Hey Everyone! How are you all keeping? Busy reading I hope or doing anything to keep yourselves busy and happy! I am reading lots and lots and today I am bringing you my review for my stop on the blog tour for the dark, historic, adventurous and spooky ‘Draca’ by Geoffrey Gudgion. If you like a book that touches on so many different genres then, well, this one shouldn’t be missed! Enjoy 😊
Jack Ahlquist’s a troubled guy; a decorated veteran who’s having flashbacks to combat, and who’s drifting between jobs. Doctors could fix his wounds, but not his marriage or his career. He’s spent time caring for his much-loved grandfather, Eddie, but he didn’t expect to inherit Eddie’s cottage and century-old sailing boat, the Draca. The legacy drives a wedge through an already dysfunctional family; Jack’s estranged father expected to take it all.
Draca was was the last of the sailing pilot cutters, old Eddie’s pride and joy. Eddie, obsessed with his Viking ancestry, has left a last letter for Jack; he wants Draca burned, with his body inside: a fireship funeral. ‘Draca will know where,’ he writes.
Impossible, of course. Draca is beached and derelict. Besides, Jack has other ideas; Draca will sail again, and restoring her gives Jack a new purpose in life. Good therapy for a damaged hero, some say, but yachtswoman ‘George’ Fenton has doubts.
George is an orphan with attitude who’s made her own way from care and foster homes to be manager of the local boatyard. She saw changes in old Eddie that were more sinister even than cancer, and by the time the old boat tastes the sea again, the man she dares to love is going the same way. Like his grandfather, Jack finds a wild exhilaration in rough seas, alcohol, and ever riskier sailing. Combat stress, some say, but George senses a malevolence about Draca itself, and it centres on a Viking carving that Eddie fitted as a figurehead. To George, Jack’s ‘purpose’ has become ‘possession’; the boat owns the man.
So is Jack haunted by his past, or just haunted? When Grandpa Eddie died raving that he ‘tried to give it back’, was he talking about the Viking figurehead, or had his cancer gone to his brain?
One thing is sure; four characters are heading for a confrontation; there’s Jack, the flawed hero on a mission to self-destruct. There’s his controlling and disinherited father, pushing him ever closer to the edge. And there’s George, the feisty yachtswoman, trying to pull him back.
Then, between them all, there’s an old boat with some very dark secrets and perhaps a mind of its own.
When all four collide, there may be no survivors.
Wow I love the fact I keep getting the opportunity to read all these books that are nothing like I’ve read before! This is like no other!
So here’s the rough story!
Eddie is an old man dieing of Cancer and he lives by sea in his little cottage by himself and owns an old wooden sailing boat that he refurbished many years ago! With his terminal illness his mental health takes a turn for the worse and his family start worrying more and more about him! Eddie has always had a passion for Viking history and owns many books about the vikings and their history!
Eddie has always had a very close relationship with his grandson called Jack! Jack has spent a lot of time with his grandad with lots of happy memories aboard his grandads boat! Eddie has been more like a father to him than his own dad Harry, who is Eddies son!
Eddie decided to follow in his fathers footsteps and join the military! Here he went on a number of tours and had some horrific and traumatising experiences, which has left Jack battling with awful PTSD and terrible nightmares! Jack doesn’t have the greatest relationship with his family, especially with his Father who has always put a downer of Jacks achievements and doesn’t support his Marriage to Charlotte!
Soon after the story begins Eddie sadly dies and it comes to light that although Eddie has left a little of what he has to Jacks sister and her children, he has left the bulk of what he owns including his boat and his cottage to Jack! He left jack a very specific request which Jack doesn’t know whether to fulfill!
Jacks relationships with his family become more strained when his father finds out that Jack is receiving the majority of the inheritance with nothing being left to himself! This gets worse throughout the book and their relationship comes under more strains.
Jack decides he wants to spend time and money from his inheritance on refurbishing his grandads sailing boat again and getting her back out to sea, however when Jack starts living at his granddads cottage he starts to see strange figures lurking amongst the trees and hearing noises! Is this his PTSD haunting him or is there something more super natural lurking?
Eddie owned an old Viking Shiphead carving of a dragon, and was saying some crazy things about this and ‘the warrior’ before he died. Jack knew that this carving had quite a lot of meaning to his grandad so once the boat is finished he places it at the head of the boat once again!
