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Prospero's Gold - Book One of The Voyage

A 45,000-word children’s book about a family undertaking a round the world voyage, now undergoing a fourth revision. Five more books are planned in this series. Tested successfully among my boys and their friends.

Read the entire book online here at richarddonkin.com

Prospero’s Gold - Book one of The Voyage - Synopsis

Prospero’s Gold is the first in a series of six books telling the story of a round-the-world voyage undertaken by the Grant and Johnson families – Rory and Joy Johnson and their daughter Mo, and Bob Grant and his three sons, Pat, Badger and Vince. The stories, narrated by Mo, introduce two central characters, Timor The Hunter and his alter ego, Prospero, a distant relative, who accompany the families on their journey.

Prospero and Timor are essential characters in the narrative because they represent conflicting sides of the human psyche. Timor is the power for good while Prospero represents the dark side of humanity. That said Prospero is a likeable roguish character whereas Timor is taciturn and prone to lapses in his decision to abandon his life as a hunter. The idea is that the decisions they make within the narrative help children to confront their own moral and ethical values. These decisions will grow more sophisticated in future books that will tackle issues such as the environment, poverty and mass consumerism as the journey develops.

Moral issues aside, the books are designed to appeal to children’s sense of adventure and desire to travel. The stories and locations draw heavily on my 15 years of experience as a journalist and travel writer for the Financial Times. This included a 6,000 mile voyage around Cape Horn and across the southern ocean in the 1997 BT Global Challenge yacht race. The story is a departure from my previous published work: Blood Sweat and Tears, The Evolution of Work (Texere, 2000) which was warmly reviewed in both the US and the UK.


Outline of Prospero’s Gold

Bob Grant was born and brought up in Whitby, North Yorkshire. As an amateur sailor he has long harboured a desire to sail around the world. When his marriage breaks up he decides to leave his fire-fighting job, build a yacht and take his three boys on the adventure of a lifetime. When his good friend, Rory Johnson, loses his job, Bob invites Rory and his family to join him. Bob names his boat Endeavour after his childhood hero, Captain James Cook, the navigator and explorer. The main aim of the voyage is to visit some of the islands discovered by Cook.

What follows is the first in a series of adventure stories drawing their inspiration from some of the great children’s classics such as Treasure Island, Moby Dick and Swallows and Amazons, with sprinklings of Narnia-style morality and mysticism, but for a modern more sophisticated children’s audience.

A number of accurate historical stories and events are woven into the narrative to add depth and richness to the plot. Most of the story locations in Prospero’s Gold - Whitby, Bermuda, Nantucket and Grand Cayman - I visited during my years as a journalist at the Financial Times.

A storm forces the Endeavour to call at Bermuda for repairs where the families befriend Prospero, a sail-maker, the central character of the book. Prospero takes the families to meet his half-brother, Timor in Nantucket. Timor is a reclusive former whaler who describes himself as a “man of the world”. Born in the US, his mother is part native American and his father is descended from the original English settlers of Bermuda. Timor is related and acts as a guardian to Prospero who was brought to Bermuda as a child. Like Shakespeare’s character, Prospero has an ability - that he cannot explain - to draw people towards him and make things happen. Timor also carries a secret about his background although this is not revealed fully in the first book.

The two characters have been created to represent the alternate sides of the same coin - good and evil, although neither is wholly good or wholly evil. Timor is an imperfect moralist, a reformed hunter and a skilled harpooner who has renounced hunting for the most part - he will still kill to eat - and now takes a deep interest in the environment and the health of the planet. He eschews wealth, status and possessions. Prospero, on the other hand, is a scurrilous, scheming unethical yet likeable rogue, descended from pirates. His partners in crime are a pickpocket monkey called Caliban and a portentous Macaw called Dr Faustus.

In this first book, the Grants and the Johnsons befriend Prospero and Timor who become members of the crew and who gradually reveal a hidden agenda related to a museum discovery made by Mo in England before the voyage. The agenda in this, the first part of the Endeavour’s voyage, becomes a quest to find Inca treasure seized and buried by Blackbeard, the 18th century buccaneer. The children become involved in pirate intrigues, Inca curses, a hurricane, sea rescues and castaway dramas. Along the way they survive encounters with whales, sharks and storms.

Read the entire book online here at richarddonkin.com

   
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