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The Assiduous Quest of Tobias Hopkins: The Complete Novel

Leon Huet's review 

*****

Dec 02, 2016

Read from November 30 to December 02, 2016

A terrifically well-written novel that immediately immersed me within the 17th century Caribbean, with all the swashbuckling and adventure that brings to mind. The author writes in a lyrical, literary way that brings the story to life from the first page, plunging us into the sights, sounds and tastes of another world. Some might not be accustomed to (or like) a narrator who doesn’t spell everything out, but for me it really adds to the colour and believability of a tale – one you’re given fleeting glimpses into. In fact, I’d go so far to say that this author has crafted a compelling and distinctive ‘voice’; something not many are able to claim.

I wouldn’t normally opt for a historical novel about seafaring adventures, but I hugely enjoyed the story and the characters. I’m also not hugely clued up on naval traditions, but from a land forces military perspective, a young man of the right class in the 17th century could certainly expect to be in command of older and more experienced men, such as the seadogs who follow the protagonist Hopkins – something questioned by other reviewers. I found him to be an interesting, appealing and principled character who was realistically tempered by the older, but lower class, John Fowler.

The author has a tremendous ear for the stilted, precise dialogue of the 17th century (particularly when it is mixed with seafaring slang), as well as detail and original metaphor. Furthermore, as is frequently the case with more literary novels, it is often the quality of writing amongst all else that compels one to keep reading. To marry it with a well-drawn cast of characters, mystery, drama, intrigue, adventure and a vivid, vibrant world, is hugely commendable.

 

 

 

The Assiduous Quest of Tobias Hopkins: The Complete Novel

A swashbuckling adventure

ByReader Feederon November 18, 2016

Format: Paperback

From the opening paragraph, The Assiduous Quest of Tobias Hopkins captures your attention and locks you in. The author places you in the center of the action, almost as if you were sitting on a perch during a time of conflict between the Spanish and the English. The story follows Tobias, a young merchant seaman, who acquires a ship and sets sails to Barbados to discover the fate of his father. The reader is taken on a journey filled with intrigue, mystery and adventure. It is well written and the characters are well developed.

At the beginning of the story, we see Toby dealing with the loss of his ship and and his assets. At the same time there is a mystery surrounding ruthless murders. The story gets really good when the two story lines begin to blend together. There is great sea adventure, a treasure hunt and plenty of action. This is a fun read. I would highly recommend this book.

 

 

 

The Assiduous Quest of Tobias Hopkins: The Complete Novel

*****

Brilliant!

ByAmazon Customeron November 18, 2016

Format: Paperback

James Faro's portrayal of 17th century Jamaica in, The Assiduous Quest of Tobias Hopkins is a colorful picturesque narrative. Fargo brings the reader into the scenes with his well-crafted, easy flow writing. Through the pages of the book, I was transported to Jamaica as it were in the 17th century. I smelled the food, witnessed the beautiful scenery, the pain, the hurt, I experienced it all. What a quest for poor Toby. The author portrays him true to cast. Actually, the entire cast of characters was well-developed, which adds to the authenticity of the story. What can I say, other than: The Assiduous Quest of Tobias Hopkins will keep you turning the pages until you come to the wonderful end. Brilliant!

 

 

 

 

The Assiduous Quest of Tobias Hopkins: The Complete Novel

Jay Saph's review 

***

Nov 04, 2016

Read from October 26 to November 03, 2016

Faro's novel follows the life of a young sea faring businessman (Tobias Hopkins) set in a 17th century New World/Caribbean setting. The story is mainly focused on Toby's search for his father coupled with his efforts to recover from the unexpected loss of his ship. Toby bumps into a whole plethora of characters during his quest that range from the seedy workers/frequenters of local whorehouses, farmers, mystery relatives, seafarers etc etc. 

For me the real strength of the book was the author's ability to paint an accurate picture of how life would have been during this time. He describes well the street scene, the sights and sounds of a bustling town full of cut throat opportunists and darkened streets. There is a parallel thread where detectives investigate a grisly murder or two.

Faro's writing is intricate, flowery and formal which I sometimes noticed fluctuated from the brilliant to the slightly stilted. I also encountered some awkward point of view shifts and overly intrusive narration. I didn't need to be told everything. That said, the author conjured up some excellent metaphors which seemed wholly appropriate to the historical setting.

I think this novel is great fare for fans of this genre but unfortunately I wasn't taken by it as much as I hoped.

 

 

 

The Assiduous Quest of Tobias Hopkins: The Complete Novel

Karen Ginther's review 

****

Oct 24, 2016

Read from October 01 to 17, 2016

I enjoyed learning about commerce, shipping, and island life in the 1600's. Very interesting, very real seeming. I thought Author James Faro did a good job of conveying those aspects of the story. It meandered off the main idea quite a bit and ventured into a mystery tale as well as an account of Toby's adventures. It took me at least a third of the way into the story to really get interested. All in all, a good read.

 

 

 

The Assiduous Quest of Tobias Hopkins: The Complete Novel

*****

A great adventure you'll be inspired by

BySusan Day (Author/Illustrator Astro's Adventures)on October 19, 2016

Format: Paperback

If you like swash-buckling adventures you are going to love this book.

There is no doubt that the author’s naval history provided him with the knowledge and experiences to bring this tale to light.

Our hero is Tobias Hopkins, who we meet when he arrived in Jamaica to discover the truth about his missing father. 

After finding his father had been dead for six years, Tobias also discovers he has a half-brother.

However, the adventures really begin when Toby receives clues about the possibility of an inheritance. 

The sub-plot is used to weave a series of murders around Tobias’ adventures and, without giving anything away, really adds to the value of this novel.

James Faro’s visually inspired language would enthuse any land-lover to set sail upon the rich and tempting seas.

Give The Assiduous Quest of Tobias Hopkins a read – I’m sure you want be sorry.

 

 

 

The Assiduous Quest of Tobias Hopkins: The Complete Novel

****

Murderers and Pirates and Prostitutes, Oh My!

ByDavyne DeSyeon October 18, 2016

Format: Paperback

This book certainly lives up to its description as a “historical thriller.”

The writing is impressive – a bit formal, which makes it absolutely perfect for a story set in the 17th century. The writing itself (the author’s word choices, sentence structure, etc.) adds so much to the book that I almost want to classify it as a character. Really well done. I loved the dialogue which seemed true and appropriate to each person.

Also, I very much enjoyed the vivid descriptions of life on a ship and in Jamaica. The scenes absolutely come alive without having too much exposition. With prostitutes, murderers, pirates, mistresses, the characters are a lively and well conceived.

My only complaint about the book is related to some of the characters themselves. The main character, Toby, seems a very proper, honorable fellow that I want very much to like, but I also want to know more about his past, his feelings about his dead mother, sisters and finally, father, how he feels about Sarah, or Elizabeth, etc. Also, while we are introduced to some spectacular characters in Elizabeth, Magdelena and Beatrice, I feel like I didn’t get to see enough of them or learn enough about them. I guess, in the end, this says a lot about the quality of the writing, since I wanted more!

This was a fun read. I felt absolutely plunged into each scene and the excitement of fights, storms, etc. I strongly recommend this book to anybody who enjoys a historical thriller.

 

 

 

The Assiduous Quest of Tobias Hopkins: The Complete Novel

*****

Great escape into 17th century Jamaica!!!

ByTassaon October 17, 2016

Format: Kindle Edition

It's the seventeenth century and the it's The Golden Age

Of Piracy. The story is set in the Carribean, specifically Jamaica, specifically Port Royal. That's the same place that Blackbeard and his peers hung out, when they weren't out at sea, sinking merchant ships. I've heard so many pirate stories (one of my fave subjects) that it's nice to read a more mundane exploration of that same time period and area. 

Jamaica used to be a very rough place. This story effortlessly and thoroughly describes the swashbuckling fierceness of those times. It's a terribly thrilling, exciting, and interesting read. Tobias is a normal guy who keeps learning about life and all it's hardships. In that sense, it's a tough read because I like Tobias. I see a lot of myself in him. Just like that baby sea turtle, you just have to pick yourself up and keep going. 

This book is a great escape into one of my fave eras and places. I've heard many accounts of pirates in the Carribean, and it's terribly interesting to read a learned person's account to what he thought those days were like. Lots of research has gone into this book. It's a wealth of detail and intrigue that surpass any other same-era story I've read. 

 

 

 

The Assiduous Quest of Tobias Hopkins: The Complete Novel

****

Interesting Historical Novel

ByMr. H.on August 29, 2016

Format: Kindle Edition

I received The Assiduous Quest of Tobias Hopkins by James Faro in exchange for an honest review.

I don’t often get a chance to read historical fiction, and know little about Jamaica in the late 17th century. So I was interested in reading this well paced adventure.

The protagonist of this story, Tobias Hopkins, a.k.a. Toby, is a complex character, by turns likable and annoying. Overall, I really enjoyed the story, and it was a quick, easy read.

Faro's understanding of the 18th century Caribbean is very thorough, and I think he researched his adventure novel well.

 

 

 

The Assiduous Quest of Tobias Hopkins: The Complete Novel

****

Francis Mont's review 

Aug 10, 2016

In 1675. New England trader, Tobias Hopkins, arrives in Jamaica to discover the truth about his missing father.

The story goes on to give a convincing account of 17th century life in the Caribbean, including state sponsored piracy, gruesome murders (without being too graphic about them) and the lives of ordinary folks -- a life we would find scary today, to say the least.

While reading the book I was impressed by the thorough research the author must have undertaken in order to learn the proper language, the vocabulary pertaining to merchant ships, down to the smallest detail. However, when I got to the end of the book and read the author’s bio, his familiarity with all this was somewhat explained when I read the following:

“James Faro joined the Merchant Navy at the age of sixteen, travelling extensively throughout Brazil, North America and the Caribbean.”

The plot is moving at a good pace, not boring for a second and keeps you turning pages in search of what comes next. The characters are well drawn and convincing and the dialogue sounds authentic for the period. 

I had the feeling that the author should have finished the book before getting into unnecessary complications at the end but I assume, many authors are reluctant to part with their creation and hope to live with their heroes and villains a bit longer.

All in all, it was an enjoyable book and I recommend it to anyone who likes well written action/adventure stories written in authentic language.

 

 

The Assiduous Quest of Tobias Hopkins: The Complete Novel

*****

ByFifty Sheds of Bookson August 4, 2016

Format: Kindle Edition

From its evocative cover to its final page, The Assiduous Quest of Tobias Hopkins is an engrossing story. The author writes with authority and a deep knowledge of his subject and that authority and knowledge place you in the heart of the action.

This high-seas adventure contains plenty of adventure and a page turning mystery. The setting of the seventeenth century Caribbean is well evoked and as I read the book I found the strains of Lord Granville by Al Stewart drifting through my mind, another quality tale, albeit set to music, of high-seas skullduggery.

The human element of the story, Tobias Hopkins' quest to find his long lost father, engages your emotions and keeps you turning the pages. A wonderful cast of supporting characters, some good, some bad, some displaying dubious motives add to the intricacy of the novel. 

If you are looking for a realistic historical story combining adventure and mystery you will enjoy The Assiduous Quest of Tobias Hopkins.

 

 

 

 

*****

The Assiduous Quest of Tobias Hopkins is a historic seafaring ...

ByDonnon July 31, 2016

Format: Paperback

The Assiduous Quest of Tobias Hopkins is a historic seafaring adventure set in the Caribbean. Its author thoroughly knows his subject. James Faro takes you back to 17th century Jamaica with details, descriptions, and dialogue that are so vivid and authentic, you’ll swear he must have been a pirate of the Caribbean in a former life. Faro doesn’t try to overly impress the reader with historic detail, but rather blends it artfully into the story, bringing it to life, giving it meaning. 

