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.
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
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.
the entire book online here at richarddonkin.com