“Voyage to Crusoe” is an adventure on the high seas. Cliff Demont is an architect and an avid surfer; this is his emotional journey. When his job and marriage both crumble, he connects with a friend who is readying his boat for a sailing journey filled with surfing undiscovered waves and indescribable adventure. Cliff soon discovers there is another aspect to the trip; there is a mission that must happen first, a concealed cargo to be delivered off the coast of Chile.
The characters are complex with fully developed personalities, relationships, and past traumas that shape their futures. However, the sailboat, “Staghound” is a principal character; it is the story, fully equipped for every possibility. It is organized and maintained, solid and seaworthy, ready for anything. Staghound travels on the surface of the water, isolated and alone, using the sun to find the way. It is a lonely ship on a pristine, beautiful, and empty sea, sometimes poetic, and calming, while at other times frightening beyond comprehension. There few if any options when things go wrong on the isolated high seas. Pursuits are very different; gun fights in the middle of the ocean have multiple consequences, and bullet holes in a boat cause big problems.
Beiley creates a story full of danger, adventure, and death. Malicious humans can be a threat to survival, but the weather and the sea itself are much more of a threat. The pace is frantic; the action intense. It is a literary rollercoaster ride; the plot is slow and measured as the readers leave the station; events accelerate slowly and evenly up the track. At the top, there is a short continuation of the plot and then there are sudden drops with frantic twists, turns, and dives, more acceleration and another frantic plunge. Just when readers are out of breath, there is gradual and careful slowing with gentle turns until readers return to the station, the calm, the quiet, the peaceful, the satisfying end.
“Voyage to Crusoe” uses authentic descriptions and terminology. I am not at all familiar with sailing terms, but that did not prevent me from enjoying this breathtaking journey on the ocean. There is a convenient glossary of nautical terms in the back that I briefly read before I started the book. However, the plot was so intense that I did not take the time to refer to it during the book. The context of the action filled in everything I needed to be terrified. Thanks to Leif Beiley for giving me the opportunity to read and review this spellbinding book. I highly recommend it.