The Commodore: A Novel of the Sea

Jan de Hartog, Author HarperCollins Publishers $19.95 (406p) ISBN 978-0-06-039041-9
In his latest seafaring epic, de Hartog has brought back Martinus Harinxma, narrator and hero of the successful The Captain. Now 70, Harinxma is coaxed from retirement to act as a consultant onboard an ultramodern ocean-going tug that has been sold to a Taiwanese shipper. Longing for one last fling with the sea, Harinxma quickly discovers how wrong he was. The tugboat seems jinxed by a flaw that nearly causes it to capsize in heavy seas. Run by an incompetent captain and an inexperienced crew who speak only Chinese, the tug seems doomed until Harinxma decides he must see it safely through its voyage. Battling the elements as well as unscrupulous owners who may want to see the tug go down, Harinxma copes with unexpected problems at every turn. The book does not generate the excitement of de Hartog's previous nautical adventures, but his insight into character and thorough knowledge of his milieu lift the narrative well above the ordinary run. (August)
Reviewed on: 08/05/1986
Release date: 08/01/1986
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