The Silver Spider
Book ReviewTop

Book Review – The Silver Spider by Nadine Slavinski

I am not really a book worm, more like a book shai-hulud of Arrakis

I’ll be honest. When a post from a fellow cruiser popped up in my Facebook news feed suggesting that I give their new book a try, it was out of solidarity that I considered it. I thought I may never get around to reading it, but hey, help a fellow cruiser out right? Being still caught up in the humdrum of daily commuting to earn the freedom chips needed for the rest of our lives, I spend a lot of time sitting on public transport, and use it to fulfil my reading habit.

The thing is, I have read a LOT of books written by fellow cruisers, and while some are very good, unfortunately, many more tend to be less so. I love reading, but it is mostly in the fantasy and science-fiction genres.

So I clicked the buy button on Amazon and added it to my Kindle cloud library. I’m not certain I ever really intending to read it, unless maybe, I was truly low on options. As I finished my previous book, an action-packed swashbuckling space opera, I went to the Kindle cloud to see what I had stored up in there waiting. I noticed that my recent purchase was classified as fiction, a rarity in the cruiser-writer bookshelves.

What the Heck, Give it a Chance

Right from the beginning, the reader is immersed into the suffocating humidity, earthy smells and exotic sounds of the tropical rain forests of Panama. The story cleverly recounts the timelines of three separate characters (one of these a couple) all in the same location in different eras. The protagonist couple, present day sailing cruisers, find themselves on the trail of a lost cache of conquistador silver and gold while attracting the attention of shady cartel types and self-centred art collectors. The timelines weave together as the story progresses pulling together the pieces of the puzzle and keeping the reader turning the pages.

The descriptions are immersive and the writing is fluid. The author’s first hand cruising experience, is invaluable infusing the adventure/historical-fiction story with a feeling beyond “well researched”, rather more true to life. The reader almost forgets the fictional nature of the book. Anyone who has lived on a boat will identify with the struggles the characters face. You will feel sympathy with Nick’s constant pull between being responsible for the old boat’s upkeep and satisfying Kate’s need to explore ever more distant horizons. At the same time you will relate with Kate’s frustration about Nick’s uncertainty of being far from ailing parents and the “safety” of a nine to five job. The chapter describing in detail the transit of the Panama canal shoehorned into the Gatun lock right behind a cargo freighter actually brought on a hint of anxiety as I read.

As if fictionalising first hand experiences is not enough to draw the reader in, it is clear that vast amounts of research were also done. The descriptions of the realities of a canal worker’s life in the early 20th century or those of a conquistador in the mid 17th century are barely less genuine than those of a 21st century cruiser.

Five stars from me

The Silver Spider turned out to be a real page turner that I devoured in just a few sittings. I highly recommend it to cruisers or non-cruisers alike. The fictional story blended with living experiences is a wonderfully immersive idea that more cruising-writers should immitate.

Video Interview
In the NewsTop

Interview – Video

We were recently contacted by a local journalist from Everything Mandurah who asked to interview us about our unusual life and this video is the result. We hope you enjoy it!   This Mandurah family...

Continue reading

Carpe Vitem
Life AboardTop

Carpe Vitem

swashbuckle /ˈswɒʃbʌk(ə)l/ verb gerund or present participle: swashbuckling engage in daring and romantic adventures with bravado or flamboyance. In a half successful attempt to add a little greenery...

Continue reading

Life AboardSimplifyingTop

For the Love of Hot Bread

As I write this in the cockpit wrapped in a blanket, I must say I’m feeling pretty good with myself. The Saturday morning air is brisk and the late autumn sun is sparkling off the glassy water as it...

Continue reading

A cold winter morning

Boat Projects – Past and Future

This morning at five thirty when my alarm clock went off, I found it very difficult to get myself out from under the blankets. Admittedly I did stay up too late last night binge watching some Netflix, but...

Continue reading


Addressing Fears

Fear of the unknown is natural. Whether you are from the “survival of the fittest” camp or the “intelligent design” camp, all must agree that being cautious of things we have no...

Continue reading

Life AboardTop

One Year Aboard Retrospective – The Good, the Bad & the Ugly

As our one year anniversary of moving aboard is just around the corner, I wanted to step back a little and take an honest look at this new life and in which ways it has changed us, in which ways it has...

Continue reading

Raymarine i70

Supervising the Iron Jib

Time for a technical post about some swish new gear I have just finished installing on Venilia. But first, some background. Background A couple months ago, we took our home, comforts and all, over to...

Continue reading

Life Aboard

How we got here

So, I guess you may be wondering what could have gone so wrong in these people’s lives that they gave it all up to go live in a tiny space (with kids nonetheless)? Ever since Sheree and I met, we...

Continue reading

Kids on a BoatLife Aboard

Cruising with Kids – Safety Aboard

I receive a lot of enquiries both from strangers and friends about our unusual home and choices, many of these from parents who are flirting with the idea of doing something like this themselves. A very...

Continue reading