Monday, August 4, 2014

East India by Colin Falconer

02_East IndiaPublication Date: July 8, 2014
Cool Gus Publishing
Formats: eBook, Paperback

Genre: Historical Fiction

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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.

My Review:
Five amazing stars!
Copy received from Historical Fiction Virtual Tours for an honest review
I’ve never read Collin Falconer before so I had no idea what to expect!  Wow! This was an unexpected adventure with twists and turns. 

On its maiden voyage from Holland to Batavia, the East India Company sends Utrecht on a five month journey.  Cornelia Noorstrandt is one of the passengers on the ship. She is on her way to meet her husband that is already in Batavia.  It’s obvious from the first couple of pages that she is not madly in love with her husband.  Since she is the only person on the ship that is of “upper class” she often finds herself very lonely.  Cornelia, although wealthy now, came from humble beginnings.

Other noteworthy characters are Ambroise Secor who is the captain of the ship and who develops a friendship with Cornelia.  Jacob Schellinger and Christian van Sant are second in command.  Then, my favorite, Michael van Texel.  Michael is a soldier on his way to Batavia also.  He does not share the same ranks as the before mentioned but plays a very pivotal role in the story.  Although he is not of the same ranking as the captain or Cornelia he does share conversations with her and often seeks her out.

While on the ship, life is very rough and I thought that the author really portrayed the discomfort and limited provisions that were available.  The maggot covered meat made my stomach turn but made the uneasy feeling of life on the ship more credible. 

Cornelia is a wealthy lady but life on the ship is not safe for her and she suffers from a horrible “occurrence.”   The divisions of the social classes are evident aboard the ship and atrocities happen even in the middle of the sea.  

Although life on the ship is horrible, when they become “lost” life becomes hell for everyone.  The turn of events was so quick and so much happened I had to take a breath!

The story quickly becomes a “Lord of the Flies” as everyone aboard the Utrecht is shipwrecked (Everyone that survived that is) they start to fight for survival.  This fight for survival turns to deprivation for some of these characters. The cruelty and viciousness of some of the characters was shocking.   

Although there are many different parts of the story, my favorite was Michael and Cornelia.  Both of them were such valiant, kind and genuinely good people in the middle of what at times was hell.  I couldn’t put this book down and there are scenes that are imprinted in my brain.  Falconer is a fantastic storyteller.  He pushed so many boundaries and shocked me! Although a very intense book I really enjoyed it. His clever lines took away some of the tension from the story, “he’d rather lick arse than eat cheese” made me laugh.  My all time favorite “ even if God forsakes you, I will find you.” Amazing!

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About the AuthorColin Falconer

Born in London, Colin first trialed as a professional football player in England, and was eventually brought to Australia. He went to Sydney and worked in TV and radio and freelanced for many of Australia’s leading newspapers and magazines. He has published over twenty novels and his work has so far been translated into 23 languages.

He travels regularly to research his novels and his quest for authenticity has led him to run with the bulls in Pamplona, pursue tornadoes across Oklahoma and black witches across Mexico, go cage shark diving in South Africa and get tear gassed in a riot in La Paz.

He currently lives in Barcelona.

For more information please visit Colin Falconer’s website. You can also find him on Facebook or follow on Twitter.

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

Saturday, August 30
Review at Book by Book

Wednesday, September 3
Review at Unshelfish

Tuesday, September 9
Review at The True Book Addict

Wednesday, September 10
Review at A Bookish Affair

Friday, September 19
Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past

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