A series of unfortunate events takes Tobias Hopkins (Toby), a trader and ship’s captain, to Jamaica, where Toby’s ship is attacked during a trading run. As a result, he and his remaining men find temporary safe haven on another sailing vessel that’s headed to Jamaica. It is on this ship where Toby hears a tale from a seedy, drunken sailor about his father. Toby hasn’t seen his father since his dad took to the sea, leaving Toby and a young family back in England. 

Arriving in Jamaica, Toby hits the streets in search of his dad and to purchase another ship, hoping to take his crew back to their families. His path takes him to dingy hotels, bars, brothels and eventually to Magdalena, his father’s former housekeeper and mother of his half-brother Eduardo. He learns from Magdalena that his father has been dead for several years. She also gives Toby a letter from his father, written to Toby and his family. The mysterious letter kicks off Toby’s dangerous quest where James Faro continues to weave his tale of intrigue. Will Toby find fortune, or will evil find Toby? 

I am not typically a reader of historic fiction, but I was immediately captivated by James Faro’s writing style. Because of my schedule, it took me longer than I wanted to read the book, but each time I came back to it, I didn’t want to put it down, and you won’t either.

I received a copy of this novel in exchange for an unbiased review. I would have gladly paid for the entertainment it provided.

 

 

 

The Assiduous Quest of Tobias Hopkins: The Complete Novel

*****

A very well done historical fiction

ByJosh Cookon July 29, 2016

Format: Kindle Edition

Being a fan of what's known as 'historical fiction' I was looking forward to reading this book, and I was not sorry I did. A well paced adventure, it takes the reader on one great adventure. The book was well written, and exposes you to a different time and place, where not everything was known, and finding out someone's true motives were a lot harder than today.

This was a very very good read. I very much recommend it for fans of the genre, and even for those who aren't.

 

 

 

The Assiduous Quest of Tobias Hopkins: The Complete Novel

****

Hard to put down

By Page LaRue on July 24, 2016

Format: Kindle Edition

Tobias Hopkins is a young English ship captain without a ship, after French pirates stole it and its crew to attack the rich Spanish city of Maracaibo, Venezuela. The year is 1675, during the first part of the Golden Age of Piracy- the buccaneer period. The setting is the Caribbean Sea, but mainly Jamaica and Nevis. Tobias (Toby) is on a quest to find his long lost father, who a gypsy said is on “the English isle in the Caribee sea”.

Toby assumes she means the English colony of Barbados. Sailing there is the beginning of his problems. Had he initially gone to the “English Isle” of Jamaica, which he learns (the hard way) is correct, things might have turned out better.

The author lays out a complicated mystery set in the violent seventeenth century Caribbean. In places it was hard to follow. Nautical jargon wasn’t always clarified for landlubbers and some characters are introduced, then not brought up again.

Still, the story is hard to put down. I found a lot to enjoy in Tobias’s “assiduous quest.” Others will too. Just be patient and keep reading.

I received a digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

 

 

 

The Assiduous Quest of Tobias Hopkins: The Complete Novel

*****

This book takes you for a walk in the past

ByOKPon July 23, 2016

Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase

This book takes you for a walk in the past following Tobias Hopkins, the captain of a ship wrecked ship, and who was troubled by the loss of his mother and two sisters in the Great Fire of London and who had set on a travel to Barbados to find the details of his father who had disappeared a long ago. The journey in this book was full of adventure, fine reading, and excitement of what was to happen next. I enjoyed this book from beginning to end.

 

 

 

The Assiduous Quest of Tobias Hopkins: The Complete Novel

***

A diligent quest for father, fortune, and fairness

ByL. Martinon July 23, 2016

Format: Kindle Edition

The quest of Tobias Hopkins is a personal one: to find his father who left England on sea voyage and was not again heard from. Launched into the quest by tragic deaths of his family in a fire, he obtains a ship and sails to the West Indies in the 1670s. Tobias is first met as he battles to save his crew from pirates, eventually arriving in Jamaica after some rip-roaring battle scenes. There he follows clues about his father that lead to a plantation and step-family he never knew about and learning of the death of his father, who left a cryptic message that Toby deciphers pointing to a fortune his father had hidden. In pursuing the quest, Toby encounters a rowdy assortment of opportunists in a new land; some become his allies and others enemies after the hidden fortune. Scenes of life in tropical Caribbean towns of the period are pungent with exotic smells, sounds, appearance, and customs—many unpredictable and violent. There are several edgy violent scenes, but not overly graphic. Descriptions of sailing, ships, and mariners are filled with details that only a knowledgeable seaman could write, giving authenticity and immersing the reader in the experience. 

The character Toby is both sympathetic and annoying, keeping his emotions guarded while showing courage and loyalty. His shipmates, women companions, and enemies are nicely drawn, although the Jamaican dialect given his step-mother and family makes cumbersome reading. There are some other spelling/grammar errors. The plot moves along steadily enough with twists that keep readers interested. A few themes are disconnected; the murders being investigated by police are loosely related to Toby and never well resolved, the woman in Boston (Sarah) is mentioned in letters but never encountered. The ending leaves readers suspended, with an important character (Beatrice) just disappearing while the revenge scene for the last villain (de Groot) stretches out too long. We get the impression Toby is returning to his plantation but are waiting to see "where next this journey will lead him."

Overall, an enjoyable action-adventure set in lusty seafaring locales in early colonial times. "The Complete Book" is a combination of three sections that can be read separately. It seems as if there should be a fourth section; the author has indicated that one is planned. 

 

 

 

This book takes you for a walk in the past

ByOKPon July 23, 2016

Format: Kindle EditionVerified PurchaseThis book takes you for a walk in the past following Tobias Hopkins, the captain of a ship wrecked ship, and who was troubled by the loss of his mother and two sisters in the Great Fire of London and who had set on a travel to Barbados to find the details of his father who had disappeared a long ago. The journey in this book was full of adventure, fine reading, and excitement of what was to happen next. I enjoyed this book from beginning to end.

 

 

 

The Assiduous Quest of Tobias Hopkins: The Complete Novel

****

Well written with exceptional characters

By Rebecca on July 21, 2016

Format: Paperback

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Historical fiction is not a genre that I've delved into much. To be completely honest, history and I have never much gotten along. I typically landed B's and C's in my classes due to an inability to keep up with dates, years, and geography.

Despite that, there have been a handful of historical fiction books that have sparked my interest and managed to maintain it throughout the entire work. The Assiduous Quest of Tobias Hopkins is one of them.

I enjoyed all the characters and felt that they were incredibly well developed and thought out. Additionally the plot is great and keeps you intrigued throughout the course of the work.

There were a few times when I felt my head spinning a bit and had to put the book down for a day or so, but that's more to do with my difficulties with historical fiction than with the author's skills. As other reviewers have mentioned, the prose is very well written and offers up smooth reading.

Overall it's an excellent read and if you're a fan of historical fiction, then this is one I would recommend.

 

 

 

The Assiduous Quest of Tobias Hopkins: The Complete Novel

****

A nice experience

BySandy Martinson July 19, 2016

Format: Paperback

I ended totally engaged with the story. It was as reading a lost text which resembled pretty much Black Sails series. The life in the Caribbean during seventeen century and how sailors dealt with pirates, a reality as incredibly palpable in the book, besides all the fascination their legend has carried during centuries. There are notes of romanticism from the age and at the same time, it shows intrigue, murder and mystery as complements of Toby's adventure. Toby, I must say, is a fantastic character; besides all the paradigm of his leading role, he felt genuine and didn't let me down, in the end, he delivered, more than I imagined. I loved it!

 

 

 

 

 

The Assiduous Quest of Tobias Hopkins: The Complete Novel

***

A rich and well written historical novel

By James Hockley on July 18, 2016

Format: Paperback

This is a nice mystery tale of a somewhat eccentric merchant captain called Tobias Hopkins. Fortune appears to be against our hero, but through this story, he manages to turn fortune back to his side - in part thanks to the guiding hand of his lost father. The writing is well constructed and cleverly toned to the 18th century (ish) where our novel is set. It was a bit slow for my liking, and I can't say I ever felt overly attached to any of the characters, but it was an interesting and colourful read. Overall I would say that I liked this book.

James Faro is an ex-sailor in the merchant navy, and his knowledge and understanding shine through in the text. The technical nautical terminology was woven in so perfectly that even though I am not a sailor – I don't know the name of all the sails! – it didn't matter. The sailors in the story seemed to know what they were doing, and that's all that matters really.

And this is also a really excellent piece of prose. Smooth and unblemished, and yet woven to the 18th century as mentioned above. It was never a chore to read, and there did not seem to be superfluous or excessive text. Nice work.

However, despite this, I did find that the story was a touch sedate for my liking. It is certainly not the execution that slowed this down; rather this moved at the pace of Toby's own personality. And Toby, being a logical, somewhat fussy, and well considered man, gives us a story in his own image. So if you're after raw emotion and charged action, then Toby is not your hero. He is more Holmes than Bond.

But this does mean that emotional peaks and troughs are fairly genteel in this story, and for me that meant that I wasn't able to engage on a raw level with the characters. It was a bit like meeting a very straight and well-considered colleague at work: it is never a chore and I wouldn't speak anything but positively about them, but I wouldn't invite them to the pub. It's quite a formal relationship we have with Toby – just how Toby would like it I suspect.

Part of the challenge here might be that I don't think Toby actually changes much throughout the novel – he is not really challenged to adapt as misfortune befalls him. In fact, he rather strolls through the challenge, albeit with some help from Lady Luck. And therein lies the problem. If he was challenged more, then we may be drawn into his vulnerability. As it is, Toby remains a straight up recognisable character, but still not well understood. Or maybe it's just me!

However, this is certainly not saying that the characters are flat and under-developed; they are not. They are very rich in fact, and James's understanding of the 18th century Caribbean is truly excellent. His portrayal of the local people, places, and culture were vivid and enjoyable – a treat for anyone who has limited exposure to that historical period. Like me! The details in here are really enjoyable.

Beyond this, a word of caution. I think that this novel has actually been split into three "books", and I must admit that I don't know how this would work. It seemed to make sense as an overall novel, but there aren't clear separation points to turn it into a quick-fire trilogy. I would recommend reading the whole novel. The best bits are (invariably) at the end of the story, so if you read this in "parts" then you're in danger of doing Toby an injustice!

 

 

 

The Assiduous Quest of Tobias Hopkins: The Complete Novel

***

Linda Kenny's review 

Jul 14, 2016

I chose this book because of the reviews I read on Goodreads but I really felt the story was disjointed, no smooth transitions. The hero was too naive to be believed.

 

 

 

The Assiduous Quest of Tobias Hopkins: The Complete Novel

***

Mike Blick's review 

Jul 05, 2016

This was an enjoyable read. I don't feel that it's deserving of its 4+ star ranking though.

 

 

 

The Assiduous Quest of Tobias Hopkins: The Complete Novel

Well-recommended if you enjoy historical novels

BySonal Panseon July 4, 2016

*****

Format: Paperback

Set in 1675, during the height of the maritime rivalry between the Spanish and the English, 'The Assiduous Quest of Tobias Hopkins' by James Faro - who has a naval background - is a very well-written, well-paced, and engaging account of Tobias Hopkins, a young merchant seaman who left England to begin life anew in Maryland.

Haunted by the loss of his mother and two sisters in the Great Fire of London and dogged by a set of other misfortunes in Maryland, Tobias acquires a ship, The Chesapeake Venture, and sets course for Barbados to discover the fate of his long-lost father. 

