Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Fiji by Lance and James Morcan

The year is 1848, and a ship is making its way to the land of Fiji.  On board are two missionaries, Susannah Drake and her father, determined to bring the word of God to the Fiji natives.  Nathan Johnson is also on board bound for Fiji, but his purpose is not to save the natives but to trick them into trading him goods that will make him immensely rich.  Nathan has had to make his own way in the world and he has learned to look out for number one.  He is attracted to Susannah, but her father finds him crass and shelters his daughter from Nathan.

When the ship arrives in Momi Bay, the missionaries move into the mission house built by the missionaries they are replacing, while Nathan goes to the tribe's village to strike a deal.  He is pleased to get the terms he wants, trading muskets to the natives in return for sea slugs, a delicacy he plans to sell in China for a large profit.  While dealing with the natives, he finds himself trapped in the village when the Qopa tribes' enemies, the Outcasts, attack.  The Outcasts are just that, escaped slaves and those who have committed crimes against the tribe.  They are headed by Rambuka, a son of the Qopa chieftain who was shunned for attempting to kill his brother so that he could become the chief one day.

With Nathan's help and that of his muskets, the Qopa managed to repel the Outcasts, but not without losses.  The chief is killed, and the new chief, Joeli, vows revenge on his half-brother, Rambuka.  Nathan is also injured and as he is nursed back to health by Susannah, his feelings for her, and hers for him, grow, although neither is willing to admit to their love.  Suddenly, tragedy strikes again.  Rambuka stages a raid and kidnaps Susannah.  He has already kidnapped many tribal women and a band of Qopa and Nathan are determined to track them down and rescue the women.  Can they find their women before they are killed by the Outcasts?

Lance and James Morcan have written a stirring adventure.  Their research into the customs of the Fiji culture are evident.  There is cannibalism, firewalking, shark calling, amazing hairstyles, and tribal warfare techniques.  The clash of the native and English cultures is strange at first, but the men of each culture come to appreciate each other.  This book is recommended for readers of historical fiction and those interested in how the island cultures handled life.

1 comment:

Wendy Unsworth said...

I've owned this book for quite some time - thanks for reminding me that I must get around to reading this one - sounds great!