Cover Image: The Devil and the Dark Water

The Devil and the Dark Water

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Member Reviews

"The beautiful thing about fear this large is that nobody will look beyond it."

"He said the past was poisoned ground and those who lingered there died."


Ok, so I'll admit, I wasn't the biggest Evelyn Hardcastle, the idea was amazing but the characters were all so reprehensible they made the chapters in their points of view hard to read for me. But, I always love books set on the high seas and was intrigued by the idea of a book set in the heyday of the spice trade, so I requested The Devil and the Dark Water. I am so glad I did. This one is told in a slightly more straightforward manner and there are many more identifiable characters.

The story starts off as the characters are boarding a ship for an 8 month journey and they get an omen that they are doomed. Fortunately, on the ship is one of the world's best detectives. Unfortunately, he is in manacles accused of a crime and unable to do much to help figure out just what evil is ravishing the ship. Enter his bodyguard and best friend, who is one of the most likeable characters I've ever read, he bands together with the governor's wife, another great character, to try to stop the curses from coming to fruition. The story starts with a huge cast of characters and it takes a little while to know them and even longer to know who's on the side of good and who is on the side of evil. There is a ton of action and suspense and the reveals along the way were all fabulously done. The last quarter of the book goes a mile a minute and everything is perfectly revealed and all the loose ends are masterfully tied.

Thanks to Netgalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.

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Action packed on the high seas. It was difficult for me in the beginning to keep track of the main characters but it was easier to understand as I kept reading. A murder to solve with more twists and turns than one can think of. It all comes out in the end after the paranoia, shipwreck and intrigue.
Highly recommend if you love a great mystery..

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I could not finish this title so I am going to DNF it. I will not provide a review negatively bashing the book on any of my outlets. The dialogue and setting just was not for me.

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I read Stuart Turton’s debut novel The Seven(1/2) Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle soon after its release, and I absolutely loved it. When I heard about The Devil and the Dark Water, of course I had to get my hands on it, and I was lucky enough to have my wish granted on NetGalley! I love a good story set at sea, so of course I was extremely excited to read this, and I wasn’t disappointed.

This is one of those stories that you really need to go in to with as little information as possible to appreciate it fully, so I’m actually going to completely avoid talking about the plot, and keep this review relatively short and sweet.

The book has a very interesting start, which instantly hooks you in to the story, and from that moment onwards the action continues, and gets increasingly more intense and exciting. I was desperate to see what would happen next.

All of the characters are well developed, and I had a few favourites in particular. I instantly liked Sara, because she doesn’t let her noble status stand in the way of her getting stuck in, or doing what is right. She’s feisty, fierce, but also loyal, and caring. Her character really brought so much to the story. I also liked Arent, who is really a gentle giant, but he’s strong, and dangerous when he needs to be. He will always stick by the people he cares about, and he’s just generally a great character.

There was so such a dark tone to the book, and the incidents on the ship really did seem like they could be the work of a devil. When you thought things couldn’t get any worse, you were truly shocked with what came next. I loved the feel of the story, and the way it has been written is brilliant.

This story kept me guessing the whole way through, and there was no way I could have expected that ending! It was a great way to end the story, and ties it up nicely, leaving no questions unanswered.

Despite the fact that it was so different from The Seven(1/2) Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle, The Devil and the Dark Water was thrilling from start to finish, full of twists, and a thoroughly enjoyable read.

A huge thank you to NetGalley and Sourcebooks Landmarks for my copy of the book, in exchange for an honest review.

I give The Devil and the Dark Water a 4 star rating!

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4.5 stars

The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle was my favourite book of 2018 and I became an instant fan of Stuart Turton. The Devil and The Dark Water is his second book and I can safely say that I will probably read anything this author publishes.