At the time, piracy was commonplace in the region, and The Chesapeake Venture is commandeered by French buccaneers and roped in to attack the Spanish colony of Maracaibo in Venezuela. The story actually opens here, with the subsequent sinking of the ship by the Spanish port defenders and the rescue of Tobias and his surviving crew by the English ship, Lady Charlotte. They are taken to Port Royal, Jamaica, and, en route, an English seaman mentions sailing with a man named Hopkins, whose description fits that of Tobias's father, and this renews his flagging hope of finding him.

A parallel story-line follows Sergeant Smithson and his assistant, Corporal Jones, as they investigate a series of brutal murders in St. Jago de la Vega and Port Royal.

Are these murders connected in any way to Tobias's quest for his father? Read the book to find out.

The author has done a great job of detailing the maritime life of the 1600s and the brutality of the privateers. I particularly liked the scene of the storm, very vividly done, you might almost be there to experience the unruly sea. The descriptions of the Jamaican town-life and the countryside are also well-rendered.

Tobias is a likable character, not a swashbuckler for all his adventures. He is introverted in disposition, rather unsure of himself, a bit pompous, and easily embarrassed. He feels responsible for his crew, but is incapable of mixing with them informally like his First Mate John Fowler. Tobias has a lady friend, Sarah, in Plymouth, with whom he corresponds, and, in Port Royal, where he acquires a new ship, The Dunstan, he meets Elizabeth, a rich whore, who invests in his business and gives him important trading contacts. He seems attracted to her friend, Beatrice, but does nothing about it. Beatrice helps him to find his step-mother, Magdalena and his half-brother, Eduardo, and later stows away on his new ship, a fateful decision as it turns out.

All the characters are well-sketched and believable. My only issue was that the conversations seemed a fit forced at times, not entirely natural, and I'm not sure what the point was of inserting the lesbianism between Beatrice and Elizabeth. It didn't seem to fit in with the story structure.

That aside, this book was a marvelous experience. Well-recommended if you enjoy historical novels.

I received a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest, non-reciprocal review.

 

 

The Assiduous Quest of Tobias Hopkins: The Complete Novel

****

Toby Hopkins-A Journey in Jamaica

By K. Kumar on July 3, 2016

Format: Kindle Edition

In the 17th century, Toby Hopkins is a ship merchant who finds himself stuck in Jamaica after being attacked by pirates. Much of his crew has died and he is forced to pick up the pieces. While in Jamaica, he learns of what happened to his father and gets entangled in a murder mystery.

Overall, this is a well written, enjoyable book. The author does a good job of transporting the reader back in time to colonial Jamaica with all the visceral descriptions of city life, with a good mix of unseemly characters, brothels, and saloons. There is also a nice rendering of sea life with Toby as the oft-questioned Captain trying to manage a crew doubtful of his capabilities. And for good reason.

Toby is an interesting character, but I found his characterization at times annoying. He comes off at times as elitist, naive, and also compassionate. He never seems in control of what is happening, constantly feeling undermined and out of place. He is curious but he doesn't seem to trust anyone. 

The only challenge I had was with the vernacular of the ship. At times, I wasn't quite sure what was happening on the boat and where it was happening. It might be helpful to familiarize yourself with the terminology. Other than that, it's a solid piece of historical fiction.

 

 

 

The Assiduous Quest of Tobias Hopkins: The Complete Novel

Pirates and Mysteries of the Caribbean, June 22, 2016

By 

T. Blake Braddy

This review is from: The Assiduous Quest of Tobias Hopkins: The Complete Novel (Kindle Edition)

The Assiduous Quest of Tobias Hopkins' is a historical novel set in various international points and revolves around a main character in a Dickensian plot who gets caught up in various adventures. The eponymous main character is in search of his father, Edward Hopkins, who disappeared some fifteen years earlier. The trip, as the novel begins, takes Toby to Jamaica, although the speed with which the names of places comes at you, it could also have been Maracaibo, as well. (I'm terrible with geography and setting in novels.) Toby is a nice, if bland, protagonist, and yet he is thrown into some interesting situations with unsavory characters, which provides the novel with some much-needed life.

What 'Assiduous Quest' does exceptionally well is capture the bustle of a 17th century port town. There is an energy to the seemingly accurate descriptions of how people lived and what interests they might have taken: whores, booze, and adventure chief among them. There are several stereotypes here -- including a quite interesting 'prostitute with a heart of gold' character -- but all in all, the characters are well-written. Tobias himself can be coy to the point of frustration, and much of his background comes in the form of exposition, rather than dialogue, which is okay, save for the fact that he has plenty of opportunities to speak about himself, rather than have it objectively spewed about him.

There's just enough murder and intrigue to keep the book interesting for me. I'm not very fond of books that seek to be intentionally old-fashioned with regard to the period and the language. I'd much rather have a more realistic and less romanticized view of the times, and 'Tobias Hopkins' strikes a fine balance. While Faro adopts a fairly straightforward, if flowery, approach to diction and syntax, the situations themselves are fairly interesting. It's occasionally bawdy and sometimes violent, though not to extremes, and those spikes in plot give the book a life and verve I appreciated. Sometimes, I have to admit, I was a little lost as to character motivation and actions. I didn't always know why characters were doing what they were doing or why they were going where they were going, but I also read the book in a fevered few days over the summer.

Overall, I enjoyed 'The Assiduous Quest of Tobias Hopkins.' I think the novel works for anyone looking for a faux-19th century bildungsroman, of sorts. Since the name is rattling around in my head, I'll say it's a quaint substitute for a Charles Dickens novel. Think mid-book David Copperfield meets Pirates of the Caribbean without the swashbuckling and spectacle. It's an adventure novel that is heavy on detail and low on adventure, but it's nevertheless an enjoyable read.

 

 

The Assiduous Quest of Tobias Hopkins: The Complete Novel

Great Attention to Details of the Times

ByFuture Boyon June 6, 2016

Format: Paperback

The Assiduous Quest of Tobias Hopkins is a seafaring, and at times swashbuckling adventure in a relatively short volume. The author’s bio states he (the author himself) joined the British Merchant Navy at age sixteen (incredible for such a young age!) and travelled throughout several sea destinations such as Brazil, the Caribbean, and I presume, Europe’s coastline. In addition, he has a post-graduate degree in history from the University of Sussex. Those qualifications alone more than amply qualify him to write this book concerning a British sea captain and his voyages. Indeed, the attention to detail sounds true, and the story brings up many nautical terms I’d never heard of. I was delighted to see the word “poopdeck” used in conversation on the ship!

Having the perfect background (as this author does) doesn’t always qualify one to write a story, though, as this book, while fascinating, could have used a more integrated narrative. Sometimes the story lurches from one scene to the next, without tying them together. Example: two characters, constituting a family unit, Magdalena and her boy Edo, are under attack in a scene from two men. But it doesn’t say how they escaped or what happened to them afterwards, other than a message to Toby (the captain) chapters later that they’re alive, and the mother and son don’t appear again in the story. Example: An enterprising woman with deep pockets takes a liking to Toby and invests into his ship. But she’s not heard from again by the end of the story. Example: A nefarious villain is stranded on an island by Toby. But he re-appears and it’s not said how he escaped. I couldn’t fully keep track of the mystery that inspector Thomas Smithson was tracking down and what the motive was for finding the murderers when it had occurred four years prior to the events of this book. So my hope is that the threads would be connected better into a seamless story.

I truly enjoyed reading about the main character, yet he was portrayed as a sea captain, a role I found hard to believe. He was twenty-five years old, and it’s said that he attained this position through ownership of the ship (as opposed to be a commissioned captain on pay by an employer or government). Yet, I didn’t get how could he afford a ship—which in those days might have been the cost of a large house? I understand his family perished in a fire, while his father served as captain as well, but didn’t see any mention of Toby inheriting a fortune before becoming captain? Also, I wasn’t convinced that Toby acted and spoke like a captain; he seemed more like a lucky dude who was imagined into that position by the characters of the story and they played along with this notion. I know that in those days, men aged twenty, twenty-five, or whatever young age took on senior and responsible roles such as leader of an army, leader of a government, captain of a ship… but still, it was a little bit of a stretch (due to Toby’s meek personality and the lack of a back story as to how he stormed his way into a prominent position) to imagine him as a captain. I think in those days one would have either been a ferocious and ill-tempered brute who has gambled or stole funds, or a very experienced (and older) sea hand with years on a ship under his belt who was called into employment, in order to become captain.

One tiny thing is that a map (especially an olde world map) of the Caribbean (which I finally figured out when Jamaica was mentioned) would have been helpful, with the locations important to the story being highlighted on this map. When Toby's story started in a seaport town called Maracaibo, I thought of a Spanish harbour on the coast of Spain, hoping I wouldn’t have to consult an atlas to figure out where it was. Reading further, I couldn’t figure out where the hijacking of the ship had taken place at the beginning of the story, or even what era in history it was, although I did figure it was pre-Industrial Revolution. Finally more than halfway through the book I figured the year was 1675. As for Maracaibo, I finished he book not knowing where at all it was, and checked an atlas. I was astounded to find out that it is located on the shoreline of Venezuela, in South America. Later, I did check the whereabouts of everything, and found that indeed, there is some clear sailing between Venezuela and Jamaica, although I had no idea beforehand. My point—I think the book needs to flesh in more details as to where, when, what era, what was going on in the world. 

Having said all that, it is a fascinating book despite the lack of a firm narrator to keep things on track and to keep the story together, and the main character is very likeable, and I lapped up the seafaring terminology despite knowing nothing.

 

 

 

The Assiduous Quest of Tobias Hopkins: The Complete Novel

****

James Faro did a great job describing the 17th century through the eyes of ...

By Kari Nelsonon June 5, 2016 Format: Kindle Edition

James Faro did a great job describing the 17th century through the eyes of a sailor. Right off the bat we are directly in the middle of a naval battle which was well written and easy to picture.

I will admit on several occasions the story was leading to some excitement, but by the next chapter the author just ended it [ ie; the murder mystery, the search for his father, newly discovered half-brother, the treasure hunt, his love interest and any of the potential romantic interest. (hide spoiler)]I was a bit confused, because those story lines appeared to be interesting, but the author just abruptly ended them. The ending seemed like the long way around, but by the way that Tobias Hopkins behaved the entire book, it was clear that the author wanted him to be the squeaky clean good guy above the ills of his environment. 

James did an excellent job of allowing the reader to feel the spray of the sea and imagine the dust of the dirt streets. Not only was he was able to describe the beauty of the region he was able to capture the dangers and why some many men risked their lives in pursuit of adventure

I look forward to reading his future novels in hopes that James makes it a true murder mystery or venture down one of the many sub plots and provides a conclusion to the many sub stories.

 

 

 

 

The Assiduous Quest of Tobias Hopkins: The Complete Novel

*****

An Adventure on the High Seas

By Kayne Milhomme on May 14, 2016

Format: Kindle Edition

The Assiduous Quest of Tobias Hopkins: the Complete Novel is a remarkable high-sea adventure laced with the elements of a compelling, well-plotted mystery. The Quest primarily takes place in the 17th century Caribbean, a hotbed of danger and intrigue where the common sailor is more than willing to trade a life of honest wages for one of hazardous piracy. 

At the beginning of the novel, the protagonist, Tobias (Toby) Hopkins, has befallen one of the many curses of the sea—the loss of his ship and, therefore, his livelihood and small fortune. It is from this wreck, literally and figuratively, that Tobias must rebuild his ship and crew. Thus does Toby’s quest commence. 

The author, Mr. Faro, deftly shares a treasure trove of fascinating time period elements with the reader during the course of the story, such as the dress, food, weaponry, and anything nautical. Concurrently, he also brings the ‘timeless’ elements of the setting to life as well—the beating sun, whipping winds, lush islands, and ravaging sea—truly immersing the reader in the world of Tobias Hopkins. 

