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- Publisher: Mandarin
- Format: Paperback | 432 pages
- Publication date: 1 February 1990
- Publication City/Country: London
- ISBN 10: 0749301821
- ISBN 13: 9780749301828
- Edition: New edition
- Edition statement: New edition
Set in the 1850s, this novel follows the adventures of a sea-captain's daughter as she struggles both to learn the truth about her father's death and to claim her inheritance, the brig "Pandora". It is a tale of love, mutiny and life aboard the whaling ships of the last century.
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New England whaling is old territory for historical fans; nonetheless, Druett's first novel charts a fresh course through the subject by exploring the lives of one of those few captains' wives who accompanied their old salts to sea. The story's launched from Mangonui, New Zealand, where 15-year-old Abigail Sherman lives with her father, who serves as American vice-consul and has invested heavily in the island. Born "in latitude fifteen, longitude one hundred" aboard her father's whaling ship, the Pandora, left motherless at age ten, Abby has spirit aplenty, but lacks decorum. So her father sends her back to New Bedford to live with relatives. On the trip round the Horn, she meets Captains Seth Morgan and Jireh Williams, who both reach Massachusetts when she does. There, Abby finds herself in a hotbed of radical feminism, and fancies herself in love with Jireh. But when she learns that her father's been murdered by rebellious Maoris, she cares only about returning to the Pacific to claim the brig her father sold her, as well as an inheritance tied up in a riddle her father sent her just before his death. She connives her way across Panama, running into her father's old partner, Broddy McGhie, and finally offers herself as wife to Seth Morgan. Together they untangle papa Sherman's riddle and track down the villain who really killed her father and stole the Pandora. Lots of intriguing nautical detail and engaging characters, though the plot bogs down around about Valparaiso. Aside from that, though, an entertaining frigate of a book. (Kirkus Reviews)