First Voyage

Written by Anthony Palmiotti
Review by Eileen Charbonneau

The world is heading for WWII in this adventure set in 1938 on water and in the ports of call of an old tramp freighter named the Arrow. Her young merchant marine third mate is Patrick Welch, happy to have a job in the Depression, and loving the sea and its challenges. Despite warnings about his gruff and laconic captain, Patrick thrives and fits in a team of interesting and surprising shipmates from various backgrounds, which soon include a hurricane-wrecked Bahamian.

But when they reach Hamburg, Germany, they find dangers that not even skirting a hurricane can match. The ship steward’s only remaining family members, a Jewish shoemaker and his wife and daughter, are in grave danger from Nazi thugs and the growing power of prejudice sanctioned by their government. Can the intrepid Americans, aided by an onboard spy but sabotaged by an onboard Nazi sympathizer, manage to get the refugee family onboard and outwit their pursuers?

Told with great love of the seas and the hard-bit men who plow them, this coming of age adventure is sure to delight maritime history fans. Here’s to hoping that the voyages continue and Palmiotti has a shot at becoming the Patrick Taylor of the high seas.