The main plot of the story is both thought-provoking and convincing, and is a good fit for the adventurous backdrop. Toby, having lost practically everything at the beginning of the novel (as previously noted), sets his sights on discovering the fate of his long lost father—and just as significantly, the fate of his father’s legacy, which could provide a wondrous boon. Additionally, the protagonist’s main storyline runs parallel to (and, as expected, eventually cleverly intersects) a mystery surrounding some ruthless murders and even more ruthless murderers. How these storylines intersect is a fascinating revelation. Also worthy of note are certain intricacies of the plot, namely a series of characters whose motives and trust are questionable, and yet who (at least in appearances) help Toby in his quest. These secondary characters and their incentives add a compelling sense of uncertainty to the outcome. 

Mr. Faro does a commendable job of tying these various themes together in an eloquent and satisfactory manner, and the story is well balanced between the elements of a swashbuckling adventure story, a well-crafted mystery, a treasure hunt, and a record of the lives of those that partook in such settings, including privateers, pirates, common sailors and the like. I would highly recommend this novel to anyone interested in an adventurous tale.

 

 

 

 

The Assiduous Quest of Tobias Hopkins: The Complete Novel

*****

A Gripping Tale

By Noisette on May 11, 2016

Format: Kindle Edition

THE ASSIDUOUS QUEST OF TOBIAS HOPKINS

This is a gripping story, set in the Caribbean in the 17th century. Tobias Hopkins, captain of a ship that is wrecked off the shore of Jamaica, is in search of a new ship to continue his trading with colonies of America. He is also on a quest to discover the fate of his father who disappeared years ago and sets himself the task of deciphering his father's cryptic message which will eventually lead to a surprise discovery. But, unbeknown to him, other more malign people are following him on his journey. In his quest he encounters many setbacks and in his naivety makes many mistakes which almost lead to the ruin of himself and his ship's crew. There are many twists and turns in the exciting plot and, although the reader is sometimes one step ahead of the hero, the story line does not lose any of its immediacy and excitement. The characters in the story are well drawn and very diverse and the reader is taken into the swashbuckling, fierce and at times gory world of Jamaica. It is a tale of intrigue, betrayal, murder and revenge. The writer appears to have done his historical research well and he clearly has a rich, detailed knowledge of a life at sea in those days. The story is very well written and I loved the original metaphors and similes used throughout. I don't normally read novels about sailing but this one certainly transported me to a different world which was entirely believable. I can thoroughly recommend this novel.

Hazel I received the book free in exchange for an honest review.

 

 

 

The Assiduous Quest of Tobias Hopkins: The Complete Novel

*****

A Sweeping Adventure

ByAmazon Customer on May 9, 2016

Format: Paperback

What a sweeping adventure! Tobias Hopkins sets out on his own ship, only to encounter a myriad of setbacks on the seas. When he finally makes it to Jamaica, more misadventures follow him as he tries to unravel the classic mystery of a buried treasure. 

There's a cast of intriguing characters, including relatives that Tobias didn't know he had and a few treasure-obsessed villains. Plus the book is peppered with authentic detail, and you can tell that the author has some nautical background. 

Be warned that the story has its dark elements - most notably some truly violent murderers - but it's an engrossing read, particularly for fans of adventure on the seas. Five stars.

 

 

 

The Assiduous Quest of Tobias Hopkins: The Complete Novel

****

Merchantmen of the Caribbean, May 8, 2016

By Amazon Customer

This review is from: The Assiduous Quest of Tobias Hopkins: The Complete Novel (Kindle Edition)

It starts with a shipwreck and privateers and then it gets really interesting. The Caribbean in the 17th century was a boisterous, much-disputed, violent place, where fortunes were made and lost overnight. This big, involved novel takes place mainly in Jamaica. The Tobias Hopkins of the title, is a young merchant captain who loses his vessel and hard-earned fortune on page 1 – and this is only the latest of his misadventures! Now, his challenges are to get another ship and eke out his depleted crew, while also following up some clues to the whereabouts of his missing father. Meanwhile, Sergeant Smithson of the Port Royal militia is investigating a series of gruesome murders that span five years. The two stories proceed in parallel, unknown to each other, though they are, of course, connected. 

Toby is, frankly, a bit of a doofus: he’s stiffly upright, aloof, self-preoccupied and often oblivious. Yet, he’s oddly likeable in his consistent decency: he takes honour, loyalty and responsibility very seriously. And he does make some tentative personal contacts. We don’t see very much of Smithson, but he makes an impression. The minor characters, including the villains, also ring true and have sufficient presence for their roles. It’s an adventure story: we don’t need profound personality studies. 

While my familiarity with the period is limited, I knew some of the facts mentioned. More importantly, the setting feels authentic. Details about the clothing, mores, weapons, place names, local lore - and especially the ships! – make a vivid, convincing background to the action. The language sounds right, though I noticed odd spelling in a few places, as if the text had been transcribed by someone unfamiliar with the words. There are a few scenes of sadistic violence, but the author doesn’t dwell on them unduly. The action is well paced, with plenty of suspense. The climactic event is handled very deftly. The outcome is generally satisfactory.

My only disappointment was with the denouement. The story seems to wind down rather abruptly: people we’ve come to care simply disappear. Instead of the Groot scene at the end, I’d have preferred a description of Toby’s circumstances; instead of a 3-year elision, a chapter on his Jamaican enterprise, and another about the subsequent lives and relationships of the secondary actors.

 

 

 

 

The Assiduous Quest of Tobias Hopkins: The Complete Novel

*****

Pirates, Gold, Adventure, Tropical Seas…

ByJen L.on May 7, 2016

Format: Kindle Edition

This is the REAL Pirates of the Caribbean, the non-Disney ADULT version with much more depth and structure. Faro takes you away into a tropical sea of greed, men, thieves, where life is of lesser value. He adds comic to missing limbs, decapitated heads, and altogether death. Having you think twice, that maybe we add too much value to life in our modern day.

An accurate depiction of this time in history, set in the very late 1600’s, Faro wittingly writes in classic seamen jargon, that is simple to understand and adds entertainment value to the story. It almost feels like you are reading an ancient mariner’s diary. Clearly, Faro is a sailor himself, and has delved into the depths of seamen history to write this novel. 

Excellent character complex, the protagonist, Tobias Hopkins, is on a mission to find his missing father facing obstacles along the way.

An excellent highly entertaining read.

 

 

 

The Assiduous Quest of Tobias Hopkins: The Complete Novel UK

****

Historical Mystery

By WBS on 20 April 2016

Format: Paperback

In 1695 a man travels to Jamaica to discover the truth about his missing father.

The plot was good, with a man having to overcome danger, intrigue and crack codes to find out the truth. The characters were varied and engaging – in particular the way the central individual stayed true to his own morale code was refreshing. 

The reason for my rating (3.5) is there were a few minor niggles with this book - a bit of more on the reason for the quest and some explanation of the historical setting would have been useful for the more general reader plus all the writing wasn’t as tight as the preface (which was great).

 

 

 

The Assiduous Quest of Tobias Hopkins: The Complete Novel

****

I particularly enjoy reading historical fiction as it gives me a small ...

By Stacie O. on April 17, 2016

Format: Kindle Edition

I particularly enjoy reading historical fiction as it gives me a small glimpse into the past without having to read a history book. The Assiduous Quest of Tobias Hopkins takes readers to 17th century Caribbean, a time where the Americas were still being colonized and piracy and slave trade were the norms. Two plots play out in this mystery suspense: one, a mystery involving several gruesome murders, the other, a man's desperate search for the truth behind the disappearance of his father. To be honest, I was hoping for a plot derived more from historical elements rather than the past being a mere setting to tell a story. In that sense, I wasn't completely immersed in the story and sometimes forgot where (in the world) I was. The pace was also too slow for my taste and lacked the action I wanted in a book about pirates and seafaring. That said, I found the book to be an fascinating read and appreciated the depth of research the author clearly showed in his world building and character development. As a language enthusiast, I thoroughly enjoyed the French and Spanish dialogue (of the time) sprinkled throughout the book.

This book may not be for you if you enjoy a more fast-paced, action packed plot with sword fights and sea skirmishes. However, I would absolutely recommend it to those who are fans of the historical fiction and mystery genres and enjoy more subtle and intricate story-telling.

The author provided me a free copy of this book for an unbiased review.

 

 

 

The Assiduous Quest of Tobias Hopkins: The Complete Novel

***

Dan Gillis's review 

Apr 17, 16

3 and a half stars

Prepare for a sea bound adventure in the late 17th century set primarily on the Caribbean island of Jamaica. Tobias Hopkins is an ambitious trader with a streak of back luck. While he struggles to rebuild his business caused by the loss of his vessel, Hopkins is determined to find information on his long-estranged father. His searching will inevitably entwine him with the darker side of Port Royal and a string of unsolved murders. Matters grow tense when Hopkins discovers that his father’s cryptic message will draw the perpetrators upon him as crocodiles to the hapless prey.

First off, I was pleased that the setting was superbly described and I was thoroughly immersed into the world of sails. Faro drops you right into Hopkin’s plight and while the protagonist is working through his trials the story begins to unfold. Faro takes several threads and weaves them together by the time the novel concludes. Also, I am impressed with Faro’s knowledge of the setting and general trade. I found many sequences in the novel appealed to me, particularly the family connections and how Faro weaves the sentiments between characters who are devoted to each other. 

I will say that I found Tobias’ introspection to be somewhat heavy and at times I felt it slowed the narrative. For example, Toby spends much time questioning and judging the actions of others and then is embarrassed upon discovery of truths. Sometimes I felt he was too naive for his position as a captain to function in the trade. I believe this was a tactic of Faro to drive the plot along and create tension between characters and generate conflict. In the end, I found myself being drawn away from his character and my buy-in slipping when he blundered along. 

Toby’s ignorant ways were a strange juxtaposition to the ‘inspiring captain’ persona that was occasionally applied to his character. I would have preferred to see the character stay in one type and remain static. This, of course, is a personal preference, and the side of Toby I admired was when he was facing down the storm with one hand and quelling the coup in the other. 

One area I found impacting my reading was the author’s style regarding the native speech. I understand that the language would vary with accents and I was fine with the Spanish inserts. What got me was the long stretches of dialogue where Beatrice, one of the secondary characters, would speak and think in broken English. It might just be me, but I could not make the jump in my mind to the native accent. As such my brain was churning with every dropped word. 

In all, I would recommend the novel to those who enjoy immersive sea adventures, as Faro is clearly studied in the area. His action sequences flow well and I enjoyed the tension as it was built through various scenes.

 

 

 

The Assiduous Quest of Tobias Hopkins: The Complete Novel

*****

Enjoyable.

ByMariaon April 9, 2016

Format: Kindle Edition

I recommend this book to historical fiction and mystery lovers alike. In fact I enjoyed this read so much I intend seeking out other books of the same genre mix.

After the loss of his mother and siblings in the fire of London Tobias gathers a crew and sets sail for Jamaica as a trader. He also hopes to discover what happened to his father who disappeared in the area when Tobias was a boy. His search for his father attracts the interest of others who are prepared to kill to discover his last movements. 

The time period and setting is brought to life without dragging or slowing down the pace or the intrigue of the mystery concerning his father and associates. There is just enough to set an authentic historical setting while keeping the characters and action fresh and easy to relate to as a modern reader. 

I found the character of Tobias to be a refreshing change. A man of principles he remained aloof and an intriguing enigma throughout. 

A very enjoyable read.

