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Hell Around the Horn [Kindle Edition]

Rick Spilman
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (124 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $10.99
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Book Description

Hell Around the Horn is a nautical thriller set in the last days of the great age of sail. In 1905, a young ship’s captain and his family set sail on the windjammer, Lady Rebecca, from Cardiff, Wales with a cargo of coal bound for Chile, by way of Cape Horn. Before they reach the Southern Ocean, the cargo catches fire, the mate threatens mutiny and one of the crew may be going mad, yet the greatest challenge will prove to be surviving the vicious westerly winds and mountainous seas of the worst Cape Horn winter in memory. Based on an actual voyage, Hell Around the Horn is a story of survival and the human spirit against overwhelming odds.

Praise for Hell Around the Horn:

Rick Spilman brings alive the rough and tumble world of the windjammer with authentic and well-chosen detail, in a voice that is at once historically authentic, yet fresh as a salty gale. One hand for yourself and one for the ship on this fast-paced and gripping ride. – Linda Collison, author of the Patricia MacPherson Nautical Adventures.

Battling against endless contrary gales, constantly struck with disaster and tragedy, the crew of the Lady Rebecca encountered the same privations that hundreds of unsung sailors endured. As well as a story that grips with gathering tension, this book memorializes the gallant windjammer sailors of a largely forgotten era – Joan Druett, award winning nautical historian, novelist and author of Tupaia

A much neglected period of sailing history is brought to life by Spilman's fast-moving narrative and apt use of fact and detail. – Alaric Bond, author of the Fighting Sail series of novels.

Product Details

  • File Size: 567 KB
  • Print Length: 262 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 098823601X
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Old Salt Press (August 21, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0091614MM
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #309,948 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
34 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Ripping Good Yarn of the Waning Days of Sail August 24, 2012
By Robert
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
First a disclaimer. I've spent my life around the sea and ships, but I'm not a big fan of "sailing fiction." A lot of it, in my opinion, spends too much time trying to teach the reader about square-rigged sailing and not enough time on the story or character development. There are only so many times you can reef the sails without it getting a little old.

Spilman avoids that trap, and does it skillfully. He gives us technical detail enough to satisfy the most ardent sailor, but weaves it naturally through the narrative, setting the stage but never stealing the show. And a very believable and well-drawn cast is very much the show, as the characters struggle against a merciless sea (and each other) in an attempt to survive a transit `round the Horn' during one of the worst seasons on record.

The author's storytelling ability is eclipsed only by his obvious grasp of the subject matter, and the result is a damn good sea story. Highly recommended.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Challenging the HORN September 4, 2012
By M. Muir
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
In 'HELL AROUND THE HORN' by Rick Spilman (Kindle edition), the author conducts the reader on a sea voyage they will not easily forget.
From the hustle and bustle of the wharf side in Cardiff, we are introduced to the crew of the LADY REBECCA. The ageing windjammer, loaded with a cargo of coal, is set to sail from Wales, UK, to a port on the west coast of South America following the route taken by the great clipper ships around Cape Horn.
By 1905, the days of the great commercial sailing ships were dying, but Captain Barker is intent on challenging the notorious Horn once more. He is so confident, he takes his wife and children with him.
Barker's choice of sailors is both wise and eclectic. Some men have experience, others little, but one is dangerous - a fact that only becomes evident as the story unfolds. Facing unsympathetic winds, the dreaded Doldrums, fire on board and near mutiny, after two months sailing and over 8000 miles from home, the ship reaches the point of no return.
Ahead is the notorious Horn with the menacing winds and currents which are associated with it. Barker takes up the challenge and proceeds even though the sea is intent on swallowing his ship.
It is here that Spilman's personal experience as a tall-ship sailor comes to the fore. His awareness of the sea, its dangers, the excitement, the fear, and man's vulnerability in a vast stretch of wild Ocean allows him to paint an unforgettable image - one of the best storms at sea I have read.
The story is told from several points of view including that of the Captain, the Apprentice and the Captain's wife, though she has a minor role and could possibly have been omitted from the cast.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A rip-snorting ride August 23, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
"When the wind did hit, Fred was first deafened by the unholy roar, and then was tossed against the shrouds. An icy wall of water washed over him but he held tight to the line he had been hauling, as the rushing water lifted him off his feet. The ship staggered and rolled in the infernal blast. Then she fought her way back up, pitching and rolling like a battered boxer, never quite knocked flat, always rising again." - from Hell Around the Horn (Chapter 9) by Rick Spilman.

