Bright and Distant Shores fits well into the tradition of travel narratives, where cultures clash and moral ambiguity is the order of the day. Lives and fortunes are risked, the innocent come to knowledge, and everyone discovers more about themselves than they do about the 'other' they go looking for. Smith does a good job of building a compelling narrative while feeding our desire for the bizarre and fascinating.
I was impressed with how Smith keeps the language and setting to the period without being preachy or overly descriptive - a common problem with historical fiction. Historical people and events are sprinkled in while the characters live out the plot and further the story, so it works well and doesn't feel like a class lecture.
The best part of Bright and Distant Shores is the interplay between the different points of view - often striking in their differences, sometimes ...
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