KILLER'S WAKE by Bernard Cornwell


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The author of Redcoat and the popular Sharpe series of historical military adventures drops into the 20th century for a yachting thriller about an unwilling earl and a missing van Gogh. The Earl of Stowey has decided that there's not much point in using one's hereditary title if one hasn't been left enough money to dress for the job. So he's just John Rossendale to his yachting bum cronies. Sailing the world on Sunflower, the sailboat he was able to buy with the little he was left, Rossendale has spent four years away from home and away from his odious mother and spiteful twin sister. But the bankers have called. Mum is on her deathbed and would he please have the decency to sail home and say good-bye? Nobleman that he is, Rossendale returns only to receive his mother's dying curse. The problem is that everybody seems to think John stole the family van Gogh, their last remaining art treasure, the sale of which would have kept the manor in the family. Worse yet, everybody thinks he still has the painting, and they're trying to get it back. A pair of goons sent by persons unknown are ready to demolish his yacht in the search for van Gogh's sunflowers. And the ravishing Jennifer Pallavicini, stepdaughter to England's nouveau richest collector, is ready to offer 20 million pounds on behalf of dad. But John hasn't the faintest idea where the painting is. He'd run away from the lot of them, but his evil twin is threatening to wrench their idiot sister away from her asylum in order to get control of her trust fund. And this Miss Pallavicini is awfully pretty. . . Competent but unexceptional sails-and-slaughter adventure. Mildly violent.
Pub Date: Aug. 14th, 1989
ISBN: 0061000469
Page count: 432pp
Publisher: Putnam
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15th, 1989


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