Talk about luck!
I'm a sucker for tales of the sea and marooning, so managed to finish this remarkable tale with most of my sanity intact. Dick and his gal friend go through more adventures than Robinson Crusoe and Dick Hawkins (Treasure Island) combined. I'll try to keep this brief.
At sea every possible mishap occurs except hitting an iceberg or battling a sea serpent. As to the atmosphere, they confront no flying saucers, but every wind that blows strikes them at one time or another. Geologically ditto.
Using knowledge gained as a naval officer combined with an amazing willingness to work, Leslie manages wonders with almost no assistance from his girl beyond asking her to hold the end of a rope now and then. She's a gently-raised Victorian girl who must be protected from all dangers and physical demands, and is prone to fainting when danger is in the offing.
After six months or so of living on a desert isle they achieve the intimacy of using first names, and after a year I'm fairly sure they exchange a kiss… though maybe not. The facts of life never make it into this tale.
With all that, Collingwood is a decent enough writer who simply suffers from an out-of-control imagination.
Fenn can tell a tale as, for instance, Diamond Dyke proves. In this case he attempts what might be termed a post-Regency romance. The plot is quite suitable for the genre, the characters of interest and generally well-drawn. The writing is often excellent, even verging on lyrical at times.
But there is so much of it! Were this book two thirds as long, and were the melodramatic passages cut even further I'd call it excellent. As it is, determination is required to read it to the end.
Too bad. With a flint-eyed editor it would have been great.
A surprisingly good read, with a surfeit of action and chills. A few exaggerations, mostly forgivable, and an unfortunately-truncated ending but otherwise fine for teen or adult.
An exciting adventure during the tim of, but not closely connected with the Russo-Japanese war. Well worth reading for sea-going adventure fans.