Saturday, October 5, 2013

Betrayal, by Julian Stockwin

Rating: 3/5
344 pages
Publisher: McBooks Press
Source: LibraryThing Early Reviewers

Description: Cape Colony is proving a tiresome assignment for Thomas Kydd’s daring commander-in-chief Commodore Popham: South America’s Spanish colonies are in a ferment of popular unrest. Rumors of a treasure hoard of Spanish silver spur him to assemble a makeshift invasion fleet and launch a bold attack on the capital of the Viceroyalty of the River Plate in Buenos Aires. Navigating the treacherous bars and mud flats of the river, the British invasion force wins a battle against improbable odds, taking the capital and the silver. But the uprising that promises the end of Spanish rule never arrives and the locals begin to see dark conspiracies behind the invader’s actions. Now Kydd’s men must face resistance and the betrayal of their closest allies. Can they save themselves and their prize? (From Goodreads)

Review: I had a hard time getting into this book.

One of the reasons is, that after an action sequence in chapter one, the story basically grinds to halt for close to a hundred pages. It does pick up once the set up for the attack in South America is accomplished, but I found the maneuvering to get to that point more tedious than intriguing.

The other problem I had was the language. I suspect its period accurate, which did give the book a nice historical feel. However, between that and the technical ship terminology, I spent a lot of time looking words up to get more than the generally gist of the conversation. There is a glossary in the back of the book, but its woefully inadequate. If you're lucky enough  to find the word you're looking for included, there's a good chance the definition will require you to look up several words and discover they aren't in the glossary. ("Spar under the bowsprit to take the block to stretch the foresail to windward" didn't really tell what a boomkin is.)

I also couldn't quite swallow that someone who's never read any novels, prior to deciding to write one, would instantly be extremely skilled at it once he had a revelation about writing, but that's a minor point.

Once things got going, the story moved along nicely, but the language kept me from really getting involved.

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