Storm in a paperback - The Storm Prophet

The Storm Prophet
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The Storm Prophet by Hector MacDonald

Moses, a young South African foresees the future and is whisked away to Australia by rich bank owner and top off-shore sailor, Kirsten McKenzie, to unwittingly aid the launch of her new bank.

Set during the running of the Sydney Hobart race and recalling the storm that struck the race of ´98, it is necessary to wade through some 200 pages of build-up, with the sort of dialogue that would get a Pomme a bad name, let alone an Aussie.

Petra Woods, the Bay Watch type heroine with a personal super RIB - rescuing an elderly shipwrecked dinghy sailor in a desperate situation, with waves thundering, a wide gash across his side, staunching the blood with his hat - inquires;

'Do you require Entonox?' 'No, thank you. Perhaps you could give my grandson some water.' Sort of Jilly Cooper meets Enid Blyton, but strictly without the bonking.

After the slow intro, which I found myself flipping through, the race and the set piece rescue up the pace. Suspend your disbelieve as 'helos' flit through cyclones and characters leap into 18m waves, hold apparently normal conversations and glower.

All is bathed in a golden glow as it moves into the dastardly double, double-cross and it is safe to go to sea again. What would once have been described as a rollicking good read but for the painfully contrived plotting.

Hector Macdonald is working on a sequel to The Storm Prophet set in northern Australia, again narrated by the coastguard Petra Woods.

The Storm Prophet by Hector MacDonald published by Penguin