Serving as second mate on the Orvega, a British ship bound for a trip around Cape Horn, young, adventurous Irishman Tom Chatto tests his mettle, his bravery, and his skill as a seaman on the early twentieth-century seas.
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The further adventures of young Tom Chatto, who, following an auspicious series debut in old pro McCutchan's Apprentice to the Sea (1995), proves himself a mariner to be reckoned with. Having learned the ropes during the last days of the great sailing craft, Tom (second son of a well-born Irish Protestant churchman) moves on to steam-powered vessels shortly after the start of the 20th century. Rising through the officer ranks, he achieves second-mate status aboard the Orvega, a British ocean liner bound from Liverpool to Valparaiso. The voyage proves a difficult one for all hands. Influenza breaks out among the huddled masses in steerage, and the Orvega is barred from Madeira, where the captain had hoped to lay up to repair a dysfunctional valve spindle. In the meantime, Tom (who has taken the cruise as much to see his ladylove, the daughter of a wealthy Argentinean cattle rancher, as to advance an already promising career) becomes a target of opportunity for passenger Grace Handley, a lusty grass widow looking for a fresh start in the New World. Although tempted, true-blue Tom resists her efforts to bed him aboard ship and in ports of call along the eastern shore of South America. He soon faces an even sterner test during a rough transit around Cape Horn when his crippled vessel's way is blocked by a foundering windjammer. Charged with taking the derelict in hand in a stormy sea, Tom and his salty salvage crew are forced to call on all the courage and skills they acquired when sailing before the mast as they pit themselves and their battered hulk against wind and wave. Another fine sea story from a master of the difficult game, replete with credibly motivated characters and the lore of a transitional era in the maritime trade. -- Copyright ©1996, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.From Publishers Weekly:
Given that Britisher McCutchan has published more than 90 adventure novels, it's no surprise that he springs no surprises in his latest, the second Tom Chatto yarn (after Apprentice to the Sea, 1995). Nonetheless, fans of seafaring historicals will enjoy how McCutchan pilots them through familiar waters in this turn-of-the-century voyage. Tom, earnest son of a Church of Ireland dean, has his eye on command of his own ship?as well as on a young Argentine beef heiress. On the newfangled steamship Orvega, he is blessed with a good-natured captain, irked by a peevish first officer and bemused by a mixed bag of passengers, including an obnoxious peeress, a drunk, a predatory older woman, a convicted killer (returning from Tom's first adventure) and various First, Second and Steerage Class extras. Plot elements include quarantine in port, influenza aboard, an abandoned windjammer, engine trouble and the ever-perilous rounding of the Horn. All this provides Tom with the occasional rough go, but it's just another day's smooth sailing for McCutchan?and for readers who care to while away some time under his capable command.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description St Martins Pr, 1996. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # M0312144105
Book Description St Martins Pr, 1996. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0312144105
Book Description St Martins Pr, 1996. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P110312144105
Book Description St Martins Pr. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. 0312144105 New Condition. Bookseller Inventory # NEW7.0085555