A River in Borneo
A Tale of the East Indies
by Captain Richard Woodman
This title was previously available on NetGalley and is now archived.
Pub Date 15 Oct 2021 | Archive Date 22 Oct 2021
Rowman & Littlefield, McBooks Press
It is the summer of 1964 during the Far Eastern war euphemistically called ‘Confrontation’. A British Royal Marine patrol has orders to penetrate Indonesian Borneo to locate a river thought by Allied intelligence to be being used by the Indonesians to build up supplies before launching a major attack on Sarawak. Charged with this mission, Lieutenant Charles Kirton makes a most extraordinary discovery amid the dense mangrove swamps bordering river in Borneo. Not only does this discovery enable Kirton to fulfil his mission but it is quite coincidentally intensely personal and unpleasantly macabre. From this highly-charged opening sequence, the story flashes back a century to 1867, revealing the truth behind this strange event, when young Henry Kirton, Second Officer of the auxiliary steam-ship River Tay, is dumped ashore in Singapore, badly injured by a fall in the rigging of his ship.
Captain Richard Martin Woodman, an English novelist and naval historian, retired in 1997 from a thirty-seven-year maritime career to write full time. The author of fourteen Nathaniel Drinkwater novels, two shorter series and several standalone novels, he also has written a range of factual books about the eighteenth century and World War II history.
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 2 members
I have read quite a few Richard Woodman books, both fiction, including his fourteen Nathaniel Drinkwater books, and non-fiction, including The Sea Warriors. A River in Borneo betrays his experience as a novelist, his knowledge as a master mariner, and the research of a historian. It is a curiously old fashioned book with more than a hint of Joseph Conrad, tracing the path of a young British merchant officer from a crippling accident to a hopeful respite to inevitable doom. The language is elegant and the book is highly readable. I did not find the framing scenes, set in the 1960’s and later, addictive and somewhat unlikely and melodramatic. That said, the book is well worth reading. Recommended. Thanks to NatGalley and the publisher for a copy in exchange for ab honest review..