When Jack Sligo runs away from his loving Boston-Irish family, he hopes to get a summer job on a cruise ship. His dream becomes a nightmare when he meets two strangers who give him mysterious drinks in a waterfront saloon.
Jack wakes up, far at sea, shanghaied aboard the African freighter, SS Iron Prince. The ship’s first call is a remote jungle port in Venezuela where there’s plenty of rum, women, and thieves, but no opportunity for escape.
Thank you so much to David Paul Collins for sending me a copy of his book in exchange for an honest review and for allowing me to on his books tour!
Upon starting the novel I noticed that the author’s voice immediately jumps out at you. It immediately hooks you in. We are first introduced to Jack as he is surrounded by family, but also plagued by thoughts of wanting more in life and wanting to be someone that goes on adventures. The pacing as we follow Jack along his journey was great. The moments when we are left alone with Jack’s thoughts are some of the best parts of the books.
The setting of the ship and the jungles that Jack has to navigate through are beautifully described. There couldn’t have been a better setting for this book. Seeing these settings through the eyes of a fifteen year old does wonders for the story-telling in this novel. Collins ability to give information relevant to the time the book is placed in without including infodumps is superb. I found myself remembering small details throughout the novel and it made me appreciate the story being told even more.
I also became incredibly close to the character as the story continued on. I wanted to be there for Jack in the book, but I knew I couldn’t because of him being a fictional character. Somehow this made me even more sad for him and the moments he felt alone on his journey.
I would definitely recommend picking up this book if you’re craving an emotional, thrilling, and thought-provoking adventure.
Meet the Author
David Paul Collins travels the world as the CEO and managing director of Active Living International, an advisory firm finding “solutions for an ageing planet”. He has been in the business of senior living for more than 30 years and was a co-founder of ARV Assisted Living—at one time ranked among the five largest assisted living companies in the US. Prior to working in the industry of senior living David had a career in international merchant banking, centered in the turbulent middle east. That experience led to An Improbable Spy, his
An Improbable Spy draws on David’s adventures in the Middle East at the time of the Islamist Revolution in Iran. In the book, protagonist, Jack Devlin escapes the chaos in Tehran during the takeover of the US Embassy by radical Islamic students. Entering a devil’s bargain with the CIA to rescue his girlfriend, Farideh, he agrees to steal the ledger of buyers and sellers from the world’s most powerful arms dealer, Mustafa Khaki. He happens to be Farideh’s father.
David’s enjoyment of writing short stories and poetry expanded to a fictionalized memoir in his first book, Shanghaied, recently released in AudioBook with narration by Andrew Tell. It is a coming-of-age story based on his days as a young teenager sailing the world on a Liberian freighter, the S/S Iron Prince, the largest ship in the world. We meet the fictional protagonist, Jack Sligo, when he lands in Mobile, Alabama, looking for a summer job on a cruise ship and is shanghaied onto an African freighter. Unbeknownst to Jack, the ship’s bo’sun, Manor Nelson, a Cayman Islander, protects him from members of the crew who would have made Caribbean pirates seem like drawing room gentlemen.
When David isn’t traveling for business he is traveling for pleasure with his wife, Victoria, also an author. Whether in the air or at sea, they both enjoy writing, so … no downtime in their travels.
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