At the Mercy of the Sea

The True Story of Three Sailors in a Caribbean Hurricane
Narrated by: Patrick Conn
Length: 7 hrs and 3 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (188 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

"The tale of Carl Wake and the hurricane that was waiting for him goes straight to the heart of the greatest sea stories: they are not about man against the sea, but man against himself. John Kretschmer's audiobook is as perfectly shaped and flawlessly written as such a story can be. In addition to being the best depiction I have ever listened to of what it is like to be inside a hurricane at sea, At the Mercy of the Sea is as moving a story of a man's failure and redemption as can be found anywhere in the literature of the sea. This audiobook is surely destined to become a classic." (Peter Nichols, author of Sea Change and A Voyage for Madmen).

"John Kretschmer has transformed this story of three men on a collision course with a hurricane into a modern seafaring classic." (Peter Nielsen, editor of SAIL magazine).

"With expert analysis and taut writing, he draws listeners into that mad storm. You can't turn away. You keep listening until it breaks your heart." (Fred Grimm, columnist for the Miami Herald).

"Once begun, his vivid and powerful narrative is impossible to stop listening." (Derek Lundy, author of Godforsaken Sea and The Way of a Ship).

"I felt I knew Carl Wake, because John Kretschmer found in him an archetype - an aging sailor with an age-old dream." (Jim Carrier, transatlantic sailor and author of The Ship and the Storm: Hurricane Mitch and the Loss of the Fantome).

"A remarkable audiobook, impossible to stop listening to." (Herb McCormick, sailing journalist).

©2006 John Kretschmer (P)2013 New Street Communications, LLC
What members say
Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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Three separate stories told at the same time

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

No. It is three completely separate stories but the author tells a little of each at a time and then continues telling another story. Kept getting lost and by the time the author went back to story number one i was lost and could barely remember what was going on

Has At the Mercy of the Sea turned you off from other books in this genre?

No.

Could you see At the Mercy of the Sea being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

No.

Any additional comments?

It would have been a great book if the author told one story at a time.

2 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Great writer, distractingly unsupervised performance

Wasn’t anybody minding the store? I whipsawed from really enjoying the story to being totally distracted by the poor pronunciation and lack of regard for simple sailboat nomenclature and common proper names. It’s hard to believe that anybody who knew anything about sailboats or language, in general, would let this pass without editing. It’s too bad because it’s written well but the reader can’t help but be taken out of the moment due to the compromised performance. It became so unbearable for me, I had to stop listening and simply finish the book by reading it.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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If sailing tales are your 'thing' then listen

Yuo do need to know something about sailing big boats and the challenges of making long passages to get the most out of this book but even for the novice with an imagination it works. 'The Cruel Sea' is an old reflection but oh so true. If you are unlucky, if you don't think things through, if you are unprepared, the bite of the ocean can be hard and relentless. Many brave and sensible sailors have lost the battle let alone the novices. For anyone planning a voyage this book will sharpen your thinking.

2 people found this helpful

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Good, thrilling, but a bit challenging to follow

Interesting, detailed and realistic description of about how a treacherous hurricane might ensnare you and take your ship apart.

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Good Story

it was a little difficult to follow if not listening for long lengths of time

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Ocean Spray

As always Kretschmer is refreshing and engaging. I can feel the ocean spray at times.

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Outstanding

A Sad but inspiring story. Thanks for sharing this story to other sailers. Well written and narrated.

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Mixed feelings

If you are interested is sailing this book would rank high. For a lay person there is FAR too much background information. The details of the hurricane are interesting and we appreciated the authors research however personal background was too extensive

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Newbie/Novice Sailor: Book review

Constructive Criticism:
I didn't really think the jumping around was necessary-- I understand the plot and reasoning behind the continuous stories for several angles-- however-- I would have preferred like TV shows and sitcoms that have -- they have physical fade in/ fade out between the rotating segments. I was left with the impression we were constantly jumping from timeline to timeline-- never knowing if we were picking up from where we left off-- or starting yet another 'viewpoint' and or 'time stamped' story...

Positives: loved the experience and real life research and contributions to the story about the main characters-- while sad, the story and or ghost writer brought you in closer to the characters and sold them to you lock, stock and barrel...
Great realistic stories about a sailors dream of making it to the horizon-- but falling short in preparations and or redundancies- making both the sailors and vessels subject to wrath and unforgiving nature of the sea-- she is not a respecter of persons... Enjoyed the book and would enjoy listening to another from John K.

1 person found this helpful

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Fair -- Slow moving

This book is ok at times. I did find myself skipping a few chapters at the end just to get through it.

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Profile Image for the waterrat
  • the waterrat
  • 01-17-20

A good listen.

The first half is probably twice as long as it could be, still an excellent book by one of my new favourite authors. Hurricane descriptions are absolutely captivating for any seagoing man

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Profile Image for Jase Moorcroft
  • Jase Moorcroft
  • 01-03-20

Great Book

Narrator kept the book interesting. Really good read even for those who are not sailors. I’d highly recommend getting this book.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Profile Image for R W.
  • R W.
  • 09-16-19

Over long and spoilt by a terrible narrator.

The narrator sounds like a robot and systematically massacres every accent he attempts. The story is not one of Kretchmers best, overly long to the point of boredom. Shame really.