book review: Drake’s Bay

Title: Drake’s Bay
Author: T.A. Roberts
ISBN: 978-1579621971
Hardcover: 176 pages
Publisher: Permanent Press (April 1, 2010)
Category: mystery/thriller
Review source: publisher
Rating: 4/5

It was all so unlike my normal life program: ancient manuscripts, secrets, Nazi submarines, darkly blonde, beautiful women, scones. Although I was uncomfortable with whatever Brian, let alone Kay, was up to, it was all so damned intriguing.

In Drake’s Bay, T.A. Roberts crafts a thriller steeped in academia and history. Roberts pulls together Sir Francis Drake, California history, and boating in a completely innovative way. Even if the reader knows little about any of these subjects, Drake’s Bay seduces with its impeccable visual and historical details. When San Francisco State professor Ethan Storey takes on an outside project: to archive the library collection for a wealthy family, power-plays and danger follow.

Somewhere amidst all these old books might be Sir Francis Drake’s logbooks of his world voyage from 1577-1580, a huge find for historians and also there’s a brass plate from the voyage of infinite monetary worth for others [particularly two dueling families]. Other historians have cataloged the collection before Ethan and no one has found the true bounty. The logbooks may not even be among the hundreds of books that Ethan finds himself amidst for several days a week. However, the suspicion that the logbooks are out there and connected to these antiques seems likely. Ethan’s girlfriend Kay, an attorney, represents the Ballantine family who has long held an interest in finding the real brass plate [a fake currently exists] and log books.

This mystery is far from antiquated and dusty, there’s murder, chases, and cutthroat deals. When I first received the book and saw that it was about Sir Francis Drake and boating and other seemingly male interests, I wasn’t sure it would be my type of read. I don’t gravitate to that many thrillers even if I like to mix up my reading. Drake’s Bay remains smart, challenging, and provocative from beginning to end. I know my stepfather, a former Navy officer in Vietnam, should really enjoy this one. Drake’s Bay is anything from the usual on the run thriller: an old wooden schooner, Amsterdam, a father-son relationship, moneyed families, competitive universities and scholars all play a role in this deceptively cunning thriller.

Buy Drake’s Bay

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