Saturday, August 24, 2019

Historical Fiction Book Review: The Ship's Carpenter by D.E. Stockman Adventure on the High Seas


The Ship's Carpenter by D. E. Stockman 
Published September 2019 by Fireship Press
Pages: 219
Genre: Historical Fiction, Nautical, Military 
Available: Paperback and E-book

Reviewers Note: I was given a free advance copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. If you are interested in purchasing this book, I have created a link to it's Amazon page, just on the book cover above. 

The Plot: Set in the tumultuous mid-1700s the story follows Abraham, a ship carpenter, as he seeks employment on both sides of the English Channel. Abraham's dream of a peaceful life with his love Yvette is swept aside by the vagaries of war. From Brest, France to London and on to the North American continent, Abraham crosses paths with dashing naval captains including French brothers Francois Saint-Aloüarn and René-Louis Saint-Alouarn, English Captain, Washington Shirley and one of the most famous sailing ships of his time,  the Renommee. There are some side-plots which, although somewhat interesting, were not intrinsic to the storyline, and felt forced into the plot. I also felt the story ended rather abruptly. It was a 'wait, what just happened' moment for me, but I suppose that's the nature of war.

This book is the first of a series of three books. The story of Abraham continues in book 2. 

The Characters:  Abraham, the ship's carpenter, plays a central role in the story.  He is a man caught between, two belligerent superpowers; England and France. The author introduces additional characters as the war progresses, who grow in importance as the story unfolds. I think Stockman did an excellent job fleshing out his male characters. My biggest quibble with the book is the female characters, especially Yvette. I found her flat, one-dimensional and not authentic to the time period. That being said, the main characters in this book really are the ships themselves. You get a sense that the author loves these sailing ships and all things nautical. The human characters are secondary.

The History: The author, David Stockman, spent 10 years researching this book, and it shows. I don't know a mizzen mast from a poop deck, but Stockman takes you on a tour of his ships from their beginning in the shipyards of France and England to their final destruction in battle. The time period covers what historians call the War of Austrian Succession in Europe and King George's War in North America. It lasted from 1740 to 1748. 

The Writing: The writing was very good and the book well editing. The pace is fast, and the book is a quick read. 

Conclusion: I really enjoyed reading this story. I love history and appreciated the research and effort that went into this book. For a first-time author it's excellent work. Although there is a love story in the background, there is little of what I would consider Romance in this book. 

Recommendation: I would recommend this book to lovers of historical fiction, military history, especially those who love all things nautical and fans novels such as the Horatio Hornblower series. 

You can buy The Ship's Carpenter here.

I rate this book:  4 1/2 stars 

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My Ratings: 

1  Star: Not good at all, do not read!

2  Stars: Read only as a last resort, no other books available

3 Stars: Good, enjoyed it, will recommend with reservations

4 Stars: Really good, read this book!

5 Stars: So good, I might read it again sometime! Highly recommend

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