Holt, Mar 2002, 25.00, 368 pp.
In April 1990 from a jail cell on Tahiti, Olivia Wyvern writes a letter to the daughter she placed for adoption years ago. Olivia tries to explain what happened that led to her current “home”. Liv's father Jon was a Royal Air Force pilot who survived Hitler, but vanished during a Korean War mission leaving behind a grieving family of three women and Lord Jim the parrot. Though neither the plane nor his body was found his family always sought news on Jon.
In 1988, while Liv lived in Vancouver and her sister in London, Lord Jim dies and a few days later, mother passes away too. The two sisters go through two centuries of family stuff when Liv finds an 1899 journal written by Frank Henderson telling his adventures with Queen Victoria's grandsons Princes Eddy and George. This leads Liv to come to Tahiti to learn about Jon's disappearance. Instead she's arrested on phony murder and spy charges. While lingering in her cell, Liv learns about her own daughter, a product of a seducer who promised her information on Jon and never delivered.
HENDERSON'S SPEAR is a complex historical tale that never loses its path while entertaining the audience. Though the narrator Liv tells the story late in the twentieth century, she relates her present predicament with the 1899 Henderson diary and the Korean War vanishing of her father without either account losing steam. The two subplots tie brilliantly back together as Ronald Wright proves he has the right stuff with a forceful twentieth century triumph that genre fans will appreciate.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner