A Canadian ocean liner becomes an island of safety during the
earthquake that destroyed Yokohama in 1923. Former Yachting
editor/nautical writer Robinson's first novel is based on actual
events. Modeled after the author's real-life uncle, Captain Samuel
Applebye is the calm eye of the storm in Yokohama Bay when the city
is hit by an earthquake and subsequently ravaged by fire. Trapped
pierside, Applebye's ship, the Oriental/Monarch, fully provisioned
for a Pacific crossing, becomes a refuge for the crowd that had
assembled to wave off the departing passengers. Applebye takes on
as many survivors as he can before the firestorm reaches the
waterfront and threatens the ship. Using his formidable
ship-handling skills, the captain muscles the liner away from the
pier without the assistance of tugs, but the maneuver ties the
Oriental Monarch to the freighter astern. Fires continue to
threaten the coupled ships as pipelines spew fuels onto the waters
of the bay and the closest help, a naval destroyer, is hours away.
The captain also has other worries: HIS Swedish mistress, a
miraculous survivor of the quake, is aboard with a compound
fracture; radio communications have broken down; and the creepy
functionary who's on the ship to evaluate the captain's performance
for the owners prior to his promotion, is not pleased with
Applebye's priority to save souls before ships. Playing minor roles
are a tippling young ship's doctor, a rather cowardly officer, the
captain's heroic steward, a fading movie star, and a couple of
orphans. An old-fashioned story of modest heroics told in an
old-fashioned Nevil Shute style that suits it perfectly. (Kirkus
BIll Robinson's first novel-a saga of personal trauma and nautical
peril-is based on actual events during the great Tokyo earthquake
of 1923, when a passenger liner with 3,000 people aboard faced
imminent destruction from the raging elements and was saved by the
captain's courage and skills.
|Country of origin:
||229 x 152 x 25mm (L x W x T)
General & literary fiction >
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