Books - Review

Showing all books by: Tim Severin

The Jason Voyage
Tim recreates the legend of the Golden Fleece by rowing (and first building) a replica ancient Greek galley up the Bosphorus.
Brilliant! I really like this true life adventure stuff.
Score: 9.5
Published: 1986
Read: June 12th 2001

The Ulysses Voyage
Tim uses his bronze age replica galley that he had built for the Jason voyage to try and follow in the footsteps of Ulysses, and identify the real places on which the Homeric tales are based.
Very good, but didn't manage to grab me the same way the Jason Voyage did.
Score: 7.5
Published: 1987
Read: July 12th 2003

The Brendan Voyage
Tim and his pals build a replica 6th century boat from wood and leather and sail it across the Atlantic in search of the New World in order to prove that Saint Brendan could have done it too.
Excellent. Lots of good boat-building technical stuff followed by lots of exciting sailing of a virtually unsteerable boat through some very dangerous waters!
Score: 8
Published: 1978
Read: December 5th 2010

The Sindbad Voyage
Tim and his mates, with significant help from Omani shipbuilders and sailors, build a replica Arab boat, using only coconut-rope to sew planks together, and then sail it from Oman to China. Travelling via India, various islands, Sri Lanka and the Doldrums, Tim finds links between some of the stories of Sindbad the Sailor and local tales and myths.
Jolly interesting - good mix of ancient shipbuilding info and dealing with the modern world (never trust an Indian log-merchant apparently). The Sindbad thing really did seem just an excuse for Tim to go and muck about with boats at the Omani government's expense - but good for him I guess. Never knew until now about that middle 'd' in Sindbad either.
Score: 7
Published: 1983
Read: May 24th 2014

In Search of Moby Dick
Tim travels to the southern Pacific to see if he can find any basis in truth for the story of Moby Dick. He investigates historical whaling practices and talks to lots of people about the whales they have seen, chased and killed. He spends a lot of time on the tiny Indonesian island of Lamalera where the villagers still hunt sperm whales in small boats, often by jumping on them with a harpoon.
Well, a bit disappointing. Without a boat of his own to build and sail he seemed a bit directionless I thought. The best bit was probably the whale hunting at Lamalera, which was pretty amazing, but sad at the same time. This book was a gift from Hilary.
Score: 5.5
Published: 2000
Read: June 13th 2014