Two Fathoms Down is the story of the wreck of the French brig-of-war 'Arabelle' of Napoleon's day, which lay two fathoms below the sand off the isle of Ameland for two centuries. A young man and his girlfriend, a descendant of the only survivor of the disaster, find enigmatic documents in the legacy of her deceased grandmother. The personal logbook of a soldier from Napoleon's army gives them a clue to the position of the wreck. Shortly after its discovery the valuable cargo in the wreck is pillaged by ruthless salvage hunters who leave a trail of violence behind. A historical novel that culminates in a contemporary thriller. The wreck and family ties are wrought into a surprising link over the centuries.
An extract of the English translation of the manuscript can be downloaded from my website.
Large order for De Batavier (The Batavian)
While outside the summer is still continuing in full glory, my publisher (Palmslag) called me with the joyful news that NBD Biblion, the main purchasing organization of the public libraries in the Netherlands, has placed a large order for De Batavier. As a result, about 85% of the first edition of the book now has been sold inside five months. Probable reason for the order was a wonderful review by one of the Biblion reviewers, who describes the book as 'A warm, accessible novel about friendship and love in a chaotic world (...) written fluently and clearly, a beautiful characterisation.
Many thanks to the reviewer and NBD Biblion for this present, which every author must look forward to!
|Dutch tekst of the review (click to enlarge)|
Last Saturday I held my presentation about Seafaring, sailing and writing in the Public Library in Katwijk. The timing proved to be less than ideal: the warm beach weather and a large outdoor festival in Katwijk kept the visitors away. Nevertheless, I gave my presentation to a small group, and I was happy to welcome a namesake who appears to be descended from the same 17th century ancestors as myself!
For the presentation I brought different attributes to illustrate the story: a stowage plan, navigation tools and life jackets. Here are a few photos taken by my agent Hanneke Tinor-Centi:
|reading a paragraph from The Batavian|
|Studying a 1973 stowage plan of a general cargo ship|
Finally, a few other reviews. Previously I wrote about the nice reviews of the Batavier on Hebban.nl. Dick van der Veen writes "Shocking wave movements in the life of a sailor", and Erik Barth writes "One Batavian, two voyages."
Positive reviews are pleasant for an author, they and a large number of satisfied readers are the icing on the cake. One such review came from fellow author Arthur Eijs, known for 'Dansen in het stof' (Dancing in the Dust, 2015) and recently 'Beauchamps', both published by Palmslag. Maurice van Dijk of Palmslag publishers suggested reading and reviewing each other's books. So a book exchange resulted.
I was particularly impressed by Beauchamps. Few books are able to evoke such emotion in the reader as Beauchamps, a shocking and moving contemporary story about two people who each struggle with a terrible secret. I couldn’t put it down till I read the end. Praise to Arthur Eijs for his work!
Arthur in turn writes about De Batavier:
'The Batavian' is a novel like a sailboat with full-bellied sails, full of action and written at a great pace. You travel along and become involved in the experiences of the main character and in the choices which he makes.Many thanks, Arthur!
Finally a review on the website readalicious.nl, in which reviewer and author Iris writes:
... Leila gives the stream of refugees a human face, so that De Batavier suddenly becomes more than the story of Mark. It is the small gestures Mark starts with: a hot meal, buying a football for the children, a friendly conversation. But in the second part of the book, which takes place a few years later, the help that Mark offers takes on a different scale. He goes to work as a consultant to a Greek-Turkish rescue service ....Message from a reader about The Batavian
As a last piece of news I received an e-mail from a reader, who recently visited Kaş and Kastellorizo (Meis).
He wrote the following:
... Compared to four years ago, when I first visited Kaş, the (renewed) tensions between Turkey and Greece were noticeable again. In addition to the Greek navy ship in the port of Meis, Turkish navy ships also came to patrol on a daily basis and I even saw a Turkish submarine lying intimidating before the port of Meis for almost half an hour. (...) Partly as a result of this kind of experience, I realized for the first time that the rustic and peaceful Kaş and Meis could turn into a war zone within an hour, when one of the two parties was confronted with a trigger-happy commander. It was striking to read back exactly the same 'fantasy' in the book. I wanted to make you part of this wonderful experience and thank you for the beautiful and inspiring book ....Many thanks to this reader also (name withheld for privacy reasons).