Writing with the verisimilitude of one who is at home on traditional sailing ships, Spilman takes us on a long and harrowing journey from Cardiff to Pisagua, Chile, around Cape Horn during the Southern Hemisphere's winter, aboard a three-masted, steel-hulled windjammer filled with Welsh coal. The year is 1905. Young Captain Barker, part owner of the ship, is in command. "This trip was his chance. It could either establish or ruin him. All in one roll of the dice."

Using an omniscient point of view, Spillman shows us what life aboard Lady Rebecca was like for a cross-section of characters, from Captain Barker and his wife, Mary, his mates, and the seamen. We get to know a representative selection of the twenty crew members -- Will, Fred, Donnie, Harry, Jerry, and Santiago, Jansen, Jeremiah - a mixture of nationalities and races who work together under extreme conditions to see the coal delivered - and to survive. Captain Barker rules the ship but so does Murphy's Law. What can happen does happen, it's man against nature and man against man in this realistic historical novel reminiscent of Eric Newby and Joseph Conrad.

In this first novel Spilman brings the world of the windjammer alive with his well-chosen details and his lively dialogue.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A different read January 19, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I need to say this first. This book was a distinct departure from the books I typically read (and review). I'm not into sea faring yarns or "how to sail". I mainly read books about WWII, legal drama, or, political black ops. But this book caught my attention, not so much from the title, but from what was said about it by the reviewers. In short, I found Hell Around the Horn to be a totally engrossing read. So much so, I'll admit, I really could not put it down--and I do not say that lightly. It was, from start to finish, an extremely well told story. As I say, knowing nothing about sailing, I was completely in the dark during those times while the captain was ordering his crew on how to keep the ship afloat during the severe weather conditions they encountered. I will say this, however, based on what I read, I'm convinced that there is no God below 50 degrees south latitude. These sea faring men literally took their lives in their hands during this voyage delivering coal around the Horn of South America to Chile in a sailing ship. Sailing along with them, figuratively speaking, was an absolutely captivating experience for me.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating drama on the high seas
Hell Around the Horn kept me glued to my seat till the very end. Rick Spilman is an experienced seaman and seasoned author who knows his stuff. Read more
Published 29 days ago by Aurorawolf
5.0 out of 5 stars Good read & good edition
There's no sense in repeating what other reviews have written, but I cannot resist noting how refreshing it was to read a sailing ship story that did not include a single mention... Read more
Published 1 month ago by T. Pallen
5.0 out of 5 stars Very much enjoyed it.
I won a copy in a contest by the Author. Gives a clear picture of a very brutal unforgiving environment and the sometimes almost impossible living and working conditions routine... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Gordon L
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
I too, nearly drowned. (Felt like)
Published 4 months ago by Scott Duncan
4.0 out of 5 stars Worth the price and quite enjoyable
Very enjoyable, well written
Published 5 months ago by Phillipsstudio
5.0 out of 5 stars good book
Very interesting read
Published 5 months ago by Phyllis E. Rose
5.0 out of 5 stars well written and flawlessly executed
As a ship captain, blogger and tech geek I prefer modern fiction to old sea tales so I was a bit wary after the third reader of my blog mentioned this book but once I discovered it... Read more
Published 6 months ago
5.0 out of 5 stars Sail on
I really enjoyed the story of the trip around the horn. Good use of multiply characters who each told their own story of the voyage. Read more
Published 9 months ago by capo
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good story of the end of the age of sailing ships.
The story is set in 1900 when the sailing ships are being surpassed by steam power. It was thought that free wind power could beat coal but that was not true. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Sea Adventure
This is different from most books I read. I loved the adventure and colorful description of life at sea in wind driven ships. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Lisa M Zatezalo
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More About the Author

Rick Spilman has spent most of his life around the ships and the sea. Professionally, he has worked as a naval architect (ship designer) for several major shipping lines. An avid sailor, Rick has sailed as volunteer crew on the replica square-riggers "HMS ROSE" and "HMS BOUNTY," as well as sailing on modern and period vessels along the New England coast, the west coast of Florida, the Caribbean, the Great Lakes and the southwest coast of Ireland. He is also an avid kayaker.

Rick is the founder and host of the Old Salt Blog, a virtual port of call for all those who love the sea. He has been published in the Huffington Post, gCaptain, Forbes online, and several canoeing and kayaking print magazines. He was also a nautical columnist on the Clarion science fiction blog and a Cooley Award Winner in short fiction at the University of Michigan. His video has appeared in the Wall Street Journal on-line and in National Geographic Traveler.

Rick lives with his wife and two sons on the west bank of the Hudson River.

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