BOOK REVIEW: The Water Trade by Rob Smith

Posted on October 25, 2016


I have been reviewing to varying degrees of activity for a bit over eight years now and I have just started to review for the Online Book Club. And my first title to be reviewed through OBC is:

id31875The Water Trade

Rob Smith

Publisher: CreateSpace

ISBN 9781534908314


History is one of my passions and a good piece of historical fiction is quick to gain my attention. And writing historical fiction can be a real challenge, even more so when it is of events still within living memory as is the case with Pearl Harbour in 1941. Get it wrong and the author has nit-pickers climbing out all over the place. Add multiple characters with intersecting story lines and the author has further increased the complexity of their task.

Central to the story Arashi Sasaki, a Japanese spy in Hawaii, providing important information leading to the Pearl Harbour attack in December 1941. What makes Sasaki different as a character is that he is what we now call bipolar. It is is condition that helps him perform his demanding espionage role. And it was that aspect of the character which initially drew me to reviewing this novel. I was a little disappointed that not a lot was actually provided about Sasaki’s condition, its implications and how he controled the excesses that come with it.

The full extent and complexity of the story is such that a lot of development was required. Overall I think Rob Smith has not done a bad job with that. However the structure of the story was such that a lot of information was necessary. I was disappointed at how much of it was provided as large sections of otherwise well enough written exposition. And that sort of thing makes it difficult for a story to keep my attention. Perhaps incorporating a greater degree of reader emotional interaction may have helped address that lack. I found it difficult to keep my attention on this one which has drawn down from what may have been a higher rating.

For my usual five-star rating, I am awarding The Water Trade 3 stars. However this is also my first review for the Online Book Club and they have a 4-star system, so I am also giving it a 3 star rating for OBC.


Online Book Club 3 out of 4 stars


Ross sig

Posted in: Review