Review: East India by Colin Falconer

About the book, East India East India

Publisher: Cool Gus Publishing (July 8, 2014)
Formats: eBook, Paperback

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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About the author, Colin Falconer Colin 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.

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My Thoughts

Both author Colin Falconer and the wreck of the real ship the Utrecht were new to me when I first began reading East India, which was provided for me to read and review, but as someone who is fascinated by ships and the sea, and who spent her first year hearing a foghorn signal her waking and sleeping hours, I was destined to find this novel captivating.

I really enjoyed the way the first chapter was set in the present day, but then we jump immediately to 1628, to see Cornelia Noorstrandt embarking on a nine-month journey to join her husband, an agent of the Dutch East India tea company. Her point of view is a blend of pragmatism and and hope; and her interactions with Michiel van Texel are always complex and compelling, the feelings between them both sweet and agonizingly sad.

But this isn’t a romance, it’s a story of survival. The ship sinks. The survivors shelter on an island, and do their best to survive, as relationships, status, and situations constantly shift.

Another author would take this tragic tale to extremes. Colin Falconer, however, tells his story with the perfect balance of vivid descriptions and nuanced details. Not only can you see the wood of the ship, the blue of the ocean, the less-than-fresh clothing, you can also taste the tang of salt on your lips, and feel the water soaking your skin.

As I’m sure many readers are doing, I’ve googled the shipwreck for more information, and am adding Colin Falconer’s work to my must-read list.

Goes well with Hot tea and a toasted English muffin with cheddar cheese melted on it.

East India Blog Tour Schedule

East India Blog Tour

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