Many years later, the dreadnought's ravaged hulk, now lying on the river bottom near Montevideo, Uruguay, becomes of interest to the grandson of the ship's galley officer. Through a series of bizarre events, he has come upon some intriguing clues. This information leads him to believe that the ship was carrying something of immense value, and he is convinced that whatever it was could still be aboard the ill-fated vessel. He recruits a friend to help him dive down to the wreck and seek the treasure, but they soon find that they are not the only ones who seemingly know the ship's secret.
With a trail of speculation, intrigue, and murder, the ship's mysterious past draws the participants together for a final confrontation that will reveal the mystery sleeping restlessly beneath the turbulent waters.
©2003 Howard Hoyt Hilton; (P)2004 Books in Motion
I didn't expect a masterpiece but there are just two many historical and factual errors in Dreadnought's Curse to make it enjoyable. Add in a shallow predictable story and it is a waste of your listening time.
The plot itself is straightforward and easy to predict: Two men went treasure hunting based on a hunch provided by a person nearing the end of his life, then ended up struggling to survive from the menace of others equally ambitious and more reckless in pursuing the same loot.
The involvement of the scuttling of the Panzerschiffe Admiral Graf Spee in the story is attractive to me personally though, it is interesting to see how the author created a fictional narrative to Spee's scuttling and how this "alternate explanation" make sense, at least in some ways. It is not easy to base a fictional story on actual history for the amount of research work it would have involve in order to get the details of some historical events right.
The narrator did a good job at narrating the story, though the occasional strange pauses did make me feel less involved in the audiobook.
The overall pace of the book is fast, and the cliffhanging effect of ending many chapters with a line spoken by characters of the book compelled me to keep on listening.
As for criticisms, the book didn't really live up to its title. The "Spee Curse" had been repeatedly brought up over the length of the entire book and there were very little explanation on this very curse and its influence on the unfolding of the plot. Perhaps it was explained during the period when I began to nod off (Around Chapter 50), but it feels like an unrelated trivia made up for the Spee.
And in resonance to Admiral Graf Spee's anticlimactic fate, the climax wasn't exactly climactic either, the confrontation at Marseilles was doing a good job at revealing what the characters were going to do but failed to create tense or heightening emotions a climax should do. It merely provided an explanation to everything.
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