The Devil and The Dark Water takes place in 1634, a time period where colonialism and superstition, especially about witchcraft, thrived. Samuel Pipps is a detective accused of being a traitor and he's being shipped as a prisoner from Batavia to Amsterdam. He's being accompanied by his friend, Lieutenant Arent Hayes, who is the Watson to his Holmes. But before the ship sets sail, a mysterious leper appears and announces that the ship is under threat by a devil. Before they can question the leper, the man bursts into flames and dies a brutal death. The ship sets sail, but now the passengers and crew are conscious of the fact that a devil in disguise is walking among them.

The setting is limited to the ship, but that's what makes the story atmospheric. Not once did the setting feel static; that's how interesting the mystery is. The story itself is a bit of a slow burn, but the author does a great job building the tension on the ship as well as the creepiness of the atmosphere. At a certain point in the story, I began having doubts about the direction of the plot. But luckily, it worked out really well in the end. I managed to solve some of the mysteries, but there were still some pretty twisty revelations that shocked me.

I was also pleasantly surprised by how feminist and anti-colonialist this book ended up being. The story references the Banda massacre multiple times and the author makes some great social commentaries on the evils of colonialism and capitalism. The time period is a bit familiar to me because it takes place a couple of years before the Dutch settled in Mauritius. But that's the only bit of Dutch history I know about, so I actually learned some new stuff from this book.

Stuart Turton has only published 2 books so far and both of them are winners for me. I don't think this author can write ordinary books. It's not in him lol. He writes the craziest shit and I am here for it!!

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In the year 1634, a diverse cast of characters are boarding the ship The Saardam for passage from Batavia to Amsterdam. Samuel Pipps, known as the greatest detective in the world, has been arrested and is traveling on the ship as a prisoner accompanied by his bodyguard Arent Hayes. The ship hasn't even left the dock when the first murder happens. The bodies continue to pile up as the ship begins what will be an eight month voyage. Mysterious symbols appear on the ship, making it appear that a demon is on board and behind the murders. Arent must solve the mystery before the ship is destroyed. Is it the demon Old Tom, the mysterious leper that may or may not be on board, or any of a number of the crew or passengers?

I LOVED the 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle and I have been anxiously awaiting Stuart Turton's new novel. It was worth the wait. While this book did not blow me away the way that the first novel did, it is still undeniably a great read. The motley collection of characters are well-drawn and the historical naval setting well-researched. The mystery kept me enthralled and I did not anticipate the solution. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of good mysteries in general or historical naval fiction.

Thank you to NetGalley and the Publisher for the arc of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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Thank you to NetGalley and Sourcebooks Landmark for the ARC of The Devil and the Dark Water by Stuart Turton. I loved The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle and couldn’t wait to read his latest thriller.

A leper
A curse
A demon
A great ship
A detective

In 1634, Samuel Pipps, a great detective, is being transported to Amsterdam as a prisoner aboard the Saardam. When strange things begin to happen and people turn up murdered on the ship, Pipp’s protector and protege, Arent, must quickly solve the mystery of Old Tom. Is he real or a demon? Will the crew and passengers survive the voyage?

This book can be described as Sherlock Holmes meets The Pirates of the Carribean. It is action packed and full of plot twists. Turton’s mysteries are very clever, and this one is no exception. He keeps the reader guessing all the way to the very end. It’s the type of reveal that you need to re-read many times in order to fully grasp all of the levels of trickery and subterfuge. My one issue is that there are many characters in this story that at times are difficult to keep straight. Even so, I highly recommend it to those who enjoy mysteries and thrillers.

4/5 stars

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Stuart Turton wrote another great book for mystery lovers and I am so happy that I got this ARC! I also preordered the exclusive edition from Forbidden Planet because of how much I was enjoying this novel and Turton's writing.

From the very beginning I was drawn in with the setting and theme of the story being a historical fiction mystery novel on a ship. There was so many aspects of this story that stood out to me and continued to drive me forward especially the characters. The characters I was instantly drawn to and more curious about their backstory and why they were all on the ship!

I highly recommend this story to lovers of mysteries.

