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Whales for the Wizard [Paperback]

Malcolm Archibald
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Feb 2005
In 1860 after years in the army, Robert Douglas returns to Dundee and finds George Gilbride(the Wizard), a whaling ship owner, but falls foul of sinister gangster John Wylie.

Product details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Polygon An Imprint of Birlinn Limited (Feb 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1904598404
  • ISBN-13: 978-1904598404
  • Product Dimensions: 21.2 x 13.8 x 2.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,322,703 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


'Archibald breathes the spirit of Scott and Stevenson into this hit-the-deck-running mystery' -- The Scotsman

A rip-roaring adventure mystery with terrific detail of place, period and shipping lore -- Ian Rankin

About the Author

Malcolm Archibald was born in Edinburgh. He lives in Dundee with his wife and family and works as a History Lecturer at Dundee College.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping 15 May 2005
From the very first page, Whales for the Wizard gripped me. The nautical scenes are tremendous, the history fascinating, the characters believable and the twists and turnsd of plot breathtaking. As an ex-seaman I recognised the 'types' that were portrayed, although I am not quite old enough to remember the Arctic whaling industry.
If Malcolm Archibald has written more books, I must buy them!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars good read 29 May 2005
Whales for the Wizard is one of the best books I have read for a long time. It is exciting and fast moving, with great action sequences. I would like to see this as a film.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended 20 Jun 2005
By allen simpson - Published on Amazon.com
When a friend recommended this book, I was not too keen, thinking that it would be glorifying the killing of whales. On the contrary it showed how bloody the business was, but also highlighted the hard life of the whalers, while adding a truly awesome mystery into the bargain.
I enjoyed this adventure immensely.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Illuminating adventure 28 May 2005
By helen swift - Published on Amazon.com
'Whales for the Wizard' was the first book of Malcolm Archibald's that I had read.
I found the story intriguing, with the twists and turns keeping me on teh edge of my seat. I particularly liked the authenticity of life in Victorian Dundee and on the whaling ship - and was Ellen not a unique woman? I really like her.
Highly recommended. I can't wait for a follow up.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant! 20 May 2005
By calum Gillespie - Published on Amazon.com
This book won the 2004/05 Dundee Book Prize by a wide margin. And no wonder. It is a brilliant work of fiction with a solid historical background. The whaling scenes are superb, the characters believable, the fight scenes violent and the description of the underworld sinister. I was a seaman, too young to remember the boarding masters - or boarding mistresses- but i have heard teh tales. This story is so true to reality that Archibald must have had some seagoing experience.
The final twists and turns had me gasping and reaching for the computer button to order more of his work!
5.0 out of 5 stars No Surprise This Won The Dundee Book Award 16 Oct 2012
By Joseph Krueger - Published on Amazon.com
I have the book, not the audio edition but...Our main character, Douglas, has been discharged from the army and with nothing left to do and his bravery being counted on, he's assigned to a wealthly whaling ship owner's vessel to gather men for the next voyage. He finds later that the problem with finding men for the ship is that it's supposedly haunted. But as he traverses the Victorian streets, it's like seeing through his eyes. Once he and the men are on the ship you can feel the cold, the rock of the ship, the suspicion and superstition of the whalers as Douglas tries to uncover the myster of what is going on.
4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining 24 Oct 2007
By Serene Night - Published on Amazon.com
Douglas is a former soldier who finds himself unable to find work when he is discharged from the army. Eventually with the help of a sympathetic landlady he accepts a position as a personal assistant to a ship owner. Tasked with recruiting sailors for his employer's ship, he soon discovers that someone is scaring sailors away from signing up. As he begins to investigate the conspiracy, he falls victim of the press gang, and soon finds himself sent to the North Atlantic after the whales.

I admit the topic (whaling) isn't a favorite of mine, but thankfully not a lot of descriptions of this activity. Douglas is an interesting and sympathetic character and the mystery of 'who' is causing such hardship for Douglas was interesting. I found the beginning a trifle slow. I almost stopped listening because I hadn't become really engaged yet. I did enjoy things much more once the characters were on the ship and beginning their adventure. I found the heroine in this novel interesting and refreshing. 4 stars. Entertaining.
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