The Guinea Boat

Written by Alaric Bond
Review by Jane Steen

This fluently written adventure tells the story of two friends, young fishermen whose lives move in opposite directions after an encounter with a naval press gang, a Revenue cutter and a gang of smugglers. Set on England’s southeast coast at the start of the Napoleonic Wars, The Guinea Boat contains a wealth of fascinating information about the seagoing – and smuggling – life, worked seamlessly into the story. Love, family and loyalty are pitted against the need to survive in a world where smuggling is a way of life and is often carried on alongside honest trade. The French coast is close enough that smugglers and fishermen are recruited as spies, further adding to the complex web of relationships, which Bond highlights with some intriguing plot twists.

There are enough plot elements in this novel that it could easily have been stretched into further books; unfortunately, the author chose to wrap up the story with a summary, an unsatisfying close to an exciting tale. Nevertheless, The Guinea Boat should appeal to both general readers interested in the Napoleonic Wars era and those with a taste for richly detailed seagoing yarns. Recommended.