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Have you ever read a brilliant classic mystery like those by Agatha Christie and thought that it is a shame that no one writes plots as clever and detailed as her anymore? If you have bemoaned the predictability and lack of suspense in modern mysteries, then pick this one up and prepare to be wholly satisfied. This was so smart that it was completely unpredictable and so suspenseful that it had me reading until I literally dropped my e-reader on my face each night.

The plot was complex and intricate, and while I often figure many aspects of mysteries out before the ending this one had me baffled. I truly figured little out before it was revealed. I was shocked by the two big reveals and I found the entire story to be ingenious. When all was disclosed it made perfect sense, but I never would have guessed. There were so many threads and each character had their own secrets. It was a real feat to tie them all together without a dropped thread or a plot hole.

While there was a “devil” stalking the ship and many creepy things happening I thought the scariest part was just the reality of being on a wooden ship on the largely unknown ocean at this point in history. It was such a perilous journey under the best of conditions, and this was obviously not the best conditions. From the conflicts between the passengers and the crew to the dire curse revealed before the ship sets sail, I can’t imagine the bravery, or more typically the greed, it took to undertake such a dangerous journey. Everything that can go wrong does and I don’t think it will be a spoiler to say that the ship is caught in a terrible storm. For me, that section of the story was the most terrifying. I would face a devil any day rather than face a storm in one of those ships! Throwing a murderer or potentially supernatural danger on the ship in addition to these conditions added an insane amount of tension and you could not have pried this book out of my hands for love or money

My stomach was in knots and my head hurt from trying to figure the out the twists, at which I failed miserably, but I enjoyed this book immensely. It was truly a joy to be utterly baffled and confounded at every turn. It isn’t often that a mystery completely out-wits me but this one succeeded. It also had the added benefit of a bit of schadenfreude because no matter how miserable the world is right now, at least we are not on that awful sea journey!

Thank you to Sourcebooks Landmark for providing an Electronic Advance Reader Copy via NetGalley for review.

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"The Devil and the Dark Water" by Stuart Turton, Sourcebooks Landmark, 480 pages, Oct. 6, 2020.

It is 1634. Samuel Pipps, the world's greatest detective, is being transported to Amsterdam to be executed for a crime that he may, or may not, have committed.

Arent Hayes, his friend and bodyguard, is traveling with him. Arent is determined to prove Samuel innocent. The ship is the Saardam, a merchant vessel returning from the East Indies to Amsterdam. The journey takes eight months.

Governor General Jan Haan is on board, along with his wife, Sara Wessel, a gifted healer, and their daughter, Lia, 13. Haan abuses his wife. Creesjie Jens, Haan's mistress, is also a passenger. Her husband, a famous witch finder, was murdered.

Before they set sail, a leper warns them that his master, the devil called Old Tom, is on the ship and they won't make it to Amsterdam. The man then bursts in to flames. Haan refuses to move to another ship in the convoy.

One of the ship's sails has an odd mark that is the same as a scar on Arent's wrist. Someone kills livestock. Then a ghost ship appears. Three passengers are marked for death, including Samuel. Could a demon be responsible?

"The Devil and the Dark Water" is intricate, gripping and mind-bending. It's as if Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson were called to solve a locked room mystery involving the Pirates of the Caribbean, except Holmes is locked up for most of the book and Watson is forced to do the detective work.

Stuart Turton writes intelligent, complex novels. The characters are superb. The story is vivid and vibrantly alive. This is hard to put down and you won't see the ending coming. Turton is also the author of "The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle," one of my favorite books of last year.

In accordance with FTC guidelines, the advance reader's edition of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley and Edelweiss in exchange for a review.

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“Everybody thinks sailing is about the wind and waves. It ain’t. Sailing’s about the crew, which means it’s about superstition and hate.”

