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Sunday, January 24, 2016

Audio Book Review 'The Rocks' by Peter Nichols


Written by a former sea captain, the novel begins with a philosophical message about the journey to Homer’s Ithaca, profound; the recurring theme uniquely becomes a parallel to the eccentric characters’ lives in this epic story.

The expedition to Ithaca metamorphoses as the personal experience people gain amid their existence. Much like Odysseus, individuals encounter crises and difficulties along the way. Ithaca’s treasures are a prize granted to individuals whom endure the duration of the journey, simply said, it is the wisdom of old age.

Although the trend is on the rise, good sagas, born out of good literature are rare, therefore, fundamentally denying those readers that long for an intimate, epic relationship with the characters. This kind of familiarity comes through to the reader in the narrow opening provided by the author. It’s a flash of pertinent from scenes throughout the span of a character’s lifetime, a form of storytelling that requires skill.

Moreover, books with seaside settings are wildly popular, the romance is more intense and like the sea the elements assume more mystery. Seaside and saga is much the same as peanut butter and chocolate, a simply delicious combination.

By the same token, romance is fabulous, but the time constraint in which a novel takes place limits the in-depth knowledge about the characters that I often crave as a reader. I love a good saga, of course, on the flip-side an uninteresting one can be slow torture.

In recent years, it has been only on rare occasion that a truly interesting family journey was available, but the wait is over and if you are a saga lover, I have great news; The Rocks by Peter Nichols is a winner!

The novel takes place in the Mediterranean region on the Spanish island of Majorca. Like many islands, the beauty and location draws an eclectic mix of residents and visitors to mingle among the native residents. In Majorca the blended Spanish and European cultures create a unique social society.

The story follows the lives of Gerald, Lulu and their children. In a subdued reflection of Odysseus, the young Gerald embarks on an expedition with his lovely young bride, Lulu, in search of Homer’s Ithaca. Similar to Odysseus’ monsters, the couple encounters trouble along the way. Believing Gerald was a coward that left her in the hands of delinquents, the marriage only lasts for as long as a fleeting incomplete honeymoon.

The saga begins at the end of Gerald and Lulu’s sixty year separation and serendipitously the end of their lives. Despite the failure of their young love, conclusively, that tragic day at sea and the relationship Lulu and Gerald once shared continued to be the common denominators that influenced everything in their separateness as well as the lives of each of their children, Gerald’s daughter Ageana and Lulu’s son Luke.

The author presents the circumstances and reveals the story in and out backwards through time to specific turning-points, a method that brilliantly adds another element of wonder and anticipation to the story experience.
Peter Nichols, once a sailor, and clearly a passionate lover of sea, creates an amazing picturesque adventure with saucy characters that do not live by the rules of normal society. Heartbreak, misunderstanding, and ultimately loneliness; it’s sexy and imaginative with a mythical flair. Minus the seduction of tender teens by adults, I love this book. 


The author nails the culture and the psychological peculiarities of his characters. Great Read! I highly recommend the audio version; it is most enjoyable.

Review by Sammy Sutton