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A complicated historical mystery based on a ship sailing from the Dutch East Indies to Amsterdam in the 17th century. Murder and mayhem breaks out when the crew and passengers become convinced the voyage is cursed and carrying the devil in the guise of "old tom". An engaging read if not somewhat over complicated with some implausible twists towards the end.
The Devil and the Dark Water is an adventure, a mystery, a supernatural tale, and a historical thriller! When I picked this up, I really was expecting a historical mystery set on a ship. What I got was so much more. This was an exciting and compelling read. I loved the setting on the ship and Arent and Sara were two sleuth's that I kept rooting for. This is the perfect read for those enjoy more atmospheric reads and for those who don't mind a bit of the supernatural.
Just read the comments.....book finished. Thanks for the spoiler.
Returned unread Feb 1st
In 1634, the Saardam sets sail from Batavia, India for Amsterdam, but even before leaving port a concerning event takes place. The threat against everyone onboard soon becomes real, and as the bodies mount, and the symbols of Old Tom spread, it looks more and more like a voyage of the damned. Trying to prevent a catastrophe are Arent and Sara, two passengers who will have to solve the case without the help of the jailed Sammy Pips. Can the mystery be solved without the detective figure, Arent isn't too confident. Despite assisting Pips on many adventures, past failures, and familial ties hold him back. Sara, on the other hand, is restricted more by social boundaries and her overbearing husband. Both quickly team up, and from shared respect, begin to develop feelings for the other.
Each of the characters has some role in the mystery. As with classic setups, most of them have motives, or suspicious circumstances. The story is primarily told from the point of view of either Arent or Sara, so unravelling these agendas becomes the key. However, the Saardam is a powderkeg of superstition, secrets, rigid hierarchies, and hatred for past wrongs. As this tension mounts, it becomes more difficult for the protagonists to resolve the issues.
While not as complex as his previous work, Turton has crafted another thrilling mystery that will keep you guessing, ending in a conclusion that once again stands out from other mystery novels. His characters continue to be a strength, and this time in particular, his portrayal of female characters during an era of strict gender roles should be noted. Without the clever, cooperative, and determined actions of those like Sara, Lia, and Creesjie Jens, no one would have survived.
The Devil and the Dark Water wears its devilry on its sleeve, casting shadows every which way. Is their a devil aboard the Saardam, most certainly, and that's why this book is another must read for mystery fans.
A historical mystery which kept me guessing. But as the author warns, he gathered the facts and threw out what didnt fit with his story. Si maybe imaginative history? I loved the characters and the sherlock holmes vibe with a woman being a Sherlock herself. Would recommend
I love a good adventure story and this did the trick for me. It was perhaps a bit longer than it needed to be, but that is a minor complaint. It is a book of action and mystery with the occasional sprinkle of creepy.
I put this book down and stepped onto solid ground once again. Reading this new release from Stuart Turton is like racing through the high seas on a merchant vessel. It is 1634 and a fleet of seven ships set sail from Batavia bound for Amsterdam. Before they even leave the harbor there are warnings to abandon the voyage and tragedy occurs shaking the passengers to the core. That first night at sea there is an eighth lantern. . . A mark haunts them and appears on the mainsail, in a scar, written in blood; it is all around. Containing elements of Agatha Christie, Sherlock & Watson, and Pirates of the Caribbean; this intricately plotted novel will have a wide appeal. Set aside some time to read this high seas adventure with your favorite fall beverage. You may want to leave the lights on, though. Includes a book group discussion questions and an interview with the author.
Were to even start... I read and liked Stuart Turton's previous novel "The 7 1/2 Death of Evelyn Hardcastle" and was excited to read his latest. Like his first book, this one is historical fiction and has deep twists and turns. It leaves a haunting, almost paranormal feeling as you navigate the chapters. So atmospheric and I really sunk deep into the characters and settings at the start of the book.
Then, it all seemed to change. Characters I grew to like and thought I understood made decisions that seemed out of character. It's hard to go into detail without giving too much of this plot away. It just left me confused and weirdly angry that so much reading was character growth only for everything I read to be thrown out the window.
I have massive respect for Turton because he must have done massive amounts of research to understand and write about the inner workings of a ship in the 1600s. He did a wonderful job setting scenes and explaining character roles. What he failed to do in this book, that I feel he mastered in the previous novel, was making sure the characters' dialog felt authentic to the historical setting. This was just downright odd and uncomfortable to read at times.
All in all, this was a 2.5 star read for me. I was surprised to really like the setting ( a ship in the 1600s) and there were characters I really enjoyed reading about. For as long as this book is, I am surprised I finished it so fast, though I'm not sure if I read out of loving it or just wishing it would end.
Thanks to Netgalley and Sourcebooks Landmark for allowing me the eARC to read and give my honest review.
If you are a fan of the author or love historical fiction add this to your TBR list and pre-order now! This is set to be released here in the U.S. on October 6, 2020.