Engaging action on both land and sea with well-drawn characters.

RAVEN'S RISK

This third volume of a mid-19th-century family saga, set on the banks of the Susquehanna River in Maryland, focuses on a vital addition to a private fleet.

It is 1843, and Benjamin and Sonja Pulaski have won the salvage rights to the schooner Raven, a former slave ship. They have settled in a rented house in Lapidum, facing the canal that runs along the river, just south of the Mason-Dixon Line, separating slave-state Maryland from free-state Pennsylvania. The Raven is a substantial addition to Ben’s fleet of three barges, and the vessel will prove to be a dangerous turning point in the couple’s lives. When the new manager of a bank, at the direction of the villainous Lydia Binterfield, issues the Pulaskis an eviction order, they are forced to move to the nearby town of Havre de Grace. They take up temporary residence in “the Pink House,” run by the irrepressible widow Mamie Stewart. Now that he is the owner of an ocean-worthy ship, Ben can expand his cargo service, leaving the barges for coal runs along the canals and the Chesapeake while he and Sonja use the Raven to convey sugar, rum, and mercantile items to and from the Carolinas. They can also transport rescued slaves and kidnapped blacks to the North. Ben, who had previously hidden a few runaway slaves in his barges, now enters a complicated and treacherous business. Lackey’s (Blood on the Chesapeake, 2016, etc.) series successfully combines nautical adventures with multiple personal dramas while sharply examining the blight of slavery. The novel’s depiction of the increasing hostilities between slave owners and abolitionists serves as a graphic harbinger of the Civil War, still almost two decades away. In contrast to the more violent aspects of the tale is the tender rebuilding of the relationship between Ben and Sonja, each still haunted by traumatic experiences from the earlier volumes. Lackey’s attention to historical details—the process of moving the barges through the canal locks, and the specifics of meals and clothing—deftly brings the era to life. And a few real plot surprises keep the narrative lively.

Engaging action on both land and sea with well-drawn characters.

Pub Date: Jan. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-692-83132-8

Page Count: 390

Publisher: Heron Oaks

Review Posted Online: April 17, 2018

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TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD

A first novel, this is also a first person account of Scout's (Jean Louise) recall of the years that led to the ending of a mystery, the breaking of her brother Jem's elbow, the death of her father's enemy — and the close of childhood years. A widower, Atticus raises his children with legal dispassion and paternal intelligence, and is ably abetted by Calpurnia, the colored cook, while the Alabama town of Maycomb, in the 1930's, remains aloof to their divergence from its tribal patterns. Scout and Jem, with their summer-time companion, Dill, find their paths free from interference — but not from dangers; their curiosity about the imprisoned Boo, whose miserable past is incorporated in their play, results in a tentative friendliness; their fears of Atticus' lack of distinction is dissipated when he shoots a mad dog; his defense of a Negro accused of raping a white girl, Mayella Ewell, is followed with avid interest and turns the rabble whites against him. Scout is the means of averting an attack on Atticus but when he loses the case it is Boo who saves Jem and Scout by killing Mayella's father when he attempts to murder them. The shadows of a beginning for black-white understanding, the persistent fight that Scout carries on against school, Jem's emergence into adulthood, Calpurnia's quiet power, and all the incidents touching on the children's "growing outward" have an attractive starchiness that keeps this southern picture pert and provocative. There is much advance interest in this book; it has been selected by the Literary Guild and Reader's Digest; it should win many friends.

Pub Date: July 11, 1960

ISBN: 0060935464

Page Count: 323

Publisher: Lippincott

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1960

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ONE DAY IN THE LIFE OF IVAN DENISOVICH

While a few weeks ago it seemed as if Praeger would have a two month lead over Dutton in their presentation of this Soviet best seller, both the "authorized" edition (Dutton's) and the "unauthorized" (Praeger's) will appear almost simultaneously. There has been considerable advance attention on what appears to be as much of a publishing cause celebre here as the original appearance of the book in Russia. Without entering into the scrimmage, or dismissing it as a plague on both your houses, we will limit ourselves to a few facts. Royalties from the "unauthorized" edition will go to the International Rescue Committee; Dutton with their contracted edition is adhering to copyright conventions. The Praeger edition has two translators and one of them is the translator of Doctor Zhivago Dutton's translator, Ralph Parker, has been stigmatized by Praeger as "an apologist for the Soviet regime". To the untutored eye, the Dutton translation seems a little more literary, the Praeger perhaps closer to the rather primitive style of the original. The book itself is an account of one day in the three thousand six hundred and fifty three days of the sentence to be served by a carpenter, Ivan Denisovich Shukhov. (Solzhenitsyn was a political prisoner.) From the unrelenting cold without, to the conditions within, from the bathhouse to the latrine to the cells where survival for more than two weeks is impossible, this records the hopeless facts of existence as faced by thousands who went on "living like this, with your eyes on the ground". The Dutton edition has an excellent introduction providing an orientation on the political background to its appearance in Russia by Marvin Kalb. All involved in its publication (translators, introducers, etc.) claim for it great "artistic" values which we cannot share, although there is no question of its importance as a political and human document and as significant and tangible evidence of the de-Stalinization program.

Pub Date: June 15, 1963

ISBN: 0451228146

Page Count: 181

Publisher: Praeger

Review Posted Online: Oct. 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1963

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