GREAT CIRCLE by Robert Carse


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This turns from the modern scenes of The Beckoning Waters (1953) and From The Sea And The Jungle (1951) back to the days of sail and whaling ships for the story of Jered Naish's love for Phoebe Proctor -- and the sea. He returns from China to Salem to learn that her father, and his, are following the path of money, from merchant vessels to whaling, and have completed arrangements for him to take out the Obis and to postpone his marriage to Phoebe. The hunt for whales is complicated by the need for Jered to make firm his mastery of the ship against the brutal know-how of the old hands, the unhealthy chicanery of the steward and the enmity of the officers; to try to make sailors of the green crew rather than cripples. Their first catch kills two men but he wins support by his adamant and successful chase of a pod of whales. Misfortune sends them round the Horn, to a far away Pacific island and there Kaui teaches him new lessons in friendship. The return home, with Kaui, accomplishes his marriage to Phoebe, a steam ship for Kaui, and a new flying clipper for him -- and Phoebe. Satisfactory in its whaling scenes, in its arguments for humanity rather than savagery, in its contrast of primitive and New England life, this keeps its period alive and believable.

Publisher: Scribner