24 February 2009

Book Review: The Rope Eater by Ben Jones

This is proof that even though the world operates with control and chaos, it still has a scintilla of normalcy to it. So when it comes to the books that I read, I get good books, and I get bad books as well. And since the last book I read was a very good book, perhaps there are high chances that this next book that I read would be a bad one.

And indeed, it was a not-so-good book.

The Rope Eater is a novel by Ben Jones, which is basically an adventure travel novel. This is about a military deserter, who is recruited to go to an expedition, on a ship, that would sail for the Arctic starting from New England, in the middle of winter. It chronicles the different adventures that the men faced, and how they were sailing, with the intent of finding a tropical archipelago in the middle of the Arctic circle.

I brought this book with me while I was flying to San Francisco, and perhaps, due to the fact that I wanted something to while away my time, I went ahead and read the first hundred pages on the plane. Well, it started great, then it turned good, then it turned okay, and finally, it turned bad. Let me tell you why i think so.

I suppose the good adventure novel is one in which there are ups and downs in the story: there would be enemies to battle against, strange conditions to deal with, and so on, but the group more or less still overcomes these and continue. However, with this one, it seemed, and yes, it turned out that until the end, it is just a pathetic exercise in elimination and endurance. You kill one man at a time, you inflict the men with strange diseases one at a time, you chop off the hands and feet of the men due to gangrene one at a time, until at the very end of the novel, all that remains is one single person: the narrator. Now you wonder whether the narrator would survive to tell you the story, and in some miraculous loop-hole at the very end, he does.

It was a test in endurance reading this book. Not recommendable. Although on a scale of 5, I give it a 2, since it was definitely not boring. Plenty of icy situations to imagine about. Or maybe that is just because I live in Buffalo.

See my other book reviews here.



(Ambasada României, from my Embassy Row Series)

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