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Rattlin the Reefer   By: (-1841)

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This book, written by Edward Howard, takes readers on a captivating journey through the depths of the maritime world. Set against the backdrop of the tumultuous 1930s, "Rattlin the Reefer" delivers a captivating account of the lives of seafarers involved in the infamous trade of smuggling.

From the very first page, Howard masterfully sets the tone, immersing readers in a world of secrecy and danger. The protagonist, Jack Rattlin, is a rugged sailor who finds himself drawn into the underworld of illicit narcotics transportation. Although initially coerced into participating in this treacherous trade, Jack soon finds himself entangled in a web of friendships, betrayals, and moral dilemmas.

Howard’s writing is evocative and vivid, painting a rich tapestry of maritime landscapes and seafaring culture. It is evident that the author possesses a deep understanding and appreciation for the maritime world, as the imagery and descriptions are both believable and enchanting. Through his masterful storytelling, Howard transports readers into the heart of the high seas, stirring emotions and creating an authentic sense of place.

However, it is the characters themselves who truly shine in this novel. Jack Rattlin is a complex and multifaceted protagonist, whose internal struggles and growth are compelling to follow. The supporting characters, from hardened smugglers to dubious law enforcement agents, are equally well-drawn and add depth to the narrative. Each character's backstory and motivations are carefully constructed, providing a fascinating exploration of human nature and the choices we make under challenging circumstances.

As the plot unfolds, Howard expertly weaves together elements of suspense, action, and moral contemplation. The pacing is consistently strong, with well-timed twists and turns that keep readers eagerly turning the pages. While at times the narrative can seem somewhat predictable, particularly within the framework of the smuggling trade, the authentic storytelling and well-developed characters make up for any moments of predictability.

"Rattlin the Reefer" is more than just a tale of smuggling and the high seas; it delves into themes of morality, loyalty, and personal redemption. The author tackles these complex subjects with thoughtfulness and sensitivity, prompting readers to question their own preconceptions and values.

While not without its faults, "Rattlin the Reefer" is ultimately a compelling and engaging novel that explores the fascinating world of smuggling during a tumultuous period in history. Edward Howard’s attention to detail, vivid descriptions, and thought-provoking portrayal of characters make this book a worthwhile read for anyone with an interest in maritime adventures, moral dilemmas, and the human spirit.

First Page:

Rattlin the Reefer, by Edward Howard, and edited by Captain Marryat.

Captain Frederick Marryat was born July 10 1792, and died August 8 1848. He retired from the British navy in 1828 in order to devote himself to writing. In the following 20 years he wrote 26 books, many of which are among the very best of English literature, and some of which are still in print.

Marryat had an extraordinary gift for the invention of episodes in his stories. He says somewhere that when he sat down for the day's work, he never knew what he was going to write. He certainly was a literary genius.

"Rattlin The Reefer" was published in 1838, the twelfth book to flow from Marryat's pen. It had been written by Edward Howard, but needed a good deal of polishing before it could be published, which Marryat did. There is distinctly more flowery language than was normal with Marryat, and there are many long and unusual words that are not found elsewhere in Marryat's work. There is also a great use of Latin phrases to describe the action, most of which, fortunately, are little more than dog Latin (i.e. the meaning can easily be decried).

This e text was transcribed in 1998 by Nick Hodson, and was reformatted in 2003, and again in 2005.


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