BOOK BY: Amanda Dykes

This is the first time I’ve read a book by this author.

The novel has a slow beginning and reads more literary in the first several chapters than the rest of the novel. It isn’t until near the end of the story the reader is enlightened as to why there was so much foundation laid in the beginning chapters. If you can handle the literary narrative style and the slow pacing, this is a story you’ll likely enjoy.

Due to the length and pacing of the contemporary opening, I almost gave up. My attention wasn’t captured until the author brings the reader into the historical story line, which wasn’t until chapter seven. Once I was thrown into the late 1800’s, the author presented a different vibe with the story of Frederick Hanford, future traitor of England (though there are literary style passages throughout the entire novel).

I wasn’t sure what to make of any of the characters. Frederick is a noble, though a self-depriving character who sacrifices his life for another because of guilt. He blames himself for the death of someone and spends the rest of the story trying to make it up to people who are undeserving – though I think that is the point of the novel in drawing a parallel with the Ultimate Sacrifice made for mankind. He carries a weight on his shoulders that isn’t his to bear and he reacts to a childish misunderstanding that sets him on a collision course to becoming a labelled traitor.

There are two characters from the historical storyline I liked, one due to his humour and ability to see past appearances and the other due to his kindness and love for others. The other characters, the ones which Frederick makes it his business to care for are hard to like and left me questioning Frederick’s reasons for continuing to protect them.

Frederick is a legend and in the contemporary story line, Lucy is a grad student looking for funding to unearth the location where the SS Jubilee disappeared piloted by Frederick Hanford. No one has uncovered the truth of why he betrayed England, nor where his ship was run aground. He disappeared into the night on the eve before he was to be executed.

Dashel Greene is a childhood friend of Lucy’s and a forensic astrologer. Combining their efforts they are able to uncover the truth of the Jubilee, its location and the story of its captain.

All the characters in the contemporary story are interesting however their quirks and differences tend to be a bit much at times.

Characters are well developed and descriptions are quite vivid, allowing the reader to envision the places mentioned in the story. The author has a unique narrative style and weaves the historical and contemporary stories well.

I received an ecopy from the publisher through NetGalley. All opinions expressed are my own.