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Harbor of Spies


A captivating thriller-at-sea set in Spanish colonial Havana in the 1860s.
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Discuss Harbor of Spies by Robin Lloyd:
What was most troubling about the novel?

Created: 05/24/18

Replies: 7

Posted May. 24, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
clapshot

Join Date: 11/05/16

Posts: 16

What was most troubling about the novel?

This novel for me was a slow read, and I think the major reason was the Spanish. Since I know very little Spanish, I was constantly running to the computer to translate. Was anybody else bothered by the copious Spanish? If not, how did you cope with it? I guess I'm asking your advice for when I read books that have a lot of language that I'm not familiar with.


Posted May. 26, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Elizabeth Marie

Join Date: 05/26/18

Posts: 17

RE: What was most troubling about the novel?

The many moral dilemmas faced by the characters were most troubling for me. When Townsend saved Abbott from the sharks, Hendricks warned that he would be trouble, but Townsend felt compelled to not only pull him out of the water, but to lie about it to the Spanish soldiers. Townsend hated slavery but became a blockade runner to escape prison. I thought the executioner’s garrote was a great metaphor for Townsend’s situation.


Posted May. 27, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
pennyp

Join Date: 03/22/12

Posts: 323

Expert

RE: What was most troubling about the novel?

I found the book to be packed with details and information but was not an easy read because of this.


Posted May. 28, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Elizabeth Marie

Join Date: 05/26/18

Posts: 17

RE: What was most troubling about the novel?

The cruelty of the slavery was especially troubling because the slave owners, including Townsend’s grandmother, took it for granted. I can’t imagine discovering that a family member is so callous and blind to the suffering of others. The scene in which Julio, the young boy, beats the dog as part of his training was very disturbing to me. It demonstrated how people, like animals, can be trained to be cruel and to see the cruelty as just the cost of doing business.


Posted May. 30, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
pennyp

Join Date: 03/22/12

Posts: 323

Expert

RE: What was most troubling about the novel?

For me, not being a history buff,the tremendous amount of detail made it a slow read for me. My husband, a war history buff, really liked it.


Posted Jun. 03, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
PinkLady

Join Date: 01/22/18

Posts: 28

RE: What was most troubling about the novel?

I agree that learning about the level and cruelty of the slave trade was very troubling, but also important to learn. It's easy to say we know it was wrong, but being faced with the detail made it much more real. It was not an easy read and there were parts I skipped over, not that they were troubling but I didn't need so much detail about sailing and winds and waves etc.


Posted Jun. 04, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
nancyh

Join Date: 06/25/13

Posts: 169

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RE: What was most troubling about the novel?

How cruel and uncaring the people were. I do not understand how the slaves were treated as if they were not human. I have always enjoyed books about the Civil War, but they were always written from the side of the North or South. It was interesting to read it from the side of Cuba. I enjoyed the book


Posted Jun. 12, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
rebeccar

Join Date: 03/13/12

Posts: 356

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RE: What was most troubling about the novel?

I flinched thinking about the young slave boy being forced to beat a puppy that was tied up and couldn't get away in order to create a dog that hated him and would chase the boy down if and when he tried to escape. It was a prime example of the total inhumanity of slavery.
As for the extensive use of Spanish, I felt that the author did a good job of incorporating follow-up phrases that hinted at the meaning. However, there probably were a few times that the Spanish was unnecessary.


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