Publishers Weekly, 2004-09-27 In 1996, nine Filipino crewmen of the Maersk Dubai jumped ship in Halifax, reporting that the ship's Taiwanese officers had murdered three Romanian stowaways. Hough (The Final Confession of Mabel Stark) draws on contemporaneous news reports, court proceedings, interviews with some of the crewmen and his own empathy and exceptional narrative intuition to tell this story of cruelty and courage, crafting not only a maritime adventure but also a resonant, timely morality tale. In the haunting opening chapter, pious Filipino bosun Rodolfo Miguel watches as two stowaways whom he sought to help are set adrift in the cold Atlantic at the orders of the container ship's Taiwanese officers. Hough juxtaposes the efforts of Rodolfo and the rest of the primarily Filipino crew to do the right thing in the tragedy's aftermath with the odyssey of Daniel, a down-and-out Romanian youth desperate to make it to America. Though Daniel and his friend Gheorghe have no connection to the deceased pair, their parallel circumstances make it easy to see where their story is going, as, in a spiral of setbacks, the two move inexorably closer to the Maersk Dubai. Though the valiant Filipinos will risk everything to protect these new stowaways, their fate is far from assured. This is a moving, haunting novel, full of deeply sympathetic portraits of common people being uncommonly brave. Agents, Jackie Kaiser and Nicole Winstanley. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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