 

 

 

The Assiduous Quest of Tobias Hopkins: The Complete Novel

****

G.L. Wilson's review 

Apr 04, 16

As a some time sailor, boyhood fan of Hornblower and admirer of the late, great Patrick O'Brien I approached is book with some trepidation. Thankfully it as a good enough book to keep me occupied and interested to the extent that I finished it in a single sitting. 

On the plus side the author confidently displays his knowledge of all things maritime and historical and the late 17th century comes to life in an easy and natural, rather than contrived and forced way. The book follows the fortunes of Tobias Hopkins (Toby to his friends and drinking partners) S he sets out upon his assiduous quest - namely cracking a father's code. in a way Tobias has to understand the past in order to embrace his future. 

The dense and intricate narrative is full of 'events', mystery, murders (a secondary consideration that's never gruesome), and strangers hidden in the captain's cabin. 

My reservations partly have to do with the procession of 'events' and Toby's character. In some ways they feel less than fully developed. I would have liked a bit more quirkiness in both respects. A minor reservation is that the authors otherwise impressive ear for the language and style of e period occasionally slips and teeters on the edge of anachronism. 

That said this is well written and entertaining. I'm sure many people will enjoy joining the eponymous Mister Hopkins on his assiduous quest.

 

 

 

The Assiduous Quest of Tobias Hopkins: The Complete Novel

*****

Squash buckler ~ on land?

ByJESSieon March 21, 2016

Format: Kindle Edition

I love romance! Well this romance is about a man who loves his history, his ship, the sea and his men. My oh my Mr. James Faro I can only give you 5 stars, and would gladly go take a star away from many stories to tell you how I was self-absorbed. It was tough not to take my meds (as I had bronchitis with a herniated disc). This was a challenge since coughing was not allowed and the cough medication made me very sleepy. I went to sleep twice holding my tablet because I wanted to know who did what to whom and when…nope I am not a spoiler kinda gurl. I will tell you that the flow keeps you in the moment without repeating itself as many authors feel the need to do. When you are mesmerized, you don’t need to fluff words to make a novella into a novel. You simply put excellent dialogue into a setting that makes you comfortable and you do this after you are well informed and your subject matter is researched to the ‘th degree. All of these things come into play with a carefully worded plot and unpredictable ending. Some of the characters make you a bit edgy, but the right ones come around making you love them.

Well done and thank you for the opportunity to read such an excellent storyline. It’s truly has been a while since I read (and enjoyed) a squash buckler. I would do it all again. My question is always “is there a sequel?” “If so, when. No really, when?” 

 

 

 

The Assiduous Quest of Tobias Hopkins: The Complete Novel

***

Srivardhan's review 

Feb 28, 2016

The protagonist is an Idiot! While reading many times I felt why the hell this guy is acting so stupid! But, that is the story! That's the character of the protagonist!

There are gaps in the story. The author could have explained a bit more about the past of Toby and what exactly compelled him to take the journey to find his father. 

Overall a good book to read.

 

 

 

The Assiduous Quest of Tobias Hopkins: The Complete Novel

*****

A great story

By Amazon Customer on February 15, 2016

Format: Kindle Edition

James Faro is an impressive storyteller. His writing style is smooth and well-chosen to fit the story setting. His use of words adds authenticity to his narrative. Reading the story, I felt transported back in time to the 17th century Jamaica. The descriptions of the place are fascinating in their detail, vivid and colorful. The pace is brisk. The characters feel realistic and credible. The plot is well crafted, suspenseful, historically believable and endearing. Every single page holds interest and intrigue, making it a real page turner. For me the novel is a successful blend of historical fiction, adventure and mystery. I enjoyed reading it.

 

 

 

 

The Assiduous Quest of Tobias Hopkins: The Complete Novel

*****

A wonderful book

By P. Blevins on February 13, 2016

Format: Kindle Edition

The Assiduous Quest of Tobias Hopkins: the complete novel is by James Faro. It takes place on the island of Jamaica for the most part. The rest of the time it is on board ships. It takes place in the 1800’s when pirates used the island as a stopping point. Merchantmen also used this port. The English were in control of the island after having taken it from the Spanish. Two plots unravel simultaneously as the story progresses. Their plots intertwine and then separate only to intertwine again and again. 

Tobias Hopkins is originally from England; but after the notorious fire in London took the lives of his Mother and two sisters, he indentured himself to get to Maryland. He endured his indenture and eventually made enough of himself to purchase a ship to take him to find his Father who had been missing for years. His ship was taken by French pirates and used to capture and rape Spanish towns. Tobias and part of his crew eventually escaped and made their way to Jamaica where Tobias’ father was last known to have lived. Will he be able to find his Father? Will he be able to get back to America? 

Meanwhile, three men have been murdering people for years and getting away with it. Sergeant Smithson, of the English militia, had been given the assignment to find the man or men who murdered a man named Cooper and his wife four years earlier. It was obvious they had been tortured. The case came up again because Captain Rogers, a retired English officer and a sugar merchant, and his valet were found tortured and murdered. As Smithson investigates, a couple of names come up in both investigations- Keach and Hopkins. Tobias Hopkins’ Father had sent letters to both men and those letters were found in their lodgings. What does Tobias’ Father have to do with both men? Evidently someone other than Sergeant Smithson wants to know very badly? Will justice prevail? 

I had a little bit of a hard time getting into the book and started to put it down several times; however, I had promised to read it so I persevered. By the third chapter, I was hooked and it turned out to be a very good book. I think the book is a little reminiscent of stories by Robert Louis Stevenson. There is something about the language used and the descriptions which hint of R.L. Stevenson. I encourage people to read this book .

 

 

 

The Assiduous Quest of Tobias Hopkins: The Complete Novel

**

Titilation and gruesomeness; more mystery than adventure

By On the Way on January 31, 2016

Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase

I expected a swashbuckling and perhaps humorous tale. That is what I got in the first several pages. Then the gears seemed to switch to excitement in the form of descriptions of a couple gruesome murders and a titillating, if mild, sex scene. The murders appear to be related to the plot. The sex appeared to be purely gratuitous. I don't know-- I quit reading because it is not the book I expected or wanted.

 

 

 

The Assiduous Quest of Tobias Hopkins: The Complete Novel

*****

A very colorful package

By Oscar A Wiggy on January 28, 2016

Format: Kindle Edition

“The Assiduous Quest of Tobias Hopkins” by James Faro is a well told story that takes you back to the 17th century when sailors and adventures traveled the seas alongside pirates and marauders. Tobias Hopkins is the captain of a ship that is wrecked in the shallows of Jamaica which forces him to struggle in search of a new ship and the arduous task of rebuilding his crew. Hopkin’s reason for traveling, which is the main theme of the story is to set up trade between Jamaica and the new colonies in North America and also to try and find some information about his father. To complement the main theme there are also ancillary stories that ride along and provide interesting action, suspense and mystery. Murders, finding unknown relatives and interesting behaviors of the towns folk all provide color to Mr. Faro’s interesting and well developed world. Mr. Faro is also well versed in nautical engineering and jargon which makes our immersion into the story all the more interesting as well as accurate. Many times when I read a book, I find myself starting to skim the words as I start to lose interest. I can firmly say that this was not the case with “The Assiduous Quest of Tobias Hopkins”. I read every word to ensure that I was following the story for its underlying mystery and to better understand the dialog of the characters. The characters converse in old world and period correct dialog which can be a little (just a little) tough to follow but brings tons of realism to the atmosphere. It is evident that Mr. Faro processes the skills of a fine author to create such an interesting story and deliver it to us in a very colorful package.

 

 

 

The Assiduous Quest of Tobias Hopkins: The Complete Novel

****

Memorable Characters and Scenarios

By Geri G. Taylor on January 21, 2016

Format: Paperback

I accepted this book in exchange for a Goodreads review.

I read a variety of genres but rarely historicals. I have to admit; I was going out on a limb when I selected this work by Mr. Faro with a male protagonist versus say, a historical romance with a strong female lead.

It took me several pages to get into it because, when Toby, the hero of this story, is first introduced, he is not what I’d expected. But I read on and found him more acceptable mainly because the story was moving on at such a pleasant pace.

It is not a long book but plenty of ground (or should I say water) is covered in Mr. Faro’s storytelling. I learned a lot about this character as well as many others that, interesting enough, were purposefully written and had some depth. 

I actually like the way Mr. Faro titled his chapters. It worked with the style of this story. 

But overall, I really enjoyed this story. It is one of those you can cozy up to and read in a few sittings and leave with memorable characters and scenarios.

 

 

 

 

The Assiduous Quest of Tobias Hopkins: The Complete Novel

****

A great tale to read in the cold winter months!

By honolulugirl on December 8, 2015

Format: Kindle Edition

I enjoyed this book of treasure, pirates and the high seas very much.

James Faro sets the tone right from the start with a disaster aboard a ship, where the captain finds a missing arm and plucks a ring from one of the fingers to return to its owner. Now that's a pair of hardy seamen! 

The tale takes place in the Caribbean during a time when Europe was still colonizing the Americas. It has a wild west meets the islands feel, particularly in one town that's populated with bawdy saloons, sailors, prostitutes and other interesting characters. 

Toby is on the hunt for his long lost father. But his quest coincides with a mystery surrounding some gruesome murders and some super shady bad guys. As the story builds, it all comes together in a clash of forces.

I like historical fiction a lot, and James Faro has a nice tone to his writing. He uses a nice, almost old-fashioned style, which suits the narrative very well. It draws you in so that you want to curl up and disappear into the world he's created. He clearly knows his stuff when it comes to boats and that was particularly enjoyable to read.

All in all a great story that I think many readers will enjoy. A great tale to read in the cold winter months! Grab a copy and dream of warm, distant shores!

I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion. All views are my own.

 

 

 

The Assiduous Quest of Tobias Hopkins: The Complete Novel

****

The style and tone of the story was perfect for a mystery

By kaye pascal,author on December 3, 2015

Format: Kindle Edition

In the Assiduous Quest of Tobias Hopkins, James Faro creates a vivid setting filled with historical accuracy of details from petticoats, flintlocks and the use of period vernacular as Tobias begins his journey. The style and tone of the story was perfect for a mystery. From the moment the ship crashes and Tobias finds himself in Port Royal, the story unfolds to reveal a protagonist who is searching for information on an island where everything seems foreign. His quest is the fact that he wants to find out about his father who he had not seen since he was a boy. 

As the plot unfolded I was drawn to this aspect of the story. Like any good adventure there are twists and turns so Tobias who is in search of one thing finds himself with a code, mysterious encounters and surprise journeys that he was not expecting. I like this about the story because it wasn’t predictable. I was drawn in to the puzzle of Edward Hopkins and how Tobias would handle the truth.

There were plenty of characters on the canvas to work with. Beatrice is inquisitive. I found the simplicity of her vernacular to be humorous. I found the simplicity of Beatrice to be humorous. I found Smithson to be assiduous in his investigating. For a historical mystery/adventure this is a good read. This is one I would buy or give to a friend to buy.

 

 

 

The Assiduous Quest of Tobias Hopkins: The Complete Novel

****

A Seafarer's Story

By Lasa Limpin on November 15, 2015

Format: Kindle Edition

This is the story of Tobias Hopkins, whose mother and sisters are killed in the great fire of London when he is sixteen. At seventeen Toby goes in search of his lost father, a quest which leads him to the American colonies and a life at sea. When Toby's ship, the Chesapeake Venture, is taken by a pirate sloop, Toby finds himself at loose ends in Jamaica where, once again, he is on the trail of his father.

As Toby gathers crew, ship and cargo a mystery unfolds in letters and codes. How these coded letters relate to a series of gruesome murders is left to a Sergeant Smithson and Toby to work out separately. And for Toby a deeper question, how do these murders relate to the search for his father?

