Based on the true-life story of the shipwreck of the Royal Charter in 1859, The Charter, Gillian Hamer's debut novel, opens with a chilling account told from the point of view of a child who dies in the disaster. The child’s tale comes back to haunt both reader and Sarah Morton, the modern-day main character, as we move with Sarah from the funeral of her estranged father through tragedy, intrigue and fear.
Instead of a straightforward will, Sarah’s father leaves instructions which have her fearing even her childhood friends and questioning everyone’s motives and actions. The Royal Charter was carrying gold from Australia when it went down with tremendous loss of life. The descendants of both survivors and rescuers seem to have much to hide and Sarah is soon swept up in the history of the shipwreck, but nothing and no one is as it seems on the surface. In a race to find the missing gold, Sarah’s life and sanity is put in jeopardy again and again.
This well crafted story of greed and intrigue kept me absorbed from the first page to the last. I would have no hesitation in recommending The Charter.