Smoke Island

Smoke Island❮Reading❯ ➹ Smoke Island Author Antony Trew – Oaklandjobs.co.uk When a flight from Mauritius to Perth crash lands into the sea the chances of survival are slim But stranded on a little rescue dinghy in the middle of the vast ocean there are eight passengers and on When a flight from Mauritius to Perth crash lands into the sea the chances of survival are slim But stranded on a little rescue dinghy in the middle of the vast ocean there are eight passengers and one crew member who have survived the deadly incident Huddled together in unwanted intimacy and fearful danger the survivors include an African MP a Transvaal farmer an embittered Englishman from Kenya a man hell bent on personal advantage a London clerk and a rich industrialist now far from the security and splendour of his City boardroom There are women in the dinghy too A plain and man hungry university lecturer; a young air hostess; and a Mauritian woman of great beauty Finding themselves in a life or death situation the group must fight to survive as they are washed ashore on a coral island As the weeks turn to months their chances of rescue grow slimmer The tantalising smoke spirals on the horizon seem to promise the chance of rescue yet they are almost as distant and elusive as the world of civilisation In a world far removed from anything they have ever known these strangers must learn to survive in a harsh environment with people they hardly know who can turn on them at any moment A thrilling tense novel of survival and human relationships from a bestselling author Exciting The Daily Telegraph Antony Trew had three careers sailor business executive writer The first was the sea Returning to it during World War II he served with the South African and Royal Navies in the South Atlantic the Mediterranean and the Western Approaches where he commanded the escort destroyer HMS Walker principally employed on Russian convoys He was awarded the DSC After the war he resumed his work with the Automobile Association of South Africa of which he was Director General and in his spare time wrote Two Hours to Darkness; published by Collins in it was an immediate bestseller — over copies printed in languages On the strength of it he retired early and embarked on a third and highly successful career as a writer. I’ve recently read and enjoyed Trew’s short story collection so when I found this novel as a freebie it was an easy choice Turns out Trew does just as good in long form as it does in short And this is a much earlier effort too Trew was a South African naval officer who later became a writer His stories very much reflect both his citizenship and service career and also the time in which they were written This one his second novel is from 1964 so in fact it predates the short stories I’ve read by nearly three decades and so it was interesting to observe and contemplates the similarities and differences The general style though remains recognizably much the same the stories read like adventures of bygone days but not especially dated or at least not dated in a way that makes them difficult to relate to This is especially noticeable here because survival stories usually see people at their very worst or best Once the pretense of polite societal norms is taken away what’s left is pure nature and instincts and basic drives So this is essentially Lost minus supernatural elements and general mindfckery A plane crashes and a small group of survivors makes it onto a small deserted island albeit unlike Lost they first must survive the sea around them Once on the island they must figure out a way to overcome their considerable difference strongly informed by the socioeconomic gender and race politics of the time to band together and find their way out Despite being around for 55 years this book somehow only has two reviews on Goodreads both readers finding the characters unlikeable Actually that wasn’t the case for me I found some to be likeable and most to be interesting and certainly engaging Of course survival stories are engaging by nature but that wasn’t it or wasn’t it alone there were genuinely fascinating interpersonal dynamics at play and it made for a thoroughly compelling read Something about Trew’s storytelling just really works for me especially in the right mood Very enjoyable survival adventure tale Recommended An aircraft crashes into the ocean and a small group of survivors find themselves adrift on a lifeboat Washed up ashore on a deserted island they must learn to survive Survival is not just about finding food and water but existing together in a complicated group dynamic They are all from very different backgrounds and their characters offer some extremes of society They are serious issues of racism and sexism religion politics and personality flaws In truthfulness most of the characters were not likeable but throwing together such extreme outlying personalities certainly adds to the story It was a drama about conflicting personalities than a true survival adventure although there are some aspects of survival techniues and moments of fast paced action are interspersed with drama Character development is often offered in the form of flashbacks although I found the story did jump around a bit because of the brief glimpses of characters before the crash Perceptions and personalities did change for some through the ordeal whilst others went in a direction I hadn't anticipated Overall an enjoyable survival drama with interesting themes Good survival airplaneshipwreck stranded on a deserted island story Pros most if the story is believable Racial tension Unexpected friendships Villains in the story were believable ConsA little long winded at certain points found myself skimming a few paragraphs The constant name changes in the beginning was confusing at first they were referred to by their race because the main character didn't know their names then the author switched between race ethnicity gender full names and eventually nicknames With nine different characters this was exhausting I also felt the romance was very unnecessary and took away from the story it actually made me knock off a starBut overall I enjoyed the story I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest reviewExtreme deprivation causes differing reactions in people and survival in a lifeboat is grueling and brutal Eventually ending up on a deserted island the directions in which these survivors travel in order to maintain sanity makes for an interesting read While the characters are all basically unlikeable in my opinion reading this book points out what could happen under these circumstances