The writing is sober and at times gives the reader a sense of the everyday details in Toby's life. The book grows especially pleasing when the writer opens up. For example, the description of when Toby first arrives in Port Royal, Jamaica.

The author's solid grasp of nautical terminology and the details of seafaring life enhance the reader's experience and add to a sense of the vast, wide-open world of the sailor in this time period. In some ways, this was the most interesting thing about reading Toby's story. Privateering, piracy, the slave trade, extreme poverty mixed with obscene wealth—Toby experiences the burgeoning and often ugly world of global commerce.

So what we have here is a book full of pirates, secret codes, hidden treasure, a respectable amount of research and an exciting ending which all add up to a fun romp.

 

 

 

The Assiduous Quest of Tobias Hopkins: The Complete Novel

****

Thoughtful thriller

By reader on November 9, 2015

Format: Kindle Edition

To start with the book felt rather dated. The way people talked and the way things were described had an old fashioned feel. It felt almost as if you were reading a G A Henty novel. But it worked, and you were carried along on a rollicking ride through the Caribbean as the hero is captured, shipwrecked, conspired against, involved in murder and eventually gets to sorts things out.

It's a refreshingly complex book in which the story develops over the pages. The plot is not at first obvious and you only find out as you go along that the hero is on a quest to find his father and that the people meets, the murders and the detective work that you read about have a bearing on his quest.

The book gives a good picture of how life in the Caribbean went on. Authors often tend to dwell on historical background, but here it is lightly sketched in to give a flavour of the times, rather than smothering the story in ponderous detail.

My criticisms are that although the main characters are clearly drawn, some of them lack depth, and that the events towards the end of the story felt rushed and could have fitted more neatly together.

In all, though, the book is a rattling read that gives a good taste of place. 

 

 

 

The Assiduous Quest of Tobias Hopkins: The Complete Novel

*****

Enjoyable, educational, and fun read!

By @ChadGrills on November 9, 2015

Format: Kindle Edition

I wasn't sure if I would be a fan of historical fiction, but this book did not disappoint! James Faro has a great writing style, and you can tell he has done some immense research into every chapter and detail. Very fun read, and I felt like I even learned a bit about Jamaica in the 1600s!

 

 

 

The Assiduous Quest of Tobias Hopkins: The Complete Novel

****

If you like the history of the late 1600's

By gayle boyce on October 15, 2015

Format: Paperback

If you like the history of the late 1600's, explorations into strange new lands, ships, pirates, scallywags and wanton women, this book is for you! The history that is told is very interesting and you will be rooting for Toby as he encounters many obstacles and quite an assortment of "characters", some interested in helping and some not so much. Good read!

 

 

 

The Assiduous Quest of Tobias Hopkins: The Complete Novel

****

but the current story feels like the first half of a longer book

ByAmazon Customeron October 9, 2015

Format: Kindle Edition

James Faro has an easy-to-read writing style and shows the requisite deftness of story telling required to engage the reader through the tale he his telling. Descriptions of scenes and events flow smoothly, with sufficient side-comments and observable foibles from the characters to show them as real people rather than the cardboard cutouts often experienced in ebooks. The main character (Toby) initially appears quite ineffectual and it is hard to see him as a sea captain. Later chapters show the character growing, but there is still plenty of room for him to mature as Horatio Hornblower did through the multiple novels of C.S. Forester. The book ends just as Toby starts to face some interesting challenges that will doubtless define him.

Yet at the end of the story I felt a vague dissatisfaction. It took a few periods of contemplation for me to realise that, for me, the final chapter left too many loose threads. For example,

* Did the treasure have a deeper significance than just a mechanism for buying a new ship?

* Will Toby eventually choose Beatrice or Elizabeth, or even Sarah whom he left behind?

* Cooper’s investigation of the murders developed an interesting sub-plot that ended too soon and too neatly.

* Toby’s new family (step-mother and half brother) have hinted at a deeper political complications with the Maroons which must surely threaten the success of Toby’s farm.

There are many similar questions and I’m sure they will be answered with the publication of the sequel(s) that are doubtless being written as we speak. The characters have been well painted and the relationships between them sufficiently developed for a subsequent story to reach greater heights, but the current story feels like the first half of a longer book, albeit one that I would be happy to read in it’s entirety.

 

 

 

 

The Assiduous Quest of Tobias Hopkins: The Complete Novel

*****

Historical, Engaging and Mesmerizing!

By Erik A. Volk on October 7, 2015

Format: Kindle Edition

What a gloriously crafted novel! Mr. Faro's writing style mesmerized me throughout and completely transported me back to 17th century Jamaica. Although historical novels can often be drawn out, boring and the author so infatuated with historical accuracy that the story line becomes secondary to the historical references, this novel is so intriguing, mesmerizing and engaging that the reader cannot help but be drawn into it. The characters are colorful and engaging and often surprising! Love, money, pirates, prostitutes, rejection, murder, forbidden love, prejudice, revenge..and I could go on an on! In some ways a simple story of a man's search for his father, acceptance and success but each of its characters provides another layer making the story intriguing and unforgettable and most certainly "assiduous" with the historical details and writing style.

 

 

 

 

The Assiduous Quest of Tobias Hopkins: The Complete Novel

*****

A wonderful 17th century experience!, October 2, 2015

By Uma Mawaery

This review is from: The Assiduous Quest of Tobias Hopkins: The Complete Novel (Kindle Edition)

Let me begin by stating that the writing is flawless. The authenticity and the tone to the writing is exceptional and commendable! While reading, I could picture Jamaica and its inhabitants clearly. That's how wonderful and amazing James Faro's descriptions are! 

Honestly, when I first started reading the book, I had no idea what it was about. I just knew from the title that Tobias Hopkins was going on a quest. What kind of quest, I did not know. But because the writing was well executed, I kept flipping the pages. The story is easy to follow. Boy goes in search of dad and makes some discoveries. 

I did not like Tobias (Toby) in the beginning - mainly because of his prejudice nature. Perhaps it was his age that made him react the way he did towards others. But that's not a bad thing. His character was believable! I started liking him more towards the end. especially during the ending :-) All the other characters were believable too - John, Magdalena, Edo (loved him the most), Mr G, Beatrice. The supporting characters were not thrown in for fun. They all had a role to play in the story, and that made everything seem real. Not only that, each character developed well throughout the book. Even the loud-mouth prisoner who calls out to Toby and John during their search for a new vessel added humour to the smooth sailing plot. 

Being that the storyline was set in the 17th century, I did not fail to notice to Mr Faro made his female characters powerful and feisty. That earned him an extra star! 

I've always enjoyed historical fiction, and it was clear to me that Mr Faro is a remarkable researcher. I can only imagine how much time he had put into his research to make this book a wonderful read. If you love quests and mysteries and thrillers, then this book is a must read! Doesn't matter if you are 10, 15, 25, 40 or even 70, you'll definitely enjoy reading this book. If Toby is going on another quest, I definitely want to join him and experience the 17th century sea life all over again! He should fall in love right, Mr Faro? Perhaps during his next quest :-)

 

 

 

The Assiduous Quest of Tobias Hopkins: The Complete Novel

****

This is NOT your Club-Med Jamaica of today, September 26, 2015

By GGY (Glenn Younger)

This review is from: The Assiduous Quest of Tobias Hopkins: The Complete Novel (Kindle Edition)

MY RECOMMENDATION IN A NUTSHELL: If you're looking for a trip back in time to unruly Jamaica with the cultural chaos of the 1600’s—and you want to feel like you're sitting in the 1800's reading it—this is a book worth curling up to. I'm glad I did.

Now, let's open the nutshell.

This book was so outside the norm written by modern authors, it almost defies ranking by modern terms. It's my first novel by James Faro. I don't know if his writing style always has such an "old-fashioned" feel to it, or if he did it just for this story. In either case, it supports the book's theme.

It did take me a while to wrap my head around the abundant use of semicolons, choice of verb conjugations, and longer sentence structures that you rarely see unless you're reading Jane Austin or one of her cronies. For about the first ten pages, I was ready to put the book down and give up trying to follow it all. There were so many characters, so much action, and the dialogue was so different from the modern dialogue of today that it made my head spin. 

But once I re-trained my eye in order to follow the action and keep the characters straight at the same time, something clicked in my brain and I slipped into the fold. This is a book about Jamaica in the 1600's, and the old fashioned writing and colloquial speech patterns of the day fit like a hand tailored suit.

From there, it was smooth sailing as I followed Toby in his shipping adventure through troubled waters.

From page one, you're dropped right into the heat of the Caribbean Islands at a time when the Spanish, French, English, and Dutch all want a piece of the bounty. The story opens with Captain Tobias (Toby) standing on his sinking merchant ship. Brand new and on its first run, the ship had been taken over by the French and put into the line of Spanish fire. Now grounded on a sandbar—with the French long gone in its only cutter—Toby, his crew, and ship don't stand a chance.

Fortunately, they're picked up by a bedraggled lot of English seaman headed to Jamaica. The story takes off from there with a long list of characters whose lives intermingle as the action unfolds.

We soon discover the young Captain is in search of his long missing father. On the surface, when Toby discovers his father died six years earlier, there's nothing more for him to do but procure another ship, and outfit it for his return journey home. He's so naive, you sometimes wonder how he got to be Captain. So do some of his crew.

But, even if Toby is oblivious to the story going on around him, there's so much more the reader is privy to.

Intrigue abounds in the 17th century Jamaican port. There are unsolved murders. People at every turn who are ready to take advantage of the unwitting, of which Toby is one. Prostitutes. Military officials. Government officials. Seaman. The drunk on the street. People looking for a fast swindle.

There is treasure to be found, people who get drugged, land grants to resolve, and mysteries to solve. Bit by bit, we discover how Toby's dead father is connected. 

I give the book four stars because, even though Toby's main story line comes complete circle to a fitting and satisfying finish, and I thoroughly enjoyed having 17th century Jamaica come alive for me, the author leaves three people hanging outside the finished story line. I won’t say who they are because maybe you’ll pick up on something I didn’t. Besides, who likes spoiler alerts?

Okay, those three were secondary characters. But still. I created a mental platform for them, and it makes me feel like the story ends five pages too soon. Perhaps the author was setting us up for the next installment?

Even so, could I recommend, "The Assiduous Quest of Tobias Hopkins," to other readers who like historical fiction? Absolutely! Do I look forward to the next installment? That's another big "Yes!"

 

 

 

The Assiduous Quest of Tobias Hopkins: The Complete Novel

*****

A Surprising Enjoyment

By Valicity Garris on September 15, 2015

Format: Kindle Edition

I’m not a fan of historical fiction. I just want to put that out there first. That being said, I really enjoyed this piece! I wasn’t so sure about it when I received a copy but I’m glad that I gave it a chance. 

The opening scene in this book is powerful. We encounter Tobias and we’re instantly taken in by his complex demeanor combined with the eerie scenery. 

Being a piece of historical fiction, this is something you have to put your mind to. What I mean by that is, you have to be willing to get involved with this story. You can’t just sit by and let the words pass before your eyes, you have to enter their world and see things from the perspective of the characters. 

Speaking of characters, Tobias is a rich individual. I don’t mean in terms of wealth, I mean he’s full of depth and he’s a somewhat complex man. It’s difficult to make a main character out of an introvert, I think that’s a good way to describe Tobias. He is somewhat removed from a lot of the action and the physical drama but he is there mentally and emotionally. That’s one of the many levels brought out in this book. I absolutely loved Tobias from the first moment he was introduced. He was expertly described as Faro did a splendid job at painting such a fine, fine man. He truly encompassed the struggles of searching for a loved one while maintaining order and sanity.

