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The illegitimate son of shipping tycoon Nathaniel Savage, Justin Savage copes with the Taiping rebellion, Garibaldi's Italian revolution, his love for the beautiful Samantha Aspinall, and the degenerate plots of his scheming and vicious half-brother Sylvaner
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Stewart (Pomp and Circumstance, 1991, etc., etc.) customarily produces narratives filled with snapshot-like scenes of high drama- -perhaps with TV rights in mind--and this lurid, mid-19th-century adventure at sea is no exception. Justin Savage is the youngest son of the mortally ill shipping tycoon Nathaniel Savage. Although the spunky Justin is his father's favorite, as an illegitimate child he will not inherit the bulk of the old man's fortune; rather, the evil Sylvaner, Justin's much older half-brother, will take over the family business once Nathaniel dies. Sylvaner's wife, Adelaide Crowninshield, is his equal when it comes to all things malevolent; when the wayward, greedy pair learn that Nathaniel's last wish is for Justin to sail to China as a cabin boy on one of the ships in his fleet, they pay a crew member to murder him at sea. En route to China, Justin quickly makes many friends, including the lovely Samantha Aspinall, who saves his life and foils Sylvaner's plot. While Justin, with Samantha's help, reads his mother's diary (left him by Nathaniel, who wanted him to learn the truth of his origins), Sylvaner has uncovered what the diary reveals: That Justin's real mother was Adelaide's sister, making Justin Sylvaner's brother and nephew-by- marriage, and the only male heir to the Crowninshield name. Justin and Samantha's innocent shipboard romance is thwarted when, improbably, a pirate named Madame Ching captures their ship and the two are separated; both are later forced to marry for the wrong reasons, but eventually, after his Far Eastern adventures, Justin falls in love again, this time with the ravishing Fiametta. Through it all, he must dodge the relentless Sylvaner and find a way to survive the Taiping rebellion in China; when he finally gets home, everyone gets their deserts. Contrived (down to the un-punny title), although the fast pace and swashbuckling style lend a certain readability. -- Copyright ©1996, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.From Publishers Weekly:
Swift clipper ships, bloodthirsty pirates and a devious Dowager Empress of China make for a vigorous historical adventure from the protean Stewart (Pomp and Circumstance, 1991). In 1851, 12-year-old Justin Savage, the adored illegitimate son of aging American shipping tycoon Nathaniel Savage, sets sail for China as a cabin boy on one of his father's clipper ships. Before the voyage is over, Justin will survive a plot to kill him by his jealous half-brother, Sylvaner; fall in love with Samantha Aspinall, a missionary's daughter; and be falsely accused of murder and put in chains. When Chinese pirates attack the ship, taking the passengers prisoner, Justin is chosen as a "toy" by their leader, the legendary female pirate Chang-mei. Before he reaches 17, Justin has married Chang-mei, fathered a daughter and become a pirate himself-specializing in plundering Sylvaner's ships. Impressed by the "barbarian's" unorthodox military talents, the Chinese Viceroy decides to send him to study at the British military academy of Sandhurst. In England, Justin reunites with a now-married Samantha, but the two are separated once again when Sylvaner arrives, determined to see Justin hanged for piracy. Forced to flee England, Justin takes refuge in Italy with Garibaldi's revolutionaries, eventually returning to China for further daring escapades. Stewart's customary storytelling flair doesn't flag in this rousing tale, which revels in melodramatic excess but bolsters it with lots of sturdy-and colorful-period detail.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description G K Hall & Co, 1996. Hardcover. Condition: New. Never used!. Seller Inventory # P110783819013