Vicki's Reviews > Sailor Twain: Or: The Mermaid in the Hudson

Sailor Twain by Mark  Siegel
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's review
May 21, 2012

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Read from May 16 to 21, 2012

I came across this book pre-publication on NetGalley and downloaded it to my Nook. This is a graphic novel and just to give you a heads up, just because you CAN doesn't mean it is a satisfactory way to view it! Graphic novels are like comic books, i.e., they need to be big enough to interpret the pictures and catch the subtle details. I finished it on the computer and was able to see much more, including the river maps that are featured between chapters.

The story is intriguing and is told from the viewpoint of riverboat captain Elijah Twain, who worked on the steamboat Lorelei ferrying riders up and down the Hudson around 100 years ago. The steamboat is owned by a pair of Frenchmen who are brothers. The older brother is an excellent businessman, but he disappears mysteriously, leaving the helm in the hands of his younger brother who is much more interested in the available ladies who are either passengers or employees on the steamboat.

When Captain Twain is walking the deck late one night he comes across a woman clinging to the edge of the deck, trying desperately to climb onto the boat. As he pulls her onto the deck to save her, he is amazed to see that she is a mermaid with a terrible, life threatening injury. He carries the creature to his cabin and over time, nurses her back to health.

He opts to keep her presence a secret from the rest of the crew and from his wife back at home. He comes across a recently published book from a popular but reclusive author which has some fascinating lore about mermaids. Curiously the younger brother, co-owner of the steamboat company, is also aware of the author and is interested in this book as well. The "fictional" info on mermaids turns out to be pretty accurate, and one wonders how that author, who we eventually meet, came to know all those details.

All you folks who are also up on your mermaid lore may know that the mermaids can lure someone into their "web" with the mesmerizing beauty of their song. Captain Twain makes his mermaid/patient promise never to sing to him, but he comes under her persuasive influence in spite of that.

My concern with this graphic novel is that it may be perceived as children's literature, as that is an assumption I often make myself about comic books. I feel that the siren song for kids who come across this title will be the graphic drawings of the mermaid if you get my drift. What is she wearing? Well, jewelry...which will have the same electrifying effect as the National Geo's African issues back in my day. I don't think too many of the middle school guys read the text of those issues, again, if you get my drift. The author also chooses to depict adults having sex, which in my humble opinion, definitely makes it adult fiction.

Adults who like graphic novels will enjoy a novel about lust, love, intrigue and treachery, as evidenced by the enthusiastic online following the author has generated by serializing the novel online before it's publication date.

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