You don’t think of world building when you read historical fiction, but Faro does just that in this piece. I actually felt like I’d been transported to 1675, like I was walking the beaches of Jamaica and feeling the winds on board a massive ship. The description and detail in this book was just enough to give me an image of what I should see but it left enough room for me to creatively fill in the blanks from my own imagination.

If I had to give a criticism it’s that I would have liked things to move at a slightly faster pace. I enjoy vivid detail and description but I think, for the length of the story, there were too many extra words.

I could see this book as a movie. It was entertaining and very well written, I would describe it as a piece that gives us Indie-Authors a good name!

*I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*

 

 

 

The Assiduous Quest of Tobias Hopkins: The Complete Novel

****

Overall a great book for the history buffs

Bythe Reading Headon September 11, 2015

Format: Kindle Edition

The Assiduous Quest Of Tobias Hopkkins e Assiduous Quest of Tobias Hopkins follows Tobias as he sails to Jamaica in the 17th century in search of his father. He finds more than he bargains for and finds him on another mysterious quest. The problem is others are interested in this quest to!

Historically, this book transports you back to Jamaica and it’s 17th century culture, very accurately I think. The story flows well, with plenty of excitement, action and intrigue. Watch for the suspense though and more than one or two mysteries to solve.

All the characters are well-developed and believable ensuring that you can identify with each and every one. Feeling the fear and suspense they go through too.

Overall a great book for the history buffs, even the Pirate’s of the Caribbean fans will enjoy this one too. Enjoy

NB I Reveived this book free for an honest review

 

 

 

The Assiduous Quest of Tobias Hopkins: The Complete Novel

Yaron Glazer's review 

Aug 24, 15

3 of 5 stars

bookshelves: currently-reading 

Read from August 19 to 23, 2015

The Assiduous Quest of Tobias Hopkins is a historical thriller set in and around Jamaica in the 17th century. It narrates the travails of the titular Toby as he engages with a colorful assortment of sailors, prostitutes, and pirates, all while chasing the buried treasure of his estranged father.

There is much to like about The Assiduous Quest. The prose is clear and flows well, and the style transports the reader to the 17th-century setting of the novel. There were few false notes to this reader's ears. The author paints a vivid portrait of the Caribbean of that era, with well-utilized historical detail and excellent command of sailing concepts and terminology. A few of the characters feel stock, but on the whole there is a rich assortment of supporting players around Toby.

The one flaw in the novel, and for me a significant one, was the straw-man nature of the main character. Throughout the novel, major plot points turn on Toby's stupidity, prejudice, or carelessness, incidents that could have been dispelled with a few words or actions that would have occurred to any reasonable person. That they did not occur to Toby, and repeatedly drove the plot towards contrived complication, became increasingly annoying over the course of the novel. It left me fairly disappointed with the plot.

For those readers who don't mind this sort of contrivance, the novel will be an enjoyable read.

 

 

 

The Assiduous Quest of Tobias Hopkins: The Complete Novel

*****

Let me be informal with this awesome book which deals with life on and off sea ...

By Shwetha H S on August 1, 2015

Format: Paperback

All my previous reviews have been so formal, but this book needs special treatment. Let me be informal with this awesome book which deals with life on and off sea where sailors are jovial.

When I started reading this book, I had no idea what it is about. Soon I felt like it is all about gory on sea. The story is set on the backdrop of colonial life and piracy. The protagonist of this story, Tobias Hopkins aka Toby, a captain and master of ship by profession, seems to be too nice of a person, innocent, too principled and a prick too; all at a time. His fellow sailors seem to be normal and good sailors. As soon as they survive and reach land, everybody shows interest in Toby and he is worried about how strangers already know about him. His back story is that he is looking for his long lost father. Side by side, there is a range of murder cases which need to be solved. The story never loses its pace; never slows down.

Even while writing this review I am amazed by the puzzle and its clue given in the letter written by Edward Hopkins to his family which Toby finally cracks. Of all the points, this puzzle and its clue give an authentic touch to the whole story. I am always disappointed if there are too many characters in the story. This story too has too many characters, but they all have a purpose and not thrown around just to make the story complicated. The mannerisms and language of each character described in the book fuel the reader’s imagination to build the character in his or her mind. This shows that the author knows what he has written about. No overlapping s and confusions in the storyline. It is a fantastic book. Don’t miss reading it.

 

 

 

 

The Assiduous Quest of Tobias Hopkins: The Complete Novel

*****

If you liked Master and Commander then you'll enjoy Tobias Hopkins

By matt on July 26, 2015

Format: Paperback

Some reviewers have been likening this novel to Pirates of the Caribbean, however I feel that it’s far more similar in tone, pacing, and authenticity to Master and Commander. The story begins with a cannon bang that hooks the reader and drops them head first into a journey that does not disappoint. And I have to say it’s impressive because my tastes ussualy run to detective novels and science fiction, not turn of the century sea faring tale, but good writing is good writing and this story’s quite gripping.

What I found most impressive was the authenticity of the milieu. I don’t know much about the author, however he must’ve done a tremendous amount of research into the era to paint such a realistic picture. From the sailing ships to the islands we’re treated to realistic scenes, but that doesn’t just stop at the descriptions. The motivations, the character goals, and especially the dialogue all reflect the time in which the story takes place. I think that’s what’s usually missing from a lot of indie author’s books when they do period pieces. Like when a tribal chief from five hundred years ago says “he’ll bleed out” or a pirate says “no problem” will cause a seam within the story and pull the reader out, but where many have failed Mr. Faro has succeeded.

I also like the characters. They had depth and were believable. Granted, I wish Tobias had been a bit more proactive in his 'quest', I still found his introspection interesting, and more importantly, steady throughout the tome. Besides, the supporting cast more than makes up for it. Thus I’d recommend this for any genre fan, it's a novel that can keep anyone engaged with its solid storytelling.

 

 

 

The Assiduous Quest of Tobias Hopkins: The Complete Novel

**

A fair to mediocre read.

By Dan "RealGuy" on July 21, 2015

Format: Paperback

This is a a decent read but I can't understand the rave ratings given by some readers. I nearly aborted the book several times up the the halfway point after which it became somewhat more compelling.

 

 

 

The Assiduous Quest of Tobias Hopkins: The Complete Novel

*****

The Assiduous Quest of Tobias Hopkins by James Faro was ...

By Bonnye Reed Fry on July 12, 2015

Format: Kindle Edition

Read from July 08 to 10, 2015 — I own a copy

The Assiduous Quest of Tobias Hopkins by James Faro was a gift the the author, James Faro. Thank you, Mr. Faro, for allowing me to read your work.

Toby Hawkins is the young Master of a new ship, the Chesapeake, sailing into the Caribbean (Barbados) from Virginia in the late 1600's. The journey is in search of trading partners, but behind that fact, and unknown to any of the crew, Toby is searching for his father, missing since Tobias was a youth in London. 

It was a journey fraught with problems, and ends with the sinking of the Chesapeake and the death of half of the crew when ship and crew become entangled in the war between France and England. Toby rallies, and spends time on the island of Jamaica with the surviving crew, looking to buy another ship in order to get his remaining men back home. While there, he encounters news of his father, and is able to follow rumors and vague tales to Spanish Town, where he finds a half brother and his Father's widow, only to find that his father died 6 years ago. 

The detail in this tale is extraordinary. The voice of the characters is very much right for time and place, the characters are fully developed and the scenery and background are well researched. I do hope there is to be a sequel?

 

 

 

The Assiduous Quest of Tobias Hopkins: The Complete Novel

Ayana Prende's review

Jul 03, 15

5 of 5 stars

bookshelves: historical, mystery, suspense 

Read from July 01 to 03, 2015

I received a copy of this novel from the author in exchange for an unbiased review

When a book makes me say, "Wow. That's some serious writing," I feel compelled to leap for the five stars. 

This is, as you may be able to tell, one of those occasions. The whole thing is just immensely professional, which is something (and I don't mean for this to sound disparaging, but it is a simple fact), you don't see in all indie efforts - I say that as an indie author, who doesn't believe her work belongs among the hallowed few immensely professional ones.

And when I say "professional", I mean the writing is of a really high quality, it's been edited well, the story has been cleverly thought out and structured, and, on top of that, it's been flawlessly (as far as I can tell) researched. 

In essence, I suppose, what I'm saying is nothing about this has been gone at half-cocked. 

We're introduced to the eponymous Toby in the midst of trying to save himself from the sinking wreck of his merchant ship. Diving right into the drama, we're also introduced to some of the horrific ways his crew members met their death (or dismemberment). It would seem odd, and a bit twisted, to say I enjoyed this - so, I won't. But I will say that I was instantly mesmerised and instantly drawn into the world Mr Faro created. From these well-paced opening pages, which offers just enough exposition to know what's going on without overloading us with info, we're immediately "inside" the perilous maritime of the 17th century.

In a twist of fate, Toby's rescuers are headed to Port Royal, which is where (as he learns from a member of the crew) his father may be. However, as he searches for his long-estranged dad, Toby finds himself caught up in a cold (albeit recently reheated) case involving a series of brutal murders.

What unfolds is a historical suspense/detective novel with just a touch of Da Vinci Code thrown in when Toby discovers a cryptic clue his father wrote.

The narrative is actually quite sparse. And I don't mean that in a negative way. Mr Faro has been economical with his words, making each one count. Yet, for that, I didn't feel like I was missing out on any descriptions that would have enhanced my "feel" for the setting and events. Early on, while we were still aboard the Lady Charlotte (the ship that saves Toby and his surviving crew members), the only thing I felt was lacking was a sensation of humidity and heat. However, as if able to read my thoughts, this was rectified as soon as the posse landed in Port Royal. It was all totalling absorbing. We are told only what we need to know, and our imaginations are left to do the rest. To my mind, that's a really nice, and very clever, balance that the author's struck.

On the description front, I also wanted to make mention of the violence, or, as it is in most cases, the aftermath of violence. Again a fine line is trodden here, in my view. Some of the blood and gore is gritty, but it's never done for shock factor. It's all there to offer a realistic portrayal of both naval life, and existence in a time when piracy was rife. 

There are quite a large number of characters, but they moved in and out where necessary, and at no point did I feel overwhelmed or confused. And, more importantly, each and every one of those characters was very nicely drawn. Some of the bit players were just sketches (and that's all they needed to be), but no one ever came across as one-dimensional.

What really impressed me was that every character had a completely unique voice. One of the places Mr Faro is sparing with his narrative is in dialogue description and signposting which character is speaking, but he didn't need to signpost! I am fairly certain that I could flick to any page, read a snippet of dialogue, and know which character was uttering those words. Even those you'd expect to have a similar style of speech, like Toby and John, or Beatrice and Magdalena, "sounded" entirely unique.

I did get a sense that the general manner of speech was sometimes a little on the modern side - no out of place words or idioms, but some sentences taken in isolation (for example, Smithson saying "Don't worry, Jones, I'll do it.") could very easily be from any contemporary novel. But that's not a grumble, because there are plenty of phrases and "old-fashioned" word ordering to give the novel its 17th century feel while ensuring it's still accessible. 

Toby was a really fascinating character, and, I think, in another pair of hands he might have been dislikeable. He is, after all, a bit straight-laced. He's also something of a snob, and can come across as unfeeling and distrustful - with those latter two I'm thinking in particular of his opinion on first meeting Magdalena. However, I did still like him. He was first and foremost an incredibly principled man, and you've got to give him credit for that - especially in the world in which he exists.

The female characters were all strongly formed and compelling. One of the only minor niggles I have with the book is that we don't find out what becomes of them. I would have loved to have learned what happened to Elizabeth and Beatrice, but it would have been good to know how things worked out for Magdalena, too.

