Arrow’s Fall Book Review

Arrow’s Fall, by Joel Scott (ECW Press, 2019; 340 pages)

Review by Chas. Hague

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Jared Kane and Danny MacLean are intrepid Canadian yachtsmen, sailing the ketch, Arrow, around the South Pacific. Although they are starting to run low of the funds they obtained from a previous adventure, described in the book Arrow’s Flight, they are not so bad off that they need to take on a charter from a pretty young woman, Laura Kennedy, to go looking for a lost shipwreck.

But then, Arrow is broken into, friends in England report a similar break in, a yacht-load of exceptionally bad folks starts physically attacking them for no (initially) apparent reason, and Jared and Danny decide to help find the second shipwreck of the Comte de Laperouse. Joining them on the expedition, along with Laura and her professor-of-archeology father, are Molly, on her boat, Tramp, a solo sailor; Elinor, a “hostess” on the rich man’s yacht, who jumps ship to join the expedition; and Sinbad, not-the-ships dog.

Of course, it cannot simply be an exercise in marine archeology. Turns out that the Comte might have taken a large quantity of gold with him on his last voyage, providing a reason for the bad guys to keep pursuing them. After a long section describing navigating South Pacific atolls and some technically detailed descriptions of free diving in very hostile waters, two new characters opportunely arrive with needed information and equipment at just the right time. Some of the treasure is found, just before the expected return of the Bad Guys. A gratuitously violent climax ends the story.

The book contains some very evocative descriptions of sailing and diving the waters north of New Zealand, and the challenges involved in sailing around the lagoons of atolls that are maybe not as romantic as they seem to the owner of a wood-hulled boat.

Arrow’s Fall would be a pretty good read for those boaters who dream of adventure off exotic Pacific islands with glamorous companions.

C.H. “Chas.” Hague is one of those Midwestern sailors who spends too much time reading and not enough time sailing. He sails his O’Day daysailer on that little lake you can see out the starboard side of the aircraft when landing at O’Hare.

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