The Law of Storms

The true story of the RMS Rhone and the Great Virgin Islands hurricane of 1867

Non-Fiction - Historical
196 Pages
Reviewed on 08/04/2018
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    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

The Law of Storms is a true to life historical account by author Joan Martelli which delivers the true story of the RMS Rhone and the Great Virgin Islands hurricane of 1867. This prose-style account of real events brings to life the moments after a huge category 3 hurricane hits one of the Virgin Islands in the year 1867, which caused a luxury passenger ship of the time to sink. The story goes on to explain the experiences of the two captains aboard the RMS Rhone and the survivors of the sinking ship, who were then the unfortunate victims of a whole other series of natural events which struck the island in the following month. The tale relies on both human error and the desire to survive to tell its story of life and death against nature and the weather.

Joan Martelli writes the story of the RMS Rhone like a novel and, as such, it’s sometimes difficult to remember that her account of these terrible events is horrifyingly true. It’s clear to see that The Law of Storms has been researched very well, and I was engrossed by the running of the ship and the bringing to life of Woolward and Woolley, the ship’s two captains. This particular element added such a powerful human quality to the account that made it really hit home. Though it’s a relatively short book, it’s a perfect read for those fascinated by history and human endeavor in times of hardship, written with real compassion and artistic flair.