An epic drama with thrilling narrativeSet in C17 Amsterdam, at the heart of Tulip Mania.The first in a potential trilogy
VA Richardson is already published under his pen name, Ben Bo, with his Xtreme Sports series: Xtreme - the Edge; Xtreme - Skullcrack and Xtreme - Burnout. 'The House of Windjammer' is a completely new departure and is meticulously researched in terms of historical detail. VA Richardson lives in London with his wife and young daughter.
Gr 7-10-Richardson's novel weaves together a dark secret, a rare treasure, treachery, murder, and even a hint of romance into a fascinating, well-researched story of tulip speculation in 17th-century Amsterdam. Following a series of tragic events, the great Dutch family of Windjammer suffers the loss of its entire trading fleet and faces certain financial ruin at the hands of its creditors. Upon the sudden death of his father, 14-year-old Adam becomes the heir. He faces many enemies, encouraged by the despicable moneylender, Hugo van Helsen, who employs the sinister so-called preacher Abner Heems to ignite feelings against the family. Heems attempts to kill Adam, but the intended barrel falls instead on the Windjammers' bookkeeper, who dies, but not before giving Adam some clues as to how to salvage the family's name. Through a journal he finds, Adam learns that Gerrit had been trading in rare tulip bulbs (a postscript notes that tulipmania in Amsterdam peaked in 1636). In a series of suspenseful encounters, Adam comes close to finding the particularly rare Black Pearl tulip bulb but fails to meet the creditor's deadline. At the book's end, some of the other creditors come forward with assistance to finish the Windjammers' new vessel, Draco, and Adam prepares to sail to the Americas, opening the way for the next volume. Richardson writes in a style that conveys high drama and suspense. His attention to details paints a fascinating picture of the period, and descriptions, such as the smells and noises of the city, lend the book a fascinating authenticity. Historical fiction fans will eagerly await the next adventure.-Connie Tyrrell Burns, Mahoney Middle School, South Portland, ME Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
In this first volume of a projected series, a potentially fascinating setting-trade-happy Amsterdam in the early 17th century-is made dull by muddled plotting and a crew of characters straight out of central casting. After the deaths of his uncle and father, Adam, 15, is named the head of the Windjammer family, a proud merchant clan now on the verge of losing everything. For reasons that are never adequately explained, the Windjammers have become the target of the ambitious and grandly vindictive ("I have the power to destroy you utterly, Adam Windjammer!") banker Hugo van Helsen, who seeks to take over their remaining assets. Van Helsen's predictably spitfire daughter, Jade ("I want to do more than just raise children.... I want to have adventures and be free. I want to live before I die!"), strikes up a prickly acquaintance with Adam, setting the stage for future star-crossed encounters as the chronicles continue. Meanwhile, the family's devoted clerk, Gerrit, seeks to repair the Windjammer fortunes via a secret money-making scheme that most readers-clued in by the novel's mentions of the contemporaneous tulip craze-will suss out long before Adam does. The hyperbolic writing style merely compounds the weaknesses of the narrative structure. Ages 10-up. (July) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.