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Drake's Bay

1 rating: 3.0
A book by Thomas Roberts

Roberts (Beyond Sara) ventures into religious thriller territory with mixed results. On a whim professor Ethan Storey, an expert on California history, and his younger girlfriend, Kay O'Toole, visit the Williams Institute, located in a 1920s folly of … see full wiki

Tags: Books
Author: Thomas Roberts
Publisher: Permanent Press
1 review about Drake's Bay

An intriguing, exciting mystery with fascinating history behind it

  • Apr 12, 2010
Two of T. A. Roberts' previous mysteries were Edgar Award finalists, so I started reading Drake's Bay with the knowledge that the author must know his craft. He also knows his sail craft, and near the end of the book I found myself absorbed in the most detailed and convincing sea-chase I've ever encountered. I suspect he knows his history as well, and the gentle art of research. He certainly creates a very convincing historian in Ethan Storey, and also a very convincing man. Ethan's girlfriend is much younger than him, and though his love for her is deep, his trust often wavers. Meanwhile others pursue her for their own various reasons, while Ethan pursues the mystery of an ancient brass plate supposedly left on the coast near San Francisco when Sir Francis Drake believed he'd found the Northwest Passage.

All of which leads to a tangled tale with storms as quick and devastating as the weather out at sea, and friends and neighbors as treacherous as the shoals. Storey's delight in old books is as real as his girlfriend's delight in old buildings--I have to admit, despite how wonderfully life afloat is portrayed, I sympathized with her desire to settle down on land. But Storey has inherited the boat, as well as his curiosity, from his father, and that's his life.

Inheritance and history walk hand-in-hand through the pages of this book; the feuding Willems and Ballentine families, bound to disagreement by fathers and grandfathers; feuding academic communities; feuding theories; and the history of a motherless boy whose father was already present but never quite known. Plus Drake sailing the seas. But relationships built on honest effort prove strong enough to weather all storms, and I'm just hoping those hints in the final paragraphs might mean there's more books to come.

Drake's Bay is a fine mystery with interesting characters, exciting action, and truly intriguing puzzles to be solved. Many thanks to Permanent Press for giving me the chance to review it.

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