However Jack meets the manager of the local boat yard, a young , attractive female called George who has worked extremely hard to get where she is! George becomes very friendly with Jacks wife Charlotte so they all become friends.
But, things don’t stay that way for long, and as we find out more about George it becomes clear she has some psychic powers! When she looks at someone she sees a colour which tells her a more about a person!
Over time George and Jack become closerand closer and George is a confident sailor so they sail the old boat together, however she becomes quite concerned when over time Jacks colours begin to change and she feels she must act quickly!
The situation over time becomes quite dyer. Can George save Jack from his mental health and from the dangers the boat holds within… and is everything as it seems?
So this book touches on so many genres, contemporary fiction, horror, a little romance, and a little thriller! There’s a bit of everything and that really kept me engaged!
The story telling is brilliant, it’s written in such a clever way. Within each chapter it is clear which person is speaking as such. We get different views from each character. Then within each chapter there is an entry from Old Eddies diary, which I loved as it really gave an in-depth insight in to how Eddie dealt with his terminal illness, how he came to accept what was happening, how much he loved his grandson, how he felt his own son could be a better father, but also how important his boat was to him and how his mental stability depleted over time! Also at the beginning of each chapter was a section of a book called ‘The Saga of the Kings’ which provides the history m, background and horrors behind the carving of the Dragon head!
I did struggle with understanding ‘The Saga of the Kings’ as the language (as expected) is older and it took me some time to get my head around, but was good to understand where the Carving came from!
The carving is so dark and really quite spooky and I loved the ending of this book and where the carving ended up! It surprised me and gave me goosebumps after the effect it had on Jack!
I really liked Jack as a character, I really felt for him, the guilt he felt from his choices during his tours, the PTSD which haunted him, the awful relationship he had with his absolutely horrendous father, he had such a hard time! But the LOVE he felt for his granddad just filled me with warmth!
The other character I liked the most was George. She had so much about her, I loved how the author gave this character some psychic abilities, I loved the concept of being able to associate people with colours, she could tell a lot about a person from their colours! In a way as much of a burden as this could be, I wish I had this power! She is a supportive character with an extremely kind heart who also hasn’t had it easy and I just found myself wanting a happy ending for her!
I had no idea where this book was going to go and what would happen, and by now you will know that is one thing I always LOVE about a book! It keeps me reading, it keeps me guessing, and it keeps me completely invested!
I must mention that the majority of the book involves sailing and the technicalities of sailing, which at points I struggled with as I have no understanding of sailing what-so-ever so this was a challenge for me. However I don’t feel it took away from the story too much as the story is exciting and dark on so many levels!
Having said that after careful consideration I’ve decided to give this book 4 ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️, because although I did struggle with the sailing, the story is just so incredibly BRILLIANT!
A dark and action-packed, adventurous, historic, dangerous and spine tingling read! An amazing sea adventure that focuses on mental illness, a little horror and a passion for sailing!
About the Author
GEOFFREY GUDGION served for over 10 years in the armed forces, and made his first attempts at writing fiction during quiet moments on deployment. He later stepped off the corporate ladder, in the midst of a career in marketing and general management, specifically to release time to write. His first novel, Saxon’s Bane, reached #1 in Amazon Kindle’s ‘Ghost’ category, and he now writes full time. When not crafting words he is an enthusiastic amateur equestrian and a very bad pianist.
Half of all author royalties will be donated to the veteran’s charity Combat Stress, who care for heroes like Jack whose wounds are more than physical.
How to contact the Author
Draca was released by Unbound on 14th May. Coronavirus logistics issues may result in Amazon being temporarily out of stock of paperback copies until early June. During this period Unbound will accept orders directly and will ship free of UK postage via https://unbound.com/books/draca/
So there we have it guys, something totally out of my comfort zone, but once I’d got in to it I really enjoyed it! Such a cleverly written piece, with some really spooky events! AND a plus that the Author is also supporting such an amazing charity!
I hope you enjoyed this review as much as i enjoyed writing it! I’d like to thank the Author and Publisher for providing me with a copy to read for an honest review and also to Anne at Random Things Tours for giving me the opportunity to take part in this tour!
Have an absolutely great day guys! Keep reading!
Lynne – The Book Reviewing Mum