The Master's TaleNovelist Roberts is a competent writer with a splendid imagination.

She evokes and handles characters splendidly, and there is no doubt in my mind that ladies will love this book.

She understands as few novelists do that a ship at sea is a small village afloat in a huge wilderness; cut off from the comforts of shore life and subject to the violence – sometimes irrational violence – of that hostile element, weather; and is always at risk from unforeseen dangers.

More to the point she understands enough to not have her seafarers making silly remarks about loving the sea. Seafarers do not love the sea. Seamen fear and respect the sea, with good reason.

She has chosen to write this novel as a fantasy, wherein the ghost of Captain Smith relives his life up until the loss of the Titanic. She presents Smith as a sympathetic character, and why not? This is a novel not a professional survey report. She can present him as she wishes.

Professional seamen are likely to hold a different opinion of the man.

However, the real weaknesses in this work lie in Mrs. Roberts ignorance of the actual working of ships; of who does what and why aboard ship; of who does what and why ashore; what must be done, what ought to be done, and what can safely be left undone. The various laws and regulations which must be obeyed.

This is a huge field, and it takes a seaman long to learn, and longer to master, to pass examinations upon; perhaps a lifetime spent without ever coming to the end of this ever evolving subject.

Mrs. Roberts uses her imagination to fill in the gaps in her knowledge, and this is where the novel falls apart. Her work will surely pass inspection by the average reader. It is not convincing to this old seafarer. A pity, I like her style.