An exceptionally well-written book from a versatile writer. Six different stories ranging from historical maritime fiction to grim post-apocalyptic tales. With variety in genres comes variety in quality, however. The thriller part of the sextet was surprisingly uninspired compared to offerings such as ‘The Pacific Journal of Adam Ewing’, ‘Letters from Zedelghem’ and ‘Sloosha’s Crossin’ an’ Ev’rythin’ After’. These were quite brilliant, with the latter employing fantastic futuristic vernacular.
The novel is in reality a short story collection with a play on form. The attempt to connect the stories with hints of reincarnation and birth marks seems a bit forced and unnecessary. More important are the themes of subjugation, power lust and more, which run throughout the book.
Not sure how this will work as a movie, but I am very much looking forward to seeing Ben Whishaw from BBC’s The Hour in the role as Frobisher the composer.