Sunday, May 31, 2015
Seven teenagers with problems, on an elderly Chinese junk that has the ironical name of Good Fortune, herded about by an artificially enthusiastic counselor, and with cynical men in charge of the craft. Off they sail into the vast Pacific, and so the adventure begins. It sounds like a fairly standard scenario for a YA novel, doesn't it? No, it is not.
James, the protagonist, is a sensitive. He sees auras, and is vividly aware of changes in others' moods; he see his shipmates in eccentric ways -- one of them for instance, smells of liquorice, and when his companions are excited, they give off light. He can hear dead men singing in the water. And he has a terrible premonition of disaster.
These dead men come from a distant, violent past -- a history that they want to resolve. And James knows it. This, he thinks, is how the disaster is going to come about
As the junk drifts on an empty sea, and the ship's personnel begin to die off, the tension mounts almost unbearably, aided by superb writing. An un-put-down-able book, permeated throughout by the author's obvious love of the sea and her thorough knowledge of Chinese lore.