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British author Nicolson expands on the explorations that he started in his 2002 book, Sea Room, which detailed three remote islands in the Hebrides off Scotland's west coast. He recounts how he and a friend explored the islands off the coasts of Ireland and Scotland in a small boat. Anyone who has ever entertained the idea of heading out to sea with a friend and a sail-or anyone interested in a unique perspective on these islands, which are steeped in ancient history and inhabited by Christian monks and shepherds-will find much to relish in Nicolson's descriptions of a journey and a friendship set against an often beautiful, sometimes dangerous, and always exciting Mother Nature and her seas. Given the popularity of other seafaring books like Linda Greenlaw's The Lobster Chronicles and Sebastian Junger's The Perfect Storm, Nicolson's tale should find a solid readership. Recommended for public libraries.-Mari Flynn, Keystone Coll., La Plume, PA Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

There's much to like in the story of how Nicolson (God's Secretaries: The Making of the King James Bible) finds a sailing partner and a suitable boat and takes to the seas surrounding Ireland and Scotland. And his descriptions of the remote communities he encounters on the voyage are often engaging. Yet Nicolson's narrative of this voyage-which was the basis for an eight-part National Geographic TV series-is saddled with an overabundance of superlatives: it's one thing for a near fatal accident to be caused by "the biggest wave I have ever seen," but Nicolson also encounters "the darkest night," "the loneliest and most entrancing place" and so on. One wishes at times that Nicolson would turn his focus further inward; although he hints at personal tensions between himself and his sailing partner, as well as the strain placed on his marriage by his wanderlust, his slim volume doesn't fully explore these conflicts, instead falling back on slightly more abstract reflections about humans' relationship to the sea. Nicolson's voluntary pilgrimage is a good story, made frustrating by falling just short of being a great story. Agent, Caroline Dawnay at Peters, Fraser and Dunlop. (Apr. 12) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

"A superb book, as wise as it is beautiful."----Bernard Cornwell "An odyssey of island hopping and psychic exploration."----Kirkus Reviews "A dazzling triumph--a profound and magical account of a voyage along the wild edges of the British coast."--Nathaniel Philbrick, author of In the Heart of the Sea, winner of the National Book Award "A genuinely intriguing, thoughtful work."----Mail on Sunday

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