30 August 2014

East India by Colin Falconer


About the Book
Publication Date: July 8, 2014
Publisher: Cool Gus Publishing
Formats: eBook, Paperback

Genre: Historical Fiction
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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.

Colin Falconer’s East India fictionalizes the history of the Batavia shipwreck in 1629, a piece of history I had never known before this novel, and brings it to life in fascinating, horrifying and vivid detail. With all his well-crafted and distinct characters, Falconer believably and authentically explores the whole gamut of human depravity. Manipulation, greed, lust, rape, murder, betrayal… It’s all right there. Appalled yet captivated, I couldn’t seem to stop reading this dark, intense story.

I should mention that the back-of-the-book summary is misleading. Before starting to read, I assumed the plot would focus on the developing romance between Cornelia and Michiel after the shipwreck. However, this is not entirely the case, since the shipwreck does not occur until a third of the way into the narrative. Of course, the preceding build-up is important and explanatory, and told from multiple perspectives, it sets the scene well for the ensuing conflict. But for most of the novel, Michiel makes very few appearances (compared to other characters) and when he finally begins interacting with Cornelia, their romance covers a few pages at most. So, I would not recommend East India to readers looking primarily for a romance – but for lovers of historical fiction, it’s sure to be an intriguing and thrilling read.

Thanks to Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, I received a copy of East India and the opportunity to provide an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review, and all the opinions I have expressed are my own.

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About the Author
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.

For more information please visit Colin Falconer’s website. You can also find him on Facebook or follow on Twitter.

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