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A Storm Hits Valparaiso Paperback – January 27, 2012

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Editorial Reviews


"An ambitious story of love and betrayal, victory and defeat. In characters drawn from real historical figures, the author delves into the politics of war and how battles turn on the smallest of details or the whims of a single man." -- JW Manus, author of The Devil His Due

About the Author

David Gaughran is a 34-year old Irish writer, living in Sweden, who spends most of his time travelling the world, collecting stories. He is the author of the South American historical adventure A Storm Hits Valparaiso and the short stories If You Go Into The Woods and Transfection as well as the popular self-publishing guide Let's Get Digital. His work has been featured in the Huffington Post, the Sunday Times, and the Irish Times.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 348 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (January 27, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 146818203X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1468182033
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (87 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,839,666 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

David is Irish but lives in Prague these days. He is the author of the historical adventures A Storm Hits Valparaiso and Mercenary - which has just been optioned for a movie - as well as two popular books for writers: Let's Get Digital and Let's Get Visible. His work has been featured in the Huffington Post, The Sunday Times and the Irish Times. Visit to sign up to his mailing list (and grab a free book).

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

33 of 36 people found the following review helpful By John Glass on January 8, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A Storm Hits Valparaiso is a work of sweeping historical fiction that captivates and entertains both in terms of the characters and the story narrative. The story follows the exploits of San Martin, a deserter from the Spanish army who returns to South America to fight for the continent's independence from Spain. Of course drawn into all of this are the local inhabitants whose loyalties and actions are tested by the uncertainty of San Martin and his followers' ability to carry out their ambitious task.

Gaughran makes a concerted effort to preserve the accuracy of the historical record and uses the deft touch of his creative imagination to fill in the gaps, as is required in a work of this sort, creating a story that is at once engaging and richly textured.

Adding to this is the world of characters that inhabit the story who are by turns heroic and tragic, vain and magnanimous - in short Gaughran has created believable characters who display the wide range of traits and personalities one would expect in a work of this nature. From military commander to foot soldier to inn keeper to prostitute, each of them attempts to make sense of and survive in a world turned upside down by war and personal tragedy.

The strength of this novel lies in the author's ability to pull together the stories of a wide range of individuals without adversely affecting the story's narrative arc, or worse causing the reader to get too sidetracked in character development at the expense of losing the plot.

I would certainly recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys good historical fiction driven by interesting characters and a well conceived and executed narrative.
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48 of 55 people found the following review helpful By Gregory Lynn on February 6, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
I have a lot of respect for David Gaughran. I read his blog daily and his non fiction work Let's Get Digital manages to be both inspiring and of practical use so when I saw the chance to get a review copy of his first novel, A Storm Hits Valparaiso I jumped at it, not lease because I saw it as a way of repaying a little bit of what I've gotten from David over the past several months.

A Storm Hits Valparaiso is an epic story of love, hate, brotherhood, power, revenge, and the thirst for independence told from the points of view of a variety of people in positions both high and low. For the sake of perspective, Historical Fiction is not a genre I read a lot and I have no particular interest in South America. My home genre is Epic Fantasy though, so I am fully ready to accept a story that spans a continent where what's at stake is the lives of every single person on the continent.

I wanted to love this book and I ended up just liking it.

Why did I like it?

Well, it has a little bit of everything it claims. There is love, of both the romantic and brotherly varieties. There is the simple struggle for survival of individuals juxtaposed against the larger struggle for the survival of a people with a regional identity. There is the desire of individual slaves to be free smacked right up next to the desire of a nation of people desiring to be free of a colonial power half a world away. In short, it has everything you would want in an epic.

Why then, didn't I love it?

There are two things I would point to but I think they both stem from one overriding factor. The story is too big for the book. I come from a world of Epic Fantasy where doorstopper novels are, if not quite the norm, well within the normal range.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Cathryn Leigh on January 18, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This epic tale of South America's struggle for freedom is told from seven perspectives. Starting with a barmaid in Valparaiso we are lead back and forth across the Atlantic to follow multiple characters. As the story progressed it became a game to figure out who would cross paths with who and how. Sometimes the moment was brief and other times the paths became interwove. Through it all it is clear that war changes everything. I definitely enjoyed reading this.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Hannibal the Carthaginian on September 4, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I liked David Gaughran's A Storm Hits Valparaiso. Latin America and its drive for independence seems to get scant notice in the North Atlantic region, so its great to see it treated to such epic detail from the Sweden-residing Irishman. The story revolves around a large cast of characters, but mainly San Martin, an Argentine who fought for Spain against Napoleon, but is now fighting against Spain for South American independence; Thomas Cochrane, a wronged Brit fighting the British establishment, then involving himself in South America's conflict; Diego, a lowly soldier; and Catalina, a strong woman who ends up a prostitute.

They all get caught up in the decisions of the decaying Spanish Empire and those of their own politicians. The novel's themes, of freedom from Spain, and slavery, love, and survival, play across Argentina, Chile, Peru, and London. Geographically, it's massive. The character population is also huge.

And that's why I liked it, rather than loved it. A book like this needs to reach War and Peace lengths to give the characters any kind of depth. Each chapter moves from one character to another, which is fine, but it makes each feel like a short story, and with much of the dialogue coming across as stiff, especially San Martin's. A couple of lowly characters, who have their own story strands, barely develop before they die on the battlefield.

If not given the length to breathe, then maybe the book could have concentrated on a few key characters. I would have liked to see San Martin as a background character, with the focus aimed at brothers Diego and Jorge, and Catalina. The book starts with Catalina in her father's tavern, shooting verbal fire at Spanish sailors who are trying it on with her. It sets the scene beautifully.
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