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The Rope Eater Hardcover – December 30, 2003
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After several weeks at sea, the Captain tells them that they are looking for a "temperate archipelago covered by trees of fantastic colors that grew from the heat of the earth rather than the sun--a lush Garden of Eden in the heart of the Arctic." This is not happy news for men who have been fantasizing legendary gold mines. The voyage continues through the most hostile environment imaginable. The men are always cold, wet, hungry, and at the mercy of the capricious movement of icebergs--it is a bleak, horrific life aboard ship, unrelieved throughout the entire book. Jones's writing is starkly beautiful, filled with authentic details about ships, the Arctic reaches, navigation, ship handling, weather and exposure. There are echoes here of Cold Mountain and The Navigator of New York.
The descent into madness of Dr. Architeuthis, an obsessive taker of measurements; Aziz, the three-handed Muslim boiler-tender who tells Brendan the awful story of rope-eaters; the vagaries of the rest of the crew--these all add color and welcome texture to the gray-white sameness of being surrounded by icebergs. Readers who revel in the hardships and exploits of Ernest Shackleton, William Laird McKinlay, or Robert Falcon Scott will enjoy this story of men against nature in its most relentlessly unforgiving aspects. --Valerie Ryan
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Top Customer Reviews
Page after page described ice and the crew's interminable struggles to get through. Getting through the book was nearly as interminable.
The reader never gets to know the narrator enough to empathize with him, or really understand him at all. Thus, his struggles ring hollow and he evokes no sympathy during his struggles.
There are elements of fantasy in the book. Not enough to make it a fantasy, but enough to steer a reader off course. The scientist on the mission is after a warm Garden of Eden in the middle of the Arctic. He is mad or it's fantasy, it is hard to know until the end. There is a fantasy interlude when a character who has three hands (the most likeable character in the book) describes how he got his third hand. From that yarn comes the title "Rope Eater". The title really has nothing to do with the book, other than rope eaters and the crew members suffered pain.
Besides the tedious turning of the plot, the characters lack any development. Only the three handed man and the captain, both tangential characters, had any depth whatsoever.
This book seemed to be an attempt at adventure, but not enough happened between the interminable accounts of ice to build much tension. It never developed the aspect of the deterioration of the characters - mentally and physically - it just happened.Read more ›
It's a wonderful read and you will come back to it again and again.
Damn fun reading.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Once I found out just what a "rope eater" was I put the book down and disposed of it. Accounts of people mutilating their children was not what I was expecting.Published on January 21, 2009 by Robert Steadman
There's not a lot left to say about snow and ice... I enjoyed this novel, which is remarkable not only for its language (superb descriptions) but also for its lack of profanities,... Read morePublished on May 20, 2005 by Julian Faigan
I came upon The Rope Eater by accident, browsing New Releases in our local library. I think I picked it up mainly because the title compelled me. Read morePublished on February 2, 2005 by KALfromCAL
Got to page 150 and did not think it would ever pick up the pace. Sad when the side stories are more interesting than the main! Read morePublished on May 4, 2004