets out to seek his fortune. After wandering a bit inland he is drawn to the sailor's life and ships out on The Rose of Devon. Unfortunately, the ship encounters a band of pirates and circumstances force Philip to sail with them. It's a great book. Mr. Hawes made the entire world come alive, so much so that I had to adapt my thinking to the archaic language used by the characters. Conversely, I had no problem picturing scene after scene in my mind as I read it. It's sold as a book for young adults, but I found the story and characters to be quite grown up. We bought the book for my daughter's schooling and, given her tastes, she may not like this one. If that's so, I'll be glad to take this tome off her hands and put it on my own shelf.
LibraryThing link


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