The Story: 1634 – Samuel Pipps, a famous detective and skilled alchemist, is being transported in shackles to Amsterdam to stand trial for a crime he was accused of. Accompanying him is his protégé, Lieutenant Arent Hayes. Also boarding the Saardam ship, are Governor General Hann, his wife Sara Wessel and their daughter Lia.

As the ship is about to set sail from Batavia to Amsterdam, a leper without tongue appears, shouting curse that everyone in the ship will die. Then he goes up in flames.

Soon after, strange things begin to occur in the ship. Strange symbols are found on the sails, the dead leper is seen wandering in the ship, livestock is slaughtered, and things took a turn for the worse when it is said a devil named “Old Tom” is haunting them in the ship.

Since Sammy Pipps is in prison, it is now up to Arent to solve this mystery. He seeks the help of Sara and together they need to quickly figure out all this, as time is running out.

My thoughts: I enjoyed Turton’s debut novel The 7 ½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle so much, and was over the moon when I received a copy of his latest book! Thank you SOURCEBOOKS Landmark, author Stuart Turton and NetGalley for this gifted review copy in exchange for an honest review.

Oh boy, The Devil and The Dark Water is one wild ride! It did not disappoint. It is nothing like his debut novel except for how convoluted the plot is. I loved it!

I am definitely getting the Sherlock and Watson (except we see more Watson here) and Agatha Christie vibes in this story. The plot is solid and super twisty. The entire time one would wonder whether it is the workings of the devil or man with malicious intent?

I liked that this story has a cast of intriguing characters which adds so much pizzazz to the story. Naturally, I liked our protagonists – Sammy, and Arent but my favourite is Sara.

The story has a slower pace in the beginning and took me some time to really get invested in it. The introduction of the characters also seems overwhelming as there are a lot of characters with different titles. It was a bit confusing.

But I ended up enjoying this book! It has everything – adventures, mystery, supernatural, murder. The writing is atmospheric, descriptive, and the ending is an unexpected one!

Pub. Date: Oct 6, 2020

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I was so happy to get an advanced copy of this book!! Thank you NetGalley!! WOW!! Stuart Turton did not disappoint with his second book. It was totally different in theme and time, but the same character driven with lots of characters to keep straight!! But once you have the characters set, it is a roller coaster ride. I loved Arent and Sara. I just wanted a little bit more!!

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You had me at “demon.”

Shortest Summary Ever: 1634. A Dutch sailing vessel where investigator Samuel Pipps is being held for a mysterious crime. His friend and “Watson” Arent Hayes is right by his side trying to determine first - how to free Sammy and then second - solve a mystery of demons and witch lore haunting the ship. Omens abound. Secrets in the passageways... and one by one the body count increases...

Thoughts: I’m a wee bit into the 1600s. The age of colonization and the effect on the world. A time of grand ocean journeys. Oh - and witchcraft. Yeah it’s really about the witchcraft (she’s a witch!!! She’s a witch Burn her!! - Monty Python). This book did something that doesn’t happen often - it surprised me. I’m not a spoiler maker but I only saw PART of the end coming... the rest was a blindside. (Score!)

I was absolutely riveted by the first 3/4 of the book. So many vendettas and scores to settle, the reader peels the layers of the mystery one by one. The last 1/4 seemed a bit smooshed. Jumbled. Like so many finale ideas throw. together, but it was still agreeable and aptly written and made me do some double takes. Very entertaining, fast read.

All my reviews available at around time of publication.

Genre: Historical Fiction Mystery

Recommend to: 7 out of 10 on the gore side - not terrible but not cozy.

Not recommended to: If you’re not into a pretty convoluted twist and turn.

Thank you to the author, NetGalley and Sourcebooks Landmark for my advanced copy in exchange for my always-honest review.

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A complex puzzle sprinkled with historical atmosphere, fabulous characters and an eerie questioning of what is real.

