Sunday, 26 January 2020

A new book

A mysterious tale

As a father and son sail their yacht in a coastal area of shallow creeks, islands and sandbanks, they pick up de body of a young man drifting in a half-deflated lifejacket. Resuscitation fails, and after they have called the lifeboat to take the body away, they are ordered to the port of Harlingen to be interviewed by the Border Police. That same evening a mysterious young woman visits their boat, asking after the drowned man. 
A suspect encounter in the fog
In the ensuing weeks they are confronted with a ruthless gang of human traffickers who are active in the area, using an old trawler. The authorities remain deaf  until it is too late and more bodies turn up. 

This is a short introduction to my new novel Het Transport, which is expected to be published in Dutch next October, by Palmslag Publishers, who also published The Batavian. The title of the English translation is The Cargo.

One of the sources of inspiration for the book is a 120-year-old spy story: The Riddle of the Sands, by Erskine Childers, a British-Irish yachtsman and author, who sailed his yacht Asgard to the German Frisian islands and the Baltic during the years prior to the First World War.
Erskine Childers and his wife Molly sailing Asgard in 1910
Childers himself led an eventful life. He served in the British Army during the Boer War and in the Royal Navy during the First World War. He moved to Dublin in 1919 and played an important role in the negotiations on Irish independence. The resulting treaty with the English was disputed within the Irish leadership and led to the Irish civil war of 1922-1923, in which Childers, out of discontent, chose the side of the insurgents. Unfortunately, that cost him his life: he was arrested by the Irish Free State Army and sentenced to death by a military court.

1976 shipping news

Meanwhile I have added a new chapter to my seafaring memories: a six-month voyage in a tramp ship, made in the mv Amstelpark in 1976. I was on board for nearly seven months and the journey took me halfway around the world.
A stormy Atlantic crossing
We left Poland early in January after dislodging the frozen warps from the deck. The next two weeks we were hit by every storm that the winter ocean could fling at us. For some reason, the Captain wanted to follow the slightly shorter Great Circle Route north of Scotland, which regrettably means you will encounter more bad weather and therefore have a longer crossing. West of the Isle of Rockall, just beyond Scotland, we made about 60 miles a day for two days ... sideways!

Read more on my website.

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