Based on a true story, an epic historical novel from the award-winning author of Things in Jars that illuminates the lives of two characters: a girl shipwrecked on an island off Western Australia and, three hundred years later, a boy finding a home with his grandfather on the very same island.
1629: A newly orphaned young girl named Mayken is bound for the Dutch East Indies on the Batavia, one of the greatest ships of the Dutch Golden Age. Curious and mischievous, Mayken spends the long journey going on misadventures above and below the deck, searching for a mythical monster. But the true monsters might be closer than she thinks.
1989: A lonely boy named Gil is sent to live off the coast of Western Australia among the seasonal fishing community where his late mother once resided. There, on the tiny reef-shrouded island, he discovers the story of an infamous shipwreck…
With her trademark “thrilling, mysterious, twisted, but more than anything, beautifully written” (Graham Norton, New York Times bestselling author) storytelling, Jess Kidd weaves “a true work of magic” (V.E. Schwab, author of The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue) about friendship, sacrifice, brutality, and forgiveness.
Jess Kidd continues to deliver absolutely stunning novels. The dual stories here of two young people, hundreds of years apart, are horrifying and gripping. The historical and modern settings are not the usual choices and create a fascinating ambience from start to finish.
What will keep you reading this story is Kidd’s ability to take you from the absolute worst of her characters to the best of the human spirit. The characters are childlike, playful, motherly, pompous, sly, clever, faithful, sadistic, confused, and eventually, at peace. There’s a touch of Lord of the Flies here which resulted in some scenes that were difficult to read.
Warning: there is some graphic horror here and the story is not for the faint of heart. If you can handle that, this is recommended.