Review Blog

Dec 07 2012

The Voyage of the Unquiet Ice by Andrew McGahan

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Ship Kings, 2. Allen and Unwin, 2012. ISBN 9781742378220.
(Recommended for 13+) We meet our hero Dow Amber at a dizzying height on the mast of the battleship Chloe as he undertakes seamanship tests in this second of the Ship Kings series. In The Coming of the Whirlpool Dow left New Island to follow his dream of seafaring in the age of sail. Now the alighting of an Ice Albatross on the crossbars of the mast foreshadows good or bad luck. Dow's confrontation with an ocean maelstrom had gained him respect and Captain Vincente has taken him on board the Chloe to meet the Sea Lord, Ibanez, on the huge floating city, the Twelfth Kingdom. From here, Ibanez rules the other 11 kingdoms on Great Island. But trouble is brewing as his son, Nadal, has departed 5 years hence to discover the riddle of the North Pole and the Ice Wall but has not returned, and the question of who will succeed Ibanez is pressing. It is up to the Chloe to discover if Nadal is still alive.
They survive bitter cold to discover the secret of the Ice Wall and the shifting chasm to the North Pole. They discover what had happened to some of the earlier explorers and manage to return almost home before disaster strikes. Dow is facing death on trumped up charges but fate intervenes, and we leave him facing his next battle in The War of the Four Isles. Will he reconnect with the scarred scapegoat, Nell and will his rival, Diego, defeat him?
These swashbuckling books are unpredictable, imaginative and beautifully written. There are adventures, battles, cannons, violence, death, mystery, romance, betrayal and cataclysms. The detail and pace may deter the younger readers but these books reward those who persevere and adults will enjoy them as well. This is Boys Own Stuff which girls, too, will love; I can see them as a movie or TV series.
Kevyna Gardner

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