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Book Review : The Ghost Ship by Kate Mosse

In celebration of the paperback release in the UK, I’m delighted to be sharing my thoughts about The Ghost Ship by Kate Mosse.

A paperback copy of The Ghost Ship by Kate Mosse is on a shef with an ornament of a person reading a book

The Ghost Ship by Kate Mosse

  • Category : Historical Fiction
  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Pan; Main Market edition (20 Jun. 2024)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 512 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1509806938
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1509806935
  • Reading age ‏ : ‎ 18 years and up
  • Goodreads | Amazon | Waterstones

The Ghost Ship Summary

The Ghost Ship is the third volume in the enthralling and epic series, The Joubert Family Chronicles.

The Barbary Coast, 1621. A mysterious vessel floats silently on the water ― its hull splintered and its sails tattered and burnt. For months the Ghost Ship has hunted pirates to liberate enslaved prisoners. Now it, too, finds itself hunted.

But the ship’s crew hides a secret, and the stakes could not be higher. The bravest among them are not what they seem: if arrested, they will hang for their alleged crimes. Can they survive their journey and escape their fate?

A sweeping and epic love story, The Ghost Ship is a tale of adventure and buccaneering, love and revenge, stolen fortunes, piracy and hidden secrets on the high seas.

The Ghost Ship Review

In 2018 I read The Burning Chambers and said “… is an absorbing historical read with a fabulous pace. Highly recommended.”  Sadly, I missed The City of Tears in 2022 (although I’ve now ordered it and pre-ordered the final story, The Map of Bones). I want to go back and find out the missing parts of Minou and Piet’s story and to see how the story ends for their granddaughter, Louise.

I felt Louise showed as much spirit and strength as her grandmother did.  Despite her moments of fear and anxiety, she just got on with it all.  I found it easy to forgive her (but there are some tense scenes when others might not!).

I loved the bond between Louise and Gilles.  It didn’t feel as if this relationship was a ‘token’ in the story but rather the pivot for a lot of things.  Considering the historical period, I thought their love was cleverly woven through.

The characters are brilliant.  From those who lift up to those who only have evil intent (and get the blood pumping faster), they all fitted together perfectly.

As before, I found myself ‘living’ this historical time, whether that was on land or on sea, I was there.  Kate Mosse’s writing style flows and transports you!  As an aside, I felt a strong personal connection with this story.  A bit of a ramble here … one of my direct paternal line descendants sailed the East Indiaman Grosvenor as mate (noted on his marriage and newspaper announcements in 1766) although I presume he’d left by 1782 when it was shipwrecked on the Pondoland coast of South Africa.  In 1790 he’s listed in a directory as “ship breaker boat builder timber merchant marine(a) shipbuilding(m) wood/furniture/carriage trades(s)” so he clearly survived. The scenes at sea are so vivid in this story – helped me visualise how life on ship could have been for him.  It’s made me realise how much a crew need to get on and look out for each other!

Although this story has a slower pace and I felt less political (don’t get me wrong, there are still upheavals, especially after King Henry IV’s assassination and key scenes related to the slave trade), the relationships are the focus for moving the story along (in my opinion). 

I’m sure there’s a different purpose behind one guest’s embarkation on the last sailing and the epilogue has me wondering so much. Can’t wait for October to find out!

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed The Ghost Ship.  That tagline? “Rebellion takes to the high seas … “ it sure does!

About the Author

Kate Mosse CBE FRSL is an award-winning novelist, playwright, performer, campaigner, interviewer and non-fiction writer. The author of ten novels and short-story collections, her books have been translated into thirty-eight languages and published in more than forty countries. Fiction includes the multimillion-selling Languedoc Trilogy (Labyrinth, Sepulchre, Citadel), The Joubert Family Chronicles (The Burning Chambers, The City of Tears, The Ghost Ship, The Map of Bones) and No 1 bestselling Gothic fiction including The Taxidermist’s Daughter and The Winter Ghosts. Her highly-acclaimed non-fiction includes An Extra Pair of Hands: A Story of Caring & Everyday Acts of Love and Warrior Queens & Quiet Revolutionaries: How Women (Also) Built the World, which inspired her one-woman theatre touring show.

A regular guest on radio and television for literature, Kate hosts the pre-show interview series at Chichester Festival Theatre and is a regular interviewer for literary and arts festivals including Letters Live, the Hay Festival, the Edinburgh International Book Festival, the British Library and the Royal National Theatre. Her new podcast, The Matilda Effect, will be launched in summer 2024.

The Founder Director of the Women’s Prize for Fiction and the Women’s Prize for Non-Fiction – the world’s largest annual literary awards celebrating writing by woman – she is the founder of the global #WomanInHistory campaign and has her own monthly YouTube book show, Mosse on a Monday.

A Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, Kate is also an Honorary Fellow of the Society of Authors, a Visiting Professor of Contemporary Fiction and Creative Writing at the University of Chichester and President of the Festival of Chichester.

In the broader arts, Kate is President of the Festival of Chichester, Patron of the Chichester Cathedral Festival of Flowers 2024, Vice-Patron of the Chichester Cathedral Platinum Music Trust and Patron of the Chichester Festival of Music, Dance and Speech. She is also an Ambassador for Parkinsons UK.

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