This stunning book takes us on a tour of an East India Trading Company ship in 1634 that has been boarded by thieves, nobles, murderers, and perhaps a demon or two? A notable Sherlock-type, Sammy Pipps has been taken prisoner by a vile Governor General who is sailing with his family to Amsterdam. A leper curses the ship upon departure and from there a huge cast of characters find themselves racing to solve a mystery and defeat a demon presence onboard before everyone perishes.

After 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle, Stuart Turton was added to my all time favorite authors list and this second novel did NOT disappoint! Keep in mind, this is very different from "Evelyn," but the most lovable qualities are the same - a giant cast of characters that are complex, flawed, lovable and described in beautiful detail and a mind-bending puzzle mystery you'll never be able to work out yourself. The historical aspect and the ship atmosphere made for a unique read, and I can't go without mentioning and applauding how well Turton wrote females in this book. The kickass heroine, Sara, and the band of women around her were so much fun to read and root for. There’s so much going on in this book it’s impossible to put it all into words but just BRAVO. I will be devouring his books forever and always.

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The ending made up for the rest of the book.

Arent is escorting his friend to Amsterdam for his friend's execution. As they are boarding the ship, a demonic warning to given and demonic symbols are found on the ship. Arent has to investigate to see if this is truly supernatural.

I wasn't looking forward to reading this one because stories that involve the devil or Sherlock Holmes archetypes (which his friend is) aren't interesting to me. But I still gave this book a chance because of the author and the historical setting. I don't really regret it. The characters are very well developed. Even though Amsterdam is never seen, it is felt as more of a threat then the devil.

The problem is the pacing. The middle, which there is a lot of, seemed to drag. There were parts when it seemed as though the characters were going in circles. The ending is when things pick up. The conclusion is so wonderful that if there is a sequel, I would read it.

This review is based on an advanced reading copy provided through Netgalley for an honest review.

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I received an ARC of this book to read through NetGalley. All opinions are my own. The Devil and the Dark water is the second book by Stuart Turton. I asked to read this book because I was curious as to whether he could top his first book, the 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle, which I enjoyed immensely. The short answer is yes, he can. This story takes place in 1634 aboard the Saardam, an Indiamen galleon owned by the United East India Company travelling from Batavia to Amsterdam carrying a cargo of mace, pepper, spices, silks and treasure along with Governor General Jan Haan, his wife Sara Wessel, daughter Lia Jan, his mistress Creejie Jens and her sons, as well as prisoner Samuel Pipps a Sherlock Holmes type solver of mysteries and his bodyguard and assistant Arent Hayes. The voyage is cursed even before they leave port, and with Pipps imprisoned, Arent and Sara race to find Old Tom, the bodies pile up while devils stalk the ship, and we learn that the passengers and crew all have links that go back many years. As well the author pulls no punches when describing the heinousness perpetuated by colonization.
This was a story kept me guessing at its twists and turns and awake long into the night, pondering solutions to the mystery. I highly recommend this book. Publishing Date: October 6, 2020. #TheDevilAndTheDarkWater #StuartTurton #SourcebooksLandmark #MysteriesandThrillers #bookstagram #bookstagrammer

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"Courage isn't an absence of fear. It's the light we find when fear is all there is."

I am disappointed.
In this book. In myself for not DNF'ing it. In the unfulfilled potential this story had. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

The Devil and the Dark Water is Stuart Turton's sophomore novel set in 1634 almost entirely on a merchant ship 'saardam'. The world's greatest detective Samuel Pipps and his bodyguard Arent Hayes are being taken from Batavia (present day Indonesia) to Amsterdam. Pipps has been imprisoned in the ship for crimes Arent does not know, but he is determined to prove his friend innocent. But things are not always what they seem in the Saardam, and a series of mysterious and bloody events have been set into action after a leper bursts into flames after seemingly placing a curse upon the ship. Is it the work of the devil, Old Tom, or simply the worst of humanity?

