A heroic rescue in a Channel storm sets the stage for darker skullduggery, in Tonkin’s latest mix of seagoing action and criminal intrigue.
A Mayday from the Goodman Richard, a sailing ship designed to train young cadets, would get Richard Mariner’s attention even if he weren’t on the board of directors in charge of the threatened four-master. Richard (The Fire Ship, 1992, etc.) immediately orders his SuperCat Lionheart about and back into the storm. Although the Goodman Richard’s captain and most of her officers have abandoned ship in the most seaworthy lifeboat, Richard’s skeletal crew—his wife and partner Robin, his Australian friend Doc Weary, and Lionheart captain Tom Bartlett, and the radio operator—manage to rescue every one of the hundred souls aboard before the Lionheart springs a leak and has to be run aground on a rocky beach. It’s time to celebrate—until a board of inquiry puts Richard on the spot, first for commanding Lionheart to run at an excessive speed, then for his liability on the board of directors of a training ship that may not have been seaworthy. To his astonishment, Richard is arrested for Corporate Killing, the test case of a new law that would make him responsible for the Goodman Richard’s missing officers. And beneath the criminal indictment is an even more insidious plot.
A clever setup, larded fore and aft with rousing action scenes. Just don’t expect much in the way of mystery.