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The Rope Eater

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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

A voyage of Arctic exploration during the American Civil War becomes an epic tale of madness and survival in a stunning first novel animated by the spirits of Poe, Crane, Conrad, and Melville.

Brendan Kane is a dreamy, directionless young man in 1860s New England. Fired by a speech given by a traveling recruiter, he signs up for the Union cause – and experiences the full horrors of the Civil War. He deserts, drifting north to experience the draft riots in New York and, finally, to meet his fate in the form of the Narthex, a strangely shaped vessel anchored in the harbor of a whaling town. Kane signs up as a crew member without any inkling of the voyage’s destination or goals, joining a crew of odd outcasts not unlike that of the Pequod, including one Aziz, the three-handed Muslim engine tender, and Dr. Architeuthis, the ship’s scientist whose mania for data becomes increasingly indistinguishable from madness. While at sea, they come to learn that their goal is a mythic temperate valley, a paradise in the heart of the Arctic?a goal their captain and the Narthex’s owner will stop at nothing to reach.

At once spiritual, adventurous, and bleak, The Rope Eater displays a precise knowledge of the period and the customs of nineteenth century Arctic exploration. In its scope and rich language, it recalls the work of the great novelists of inner and outer voyaging?a tremendous debut novel.

Synopsis:

When Brendan Kane accepts a strangers offer of work--two years on a ship departing the following morning--the nature of the journey isn't divulged. It matters not, though, for Kane is directionless himself, having just witnessed the Civil War's horrors only to return North with nothing but the clothes on his back and as many dead soldiers' letters as he could carry in his pockets.

Aboard the mysterious Narthex, Kane meets a ramshackle crew that includes an eccentric doctor and a three-handed Muslim full of horrifying lore. Kane learns only that they're sailing for the Artic in search of gold or maybe whales. But when it turns out the Narthex's destination is a temperate paradise hidden amidst glaciers-a mythical place-Kane and his cohorts must struggle to survive not only the bleak Artic conditions, but the loosening grip on sanity of an egomaniacal captain and the data-obsessed doctor. With each second that passes, it seems increasingly unlikely any of them will get out alive.

About the Author

Ben Jones majored in English at Yale University and was awarded a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. He was an editor for the Adventure Library, where he edited classic tales of exploration. Jones lives with his family outside of Boston.

Product Details

ISBN:
9781400033683
Author:
Jones, Ben
Publisher:
Anchor Books
Subject:
Sea & Ocean
Subject:
Historical - General
Subject:
Sea stories
Subject:
Historical
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
20050231
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
304
Dimensions:
8.02x5.22x.68 in. .50 lbs.

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Popular Fiction » Nautical Fiction

The Rope Eater New Trade Paper
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Product details 304 pages Anchor Books - English 9781400033683 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , When Brendan Kane accepts a strangers offer of work--two years on a ship departing the following morning--the nature of the journey isn't divulged. It matters not, though, for Kane is directionless himself, having just witnessed the Civil War's horrors only to return North with nothing but the clothes on his back and as many dead soldiers' letters as he could carry in his pockets.

Aboard the mysterious Narthex, Kane meets a ramshackle crew that includes an eccentric doctor and a three-handed Muslim full of horrifying lore. Kane learns only that they're sailing for the Artic in search of gold or maybe whales. But when it turns out the Narthex's destination is a temperate paradise hidden amidst glaciers-a mythical place-Kane and his cohorts must struggle to survive not only the bleak Artic conditions, but the loosening grip on sanity of an egomaniacal captain and the data-obsessed doctor. With each second that passes, it seems increasingly unlikely any of them will get out alive.

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