Friday, October 3, 2014

Prisoners of the Sea

by Florence M. Kingsley

Mystery. Adventure. Heroism. Escapades. Battles. Trust in God.

What to all these elements make, collected together in one cover? A must-read novel, which I will devour, and strongly recommend to you!

The amazing Victorian author Mrs. Florence Kingsley has put forth an action and adventure drama which will captivate you, and will leave hanging until the very end, where you will be shocked by one of the most fascinating anecdotes of French history!

Now, enough of the rants. Let's get to the actual points I like, and then a few complaints I had when reading this book. But first, let me give you a brief description of the plot.

The Plot

Five persons, very different from one another in varying ways, are shipwrecked on a mysterious, abandoned island. When one is kidnapped, the others must deal with convicts and officers searching for something. Who did the island belong to? Why did they leave? Why is kidnapped Baillot taken to England, and why won't they tell him who they think he is? Found out in this exiting story, interwoven will the persecuted Huguenots' unshaken faith in their God, whose providence they can rely on. Take up and read!

What I Liked

First, I greatly enjoyed the narratives that took place at sea. By the title, you can see this is a tale based on exiting sailing adventures. Your surmises are correct. Shipwrecks, abandoned yachts, navel engagements, pirates, and more are the noteworthy episodes in this tale. I learned a lot about life at sea from reading this book. (The only other book I learned more about navel life is Conduct and Courage by G. A Henty. Heartily Recommended.)

Second, the vocabulary was rich, and can satisfy any Scrabble champion. There is even more then a hundred footnotes!

Third, the time period was wonderfully explained and made quite intriguing. The story is set during the days of Louis XIV, from the point of view of the Huguenots. The French nobility are villains, and conman English sailors are heroes in this tale. (However, I did find deprecatory words given to Aricans. Sad bias in the author's day.)

Finally, the Christian, biblical worldview I found in the book is my greatest commendation. The characters are never tired of finding and proclaiming God's providential hand in their 'circumstances'. They 'hate that which is evil and cleave to that which is good'. They explain God's way of salvation to lost sinners. They uphold their faith under tremendous persecution. This will edify you greatly.

What I Didn't Like So Much

First, the needless mush. I know, romance, if told biblically is acceptable. (It's even in the Bible.) But in an adventure story, it gives a sour taste if it does not relate to the plot. It doesn't here. It could have been easily dispensed with. However, despite the subtitle, (A Romance in the Days of Louis XIV), there isn't much. And I have to admit, this is but my preference.

Second, the plot. This is not a preference, but a matter of writing skills. Yes, its exiting and captivating, but there is two points wrong with the plot.

(1) It is extended too long. It could have been cut by half, and not lose anything. The answers are not given till the last chapter. That may not be a problem, expect that the tension gets long, and you feel like skipping to the end. That is not a good feeling.

(2) There are unresolved points in the mystery. That would never pass a modern editor. I wouldn't tell you what those are, for it will ruin the tale for you.


After weighting the positive and negative aspects of the novel, I'll declare that the what I liked far out weighted what I didn't like. I strongly, strongly, STRONGLY recommended this book to young men who what a good adventure plot that glorify God. Once again, tolle lege, take up and read.

Soli Deo Gloria,
The Book Adventurer

Purchase the Book on Amazon here

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