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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 30 September 2014
I was slightly disappointed in this Travel Tale. I've read every other "Voyage-re-creation Book Tim Severin has written and greatly enjoyed them all, from the Point of View of an amateur Marine Historian with a LOT of sailing experience, who trained as a traditional boatbuilder. Compared to "The Brendan Voyage", and the others - the "Spice Islands Voyage" text was somehow "shallower" - it didn't draw-me-in as his previous "re-created-voyage" books have done.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 23 June 2008
This book tells the story of the authors adventures in the Spice Islands(Indonesia as he attempts to replicate the travels of Alfred Wallace who spent 7 years (1854-1861)exploring theislands. Wallace was a self taught zoologist and botanist who wrote a thesis in 1856 which outlined his views on evolution which predated Darwins The Origin of Species.How much Darwin took the ideas of Wallace is still debatable.However the two remained friends and Darwin even arranged apension for Wallace. The travels through the islands by the author and his team try to reflect Wallaces experiences.The pictures are fair and the line drawings adequate.
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3 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 24 April 2004
A disappointment!

I bought this book to read about Maluku (the "Spice Islands"), one of my favourite regions in the World, but instead found myself reading far too much about the author's obsession with Alfred Wallace, whose voyages he is trying to follow.

While he does give a description of places few other recent travelogues cover, these places are always viewed through his expectations of them based on Wallace's book which was written in the 19th century. He keeps mourning how the Moluccas are not the same today as they were described by Wallace - hey, can one expect any place to remain unchanged for 150 years?

I spent about 10 months travelling around these islands myself, and really think they would deserve to be appreciated for what they are now - still a beautiful and fascinating region with a rich natural environment and great people - rather just being treated as a background to raving about a naturalist who visited them a century and a half ago!

A more sympathetic and insightful description of contemporary Maluku is the excellent, lovingly-written "Ambon: Island of Spices" by Shirley Deane.
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1 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 16 February 2010
Apart from having a boat built for them, and the quotations from Wallace, there is little of interest to be found in this book. It reads like the rather uneventful tales of a bunch of tourists that have managed to convince themselves that they are a bunch of adventurous explorers on an expedition of great import. Not even the characters involved stand out in any way, other than to suggest that if you were to actually meet them you might find them a very effective cure for insomnia.
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