Sunday, July 23, 2023

A book review of The Ghost Ship by Kate Mosse

New York Times bestselling author Kate Mosse returns with The Ghost Ship, a sweeping historical epic of adventure on the high seas.

The Barbary Coast, 1621. A mysterious vessel floats silently on the water. It is known only as the Ghost Ship. For months it has hunted pirates to liberate those enslaved by corsairs, manned by a courageous crew of mariners from Italy and France, Holland and the Canary Islands.

But the bravest men on board are not who they seem. And the stakes could not be higher. If arrested, they will be hanged for their crimes. Can they survive the journey and escape their fate?

A sweeping and epic love story, ranging from France in 1610 to Amsterdam and the Canary Islands in the 1620s, The Ghost Ship is a thrilling novel of adventure and buccaneering, love and revenge, stolen fortunes and hidden secrets on the high seas.

Imprint Publisher  

Minotaur Books

ISBN  9781250202208    

How I miss the lilt and sway of the waves beneath my feet, the buck and the tilt. The solitude of the night-watch and the black sky scattered silver with stars. The endless, treacherous, beautiful shifting water.

Such freedom, such liberty.

In the Casas Consistoriales, the Town Hall, scribes will be preparing their paper and ink. The priest will be sharpening his prayers and preparing to hear my confession, expecting repent- ance and a desire for absolution. I shall not give him that satisfaction.

Friends, it was my grandmother who taught me the importance of telling one’s own story, of not allowing the words of others to stand for us. Lies that snare and trap. So, in these last moments, I have a final question to put before you, a question I find I still cannot answer for myself.

Is a murderer born, or is she made?

The Ghost Ship is the third volume in The Joubert Family Chronicles by Kate Mosse, also serves as a stand alone novel. It is a swashbuckling novel where adventures of all kind can be found upon the high seas. What is diferent about, The Ghost Ship is Kate Mosse has written the novel from the female perspective. Protagonist, Louise Joubert, grew up amongst sea captains and pirates. Her story is told through flashback scenes where you discover her childhood and her yearning to command her own ghost ship. 
The images swirl and merge. Looking up in wonder at the sails and masts, the lattice of rigging. Looking down at the sea, choppier now, white waves breaking as the oars carve a path through the water making diamonds of green. Remembering her grandfather wiping the salty spray from her face with his handkerchief. 
Strong arms grasp her around the waist, pass her up from hand to hand on the rope ladder, until, she, too, is standing on the deck. Her clogs are unsuitable, but Louise quickly finds her balance. She is a natural, they say. Touching the rigging, the polished taffrail, the comforting thickness o the rope. Her grandfather lifts her up to ring the ship's bell and she runs the length of the deck, stern to bow, without slipping.
As a reader of The Joubert Family Chronicles, it was wonderful to read about Louise's grandparents from Book two, The City of Tears, Minou and Piet who are alive and well while their grandchild is growing up. I was so touched to read the chapters of Louise caring for her elderly grandmother along with beautiully written letters from grandmother Minout's diary. Kate Mosse has such a touching way of writing and capturing the genuine intimacy between married couple Minout and Piet that it brought me right back to, The City of Tears.
Feeling every one of her sixty-eight years, she raised herself on one elbow, and gazed at Piet sleeping beside her. His beloved features, grown white with age, were as familiar to her as her own. Against all odds, they had been by one another's side for nearly fifty years. Together they had faced grief and despair, they had lost their way and been reconciled once more. Blessed with three children and three grandchildren, they had suffered, but kept going. Companions-in-arms, they had stood firm against the vicissitudes of life, the evils of war and the deaths of those they loved. They were old, but they had somehow kept living when those around them stumbled and fell. They had survived. 
Louise Joubert finds love at sea aboard the Old Moon with a very interesting and mysterious man, Gilles, who has a childhood love and understanding of tarot cards and ability to read them quite well and effectively. I found this a very nice touch to the novel. 
So, if you are in the mood for a female centered adventure novel with a page turning story of family love through the ages and how women go against the rule of man.  
To purchase the United States edition of The Ghost Ship,  Amazon

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