Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Stranger Love - A vibrant story of exploration, misadventure and an unusual romance

Spun around the events of December 1642, when the Dutch explorer Abel Tasman and his two ships the Heemskerck and Zeehaen first sight Aotearoa/New Zealand and Maori people first sight Europeans, this story is told by two witnesses of the events: Tasman’s sixteen-year old nephew, Jakob, and the similarly aged daughter of a Maori chieftain, Te-Aomihia.

The tale starts some months before the fatal encounter when Jakob’s wish to be rid of his boring office job in Amsterdam, and become a sailor of the seas like his uncle is all too brutally fulfilled when the boy is press-ganged while trying to lose his virginity in an Amsterdam brothel. The ensuing journey to Batavia in the Dutch East Indies almost kills him, but once there he wangles his way onto Tasman’s expedition to the Great Southland. There, unbeknown to Jakob, Te-Aomihia also longs to break free of the boring rules of her role as village Puhi, or princess, by finding a boy with whom she can explore the delights of love.

The two might never have met, however, but for misunderstandings that arise between the Dutchmen of Tasman’s ships with their muskets and canons and Maori warriors with their clubs and wakas, when Tasman drops anchor in the latter’s bay. How the Dutch boy and the Maori girl come to meet, and how they find love, albeit of a strange kind, only to see that love become a death sentence, takes this tale of Stranger Love to its climax.

Stranger Love is based on a true event — the first recorded European sighting of New
Zealand/Aotearoa by Tasman and the Dutch in December 1642. The novel is based
on the actual events surrounding the clash with Maori and is constructed from the
Dutch language journals of Tasman, Barber Surgeon Haelbos and an Unknown sailor.
Extremely well researched, using the extensive knowledge of people who are well
versed in this area; John & Hilary Mitchell, joint authors of a four volume definitive
Maori history of the region Te Tau Ihu O Te Waka, Volume I: Te Tangata Me Te
Whenua – The People And The Land; John Mitchell who is tangata whenua of Mohua;
Robert Jenkin, author of Strangers In Mohua; Professor Anne Salmond, a distinguished Professor and Dame of the Realm attached to Auckland University.

Stanger Love
RRP: $29.99 | ISBN: 9781524634605
AuthorHouse - www.authorhouse.co.uk

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