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68 Knots

by Michael Robert Evans

Imagine a bunch of mismatched kids from all walks of life being sent to a summer camp aboard an old wooden two-masted ship to learn leadership over the summer in Maine .  The captain turns out to be a an abusive and manic Bligh, the paid crew deserts, and the kids are left to manage on their own after an impromptu burial of the captain at sea.  The 68 knots do not refer to speed at all, but rather to the 68 knots tied in sections of rope that designate the number of days of freedom these kids have to work with once they decide to continue on their own.  A more inventive yarn I have not read.

What unfolds is a novel about adventure, exploration, self-discovery, teamwork and mystery.  It moves fast and takes some pretty outrageous twisting turns that I didn’t mind at all because they were eloquently handled.  I can’t say that it’s on the line of Conrad’s or Hemingway’s stories, nor is it on the line of the great epic series like Horatio Hornblower or of the Patrick O’Brien ilk, but it certainly is a modern day yarn of epic proportions.  It’s unlike anything I have ever read.

68 Knots has the potential to get a little too complicated with challenge racing, piracy, lunatic characters, rescues at sea, near death experiences and almost mutinies.  But somehow it doesn’t really.  It seems to be predictably unpredictable.  Even thinking back on it, I am surprised to have really liked it so much.  It is a wacky tale that is well written, and reflects a considerable knowledge of the Coast of Maine, character building, and sailing.  It is a quite simply a fun read with considerable insight into human behavior. It even made me laugh out loud and cry in public.

Most of the books today are true adventure stories about real people who have gone out to sea, cruising the world on a boat.  Or “how to’s” that help with instruction on fixing things or making things happen aboard a boat.  This book actually gets across a lot of how to information and cruising stories in a novel.  What a novel idea!  It makes a good read for adults and teens alike.

Scheduled to come out in October, buy this novel the minute it hits the shelves. Better yet, pre-order it so you have it as soon as you finish the last of the Harry Potter tomes.  We happened to pick up an advance reading copy at the Book Expo and got really lucky.  What a great read!  In case you can’t tell, we loved it.  Let us know what you think.

This is the author’s first novel although he has written several books and studies indigenous media movements.  Michael, I hope our paths cross some day! You sound like an interesting man with an interesting imagination.


For more books, visit our reading lists for adults and for children.

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