I haven't read Evelyn Hardcastle, but the idea of seemed so interesting and the reviews mostly positive that all I needed to see was Turton's name attached to this and I requested it. I maintain my interest in that book even after this one because the premise sounds so much more interesting to me.
That being said, the idea behind this book also seemed like something I would like. I was so excited to feel the Sherlockian x Pirates of the Caribbean vibes I had heard about- but it ultimately fell flat for me.

"Questions are swords and answers are shields."

From some of the reviews of Evelyn Hardcastle, I was expecting to be confused with what was happening in this book but my main problem was unexpectedly being bored. It was so slow. The pacing felt off for a good chunk of this book and it felt like I was wading through mud trying to get to the end. In my opinion, it could have been a good 100 pages shorter. I read an arc, so this may well be tidied in the finished copy but I noticed a few passages saying almost the exact same thing being repeated throughout the book. All this together made it difficult for me to push through the book, but I continued to have hope that it would improve and so decided against DNF'ing it.

While the ending was satisfactory, it didn't make up for the rest of the book and so I definitely regret slogging through over 400 pages to get to it. To be honest, I was seriously considering rating it one star for a time, and the only things that prevented me from doing so were the ending, some quotes and the atmosphere.

"Wealth was a key and poverty was a prison, and they'd been born shackled through no fault of their own. It was senseless and unfair, and mankind could withstand almost anything except unfairness."

This book definitely succeeded in maximising the setting to its upmost potential and it added a layer of atmosphere that I desperately needed in pushing through. The ship was described in a vivid way that made it easy for me to picture it. However, the stagnant and almost claustrophobic feeling of spending the whole book on one ship also contributed to a lack of interesting events and changes in scenery. In addition, while the setting was well developed I didn't feel like the time period was. I could easily picture the ship and its inhabitants, but it didn't feel like they were from the 17th century. Some phrases felt quite modern and I found myself forgetting that this was set almost 400 years ago. Not only did the characters feel unrealistic for the time, but many of them were overly clichéd. I am not sure if that was the author's intention to perhaps make fun of typical mystery tropes and clichés, but it didn't come across like that to me and instead felt like lazy writing.

However, while the modern influences were a bit jarring I did appreciate the addition of a little feminism and subversion of women's roles.

"Strong is strong and weak is weak, and it doesn't matter if you wear breeches or skirts or if you're the latter. Life will hammer you flat"

Overall, take this review with a grain of salt as I have seen many other 5 star ratings and positivity surrounding this book. If you don't mind a slow going mystery and you enjoyed Turton's debut- I would probably still recommend it. Definitely temper your expectations and don't go in thinking of it as a thriller because you will probably be disappointed like me.

Thank you to Sourcebooks Landmark for this ARC

Release Date: 6 October 2020

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I loved The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle, so I was really excited to get my hands on this ARC! However, something about it didn't jive with me and it was a struggle to get through. The pacing felt very slow and the character introduction was overwhelming, but even when the book started to get more interesting, I was unable to get invested in the story. Wish I could've loved it like many other reviewers, but this just wasn't my cup of tea.

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Loved this book - it’s my newest staff pick! I loved every twist and turn of the mystery of Old Tom.

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This is big twisty novel that may occasionally confound you but will keep you reading. It's 1634 and the East India company ship Saardem is about to set sail from Batavia back to Amsterdam when a leper appears on top of a pile and curses the operation. Arent, bodyguard to Samuel Pipps who is in manacles, finds himself deeply entwined in determining what the leper meant, who old Old Tom, and what mysterious cargo the ship is carrying. Arent has secrets (no spoilers from me), as does the Governor General. And so do others. Sara, the Governor General's wife and her daughter Lia are incredibly intrepid and key players. There are, btw, lot of characters so you'll want to pay attention to who's who (or turn back to the handy list at the beginning). Turton does a great job in capturing the fear, the smells, and so on on the ship, including the close quarters. This veers from mystery to ghost story to horror to mystery again and you, like me, will want answers. Thanks to netgalley for the ARC. An unusual read but a worthy one.

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