In that regard, perhaps if there is any real fault with the novel at all it's that it came to an end too soon. The climactic "action sequence" was wonderfully paced, but the come down after it was perhaps a smidgen rushed. (view spoiler) But this was not enough to really detract from my enjoyment.

As mentioned near the start of this long-winded spiel, one of the things I found most impressive about this was the amount of research that's gone into making it "authentic". But it's not just that Mr Faro knows his era and his ships. It's that he clearly has a great passion for these things, and I find that it bleeds through the pages. And this is certainly one of the things that helps setThe Assiduous Quest of Tobias Hopkins apart from the pack - Well that and its title, obviously!

To sum up, I highly recommend giving this a whirl. It moves quickly and without fuss, but still manages to have vivid characters, and then there's a suspense element that'll keep you on the edge of your seat. Even if you don't like historical novels, you may find this appealing simply because it is so much more than its setting.

P.S. I noticed another reviewer mention they could imagine this being adapted into a feature film, and I completely agree.

 

 

 

 

The Assiduous Quest of Tobias Hopkins: The Complete Novel

*****

An elaborate interconnecting plot written in an easy read style is guaranteed to capture the reader's attention

By ian welch on July 7, 2015

Format: Kindle Edition

This is a fascinating historical novel with a thriller element. The author's nautical background comes to the fore in a gripping page-turner. Set in the 1600s it is well researched and totally believable. The dialogue reflects that of the era, the descriptive nature of places, people and ships is a history lesson on its own. An elaborate interconnecting plot written in an easy read style is guaranteed to capture the reader's attention.

Murders, detective work, action, pirates and intriguing characters. Its all there. Even if you might think historical novels are not your thing, if you like a gripping good yarn make sure you read this. You won't be disappointed.

 

 

 

The Assiduous Quest of Tobias Hopkins: The Complete Novel

*****

The Assiduous Quest of Tobias Hopkins

By Ronesa - Mystical Emona series on June 19, 2015

Format: Kindle Edition

This story is set in the late 1600s with much of the story taking place in Jamaica. The author's extensive research into that era and culture shows in the wonderful descriptions that transport you to that time and let you live among the people. You see the corruption and decadence of the port city, and can smell its stench.

The writing style as well makes you feel as if you are reading a classic novel from the past. I happen to be one who enjoys this type of writing, so I applaud the author for his style.

Tobias Hopkins is the captain of an ill-fated vessel, captured by pirates. He and his crew suffer much before finally arriving in Jamaica. At times, the author uses much nautical language as would be expected, but for the most part it is easy to understand what is happening even for a land-lubber like me.

The story of Tobias searching for his father is mingled with a series of brutal murders that have taken place over several years. The author skillfully weaves the two together in this intriguing novel. It kept me interested from start to finish. I can easily see a sequel to find out what one character says, "That is another story."

The characters are well developed. I found Tobias annoying in his attitude and reserve, but this flaw only made him more real. Even the minor characters have personalities. My favorite was a prisoner who called out to Tobias from his prison cell.

This novel is certain to please people interested in nautical or historical stories. I highly recommend it.

 

 

 

The Assiduous Quest of Tobias Hopkins: The Complete Novel

****

Nice flow, good pacing and character development

By Amazon Customer on June 19, 2015

Format: Paperback

I received a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

I received a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

Hmm, where to start with this one? Assiduous Quest is a good little read. For those who like the Pirates of the Caribbeanfranchise, you will enjoy the setting of this novel. Although I suspect Faro is more historically accurate.

I was utterly impressed with the writing itself in this novel. The prose flowed nicely, pacing was good, dialogue was character-appropriate and consistent, characters showed depth and growth, and the plot took quite a few meanders off its main path.

My criticisms are that it lacked action for the main character (If you've been following along, you know I really like action!), and the ending felt too abrupt.

This novel absolutely built suspense, particularly toward the very end, but it was missing a bit of spark as far as the action of the main character was concerned. Many of the side characters experienced quite a bit of actual, physical action in their parts, but Mr. Tobias Hopkins was more of an internal character. Even during the climax of the novel, he didn't seem as involved physically as I would have liked. Now, there will be those of you that argue with me and say that Tobias is an internal kind of guy, and so him not experiencing a whole lot of running about, pistol shooting, sword chopping, etc. is absolutely within character. And you would be totally correct. Tobias is an introvert. I love that about him, but since he didn't engage in much action, things somehow fell a little flat with him.

My only other quibble was that there was not nearly enough of this book! After things come to a head and the seamen arrive in the colonies, it's like we got in a very big hurry to wrap things up and have done with it! I wanted more -- more explanation, more time for things to play out with Toby's and John Fowler's separate ventures, I wanted to know what happened with Elizabeth, and I was not satisfied with how things went with Mr. Groot. It just all felt too rushed. Now, I consider that criticism a testament to how wonderful the rest of this novel was. I wonder, if perhaps the author would consider turning this into a series. I know I would keep reading to find out what happens to everyone. You made me feel invested in the characters, please don't leave me hanging like this. :)

I would absolutely recommend this book to those who like historical fiction of the 17th century. Those who like Pirates, as I mentioned above, will enjoy being thrust back into the realm of Port Royal, Tortuga, and the colonies. And those who like a book with a bit of mystery and suspense will likely enjoy this very much. Another series that came to mind while reading this wasMaster and Commander. If you liked those books, you will probably like Assiduous Quest.

 

 

 

The Assiduous Quest of Tobias Hopkins: The Complete Novel (# off 25.09.15 on 27.09.15)

*****

A Classic Hero's Journey

By Terry W. Sprouse "Author, Storyteller, Lincoln-ologist" on June 7, 2015

Format: Paperback

This tale is a classic “Hero’s Journey” story, what Joseph Campbell refers to as "mankind’s one great story.” All the archetypal components are here. The young sea captain, Tobias Hobias, undertakes a dangerous quest to Virginia, fraught with peril. In the process, the course of his life in changed forever as Tobias is required to 1) solve a series of perplexing mysteries, 2) advance his spiritual growth, and 3) ascend to his rightful role in life.

Tobias is a sailor in the 17th century who is haunted by dreadful memories from his past. He is strong and determined yet there is also an air of mystery about him. Tobias, his first mate John, and crew encounter a permeating sense of danger and foreboding as they unravel the mysteries that drive them relentlessly on.

There is plenty of action and humor to keep us glued to the story and on the edge of our seats.

 

 

 

The Assiduous Quest of Tobias Hopkins: The Complete Novel

Rebecca Gibson's review

May 31, 15

5 of 5 stars

Read in June, 2015

This isn't normally my kind of book but the premise sounded interesting so I gave it a shot. I read it in one sitting. The story was fast paced and intriguing whilst the historical elements were very well researched and informative. From someone who knows nothing about boats, especially from the old days, I feel like I've taken something a history class in sailors and pirates by reading this book.

We first meet the main character Captain Tobias Hopkins at the tail end of a battle. Some of his crew mates have been killed and his ship/cargo has been captured. This opening scene paves the way for a very exciting plot to follow at the same time as building up a like-ability around Tobias.

There is a lot of violence but I find this to be realistic to the time period and content of the story itself. The descriptions are chilling and engaging whilst never once being obscene (there's no 'violence for the sake of violence') which is a line few authors can tread.

The characters have all the grit you'd expect from pirates and sailors whilst having enough flaws to keep them real and interesting. This is of course a historical novel but the family theme that snakes through the whole story keeps it strongly tied to the modern world.

My takeaway message from 'The Assiduous Quest of Tobias Hopkins' (which, let's congratulate James Faro here on picking a very solid name) is that this has clearly been written by an author who knows what he is talking about and is extremely passionate about his subject matter.

 

 

 

 

The Assiduous Quest of Tobias Hopkins: The Complete Novel

****

A 21st Century Classic

By Maryannon May 24, 2015

Format: Paperback

The story is about Tobias Hopkins, a young sea captain, on a quest to find his father who disappeared from their family when he was a child. 

Toby is a likeable character. I felt like he was afraid to trust anyone being that he lost everything, (his mother and sisters died in a London fire). He goes on a journey to find the only family he believes he has left merely to learn that his father had been killed six years ago by maroons while protecting the slaves in a village. 

I think Toby felt this sense of betrayal. After his attempts to find his father fail, he must now accept his father’s infidelity. The story Magdalena, the kindly slave woman who bore his half-brother Eduardo, told him about how his father too had believed he’d lost all of his family to the fires was poignant. I felt empathy for his father, and in a way I understood why he sought comfort in Magdalena. 

The writing is very descriptive. I noticed at once the author’s classical writing style (almost all of my favorite books were written by authors of the past centuries). I’ve never actually read a story about sailing and I liked the Pirates of the Caribbean-ish atmosphere I got from this book. The author did a wonderful job at creating mystery and suspense and adventure and combining it altogether. It was an enjoyable read. 

 

 

 

The Assiduous Quest of Tobias Hopkins: The Complete Novel

*****

Historical suspense at its best...

By TX Reader & Reviewer on May 25, 2015

Format: Paperback

In the opening paragraph, author James Faro poses a question that promises an adventure, and he doesn't disappoint. In a compelling tale of a young sea-faring captain named Tobais Hopkins who goes in search of his father, one can see clearly that Faro is well-versed in the language of the sea and all things nautical. Everything about his voice is authentic, written in the classical style, and his descriptions of the ships, the places, and the people draw you in and keep you turning the pages. With a seventeenth century maritime history lesson (and a vocabulary lesson, to boot) interwoven throughout the narrative, Faro manages to keep it entertaining and never pedantic. A wonderful story complete with a believable hero, pirates, whores, stow-aways, hold-your-breath action, and secret codes, this book has it all. And as a word of caution, if a pirate ever offers to take you to "the bathing pool," run like hell the opposite direction.

 

 

 

The Assiduous Quest of Tobias Hopkins: The Complete Novel

*****

5.0 out of 5 stars A Quest for the Father, Pirates of the Caribbean Style May 24, 2015

By Robert William Case

Format:Paperback

The author's passion for seafaring, tall ships, and trade shines throughout this page turning yarn of risk and reward on the high seas of the seventeenth century Caribbean. The compelling main character, Tobias Hopkins, is more of an innocent than a swashbuckler. He is young, puritanical, and over his head from the opening chapter until the final pages. It was both entertaining and fascinating to read and observe as the plot unfolded and he matured as both a ship's captain and a man. Detailed descriptions of the characters, culture, and politics of the era add to the suspenseful flow. I recommend this book to students of history and lovers of a good seafarin' tale.

 

 

 

The Assiduous Quest of Tobias Hopkins: The Complete Novel

*****

5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it. An excellent novel, even for those unfamiliar with the genre.

May 21, 2015

By Riyadad M. Ullah

Format:Paperback

This was my first foray into the historical thriller genre, and it was so enjoyable that I think I may start consistently picking it up over the next few months. The story was incredibly easy to follow, and everything from the scenes on the ship to the way character dynamics functioned were fleshed out and written clearly. The writing style is bold, descriptive, and yet remains consistent and crystal clear throughout. Despite the violence, there is much solace to be taken in the bits of humor, dialogue, and relationships expanded upon as the novel progresses. There is a layer of mystery and suspense that dresses the story arc and will always have you engaged. I don’t have any knowledge over this era, nor do I have a particular interest in it, but it seems as though the book was very well researched and the descriptions were created with a very deliberate attention to detail. I guess it’s like the way you can tell when you’re reading a fantasy, exactly how well the author knows his own world based on their descriptions, details, dialogue, etc. The characters have depth and avoid the one-dimensional shape that authors will sometimes use to steer a reader towards a direction. This was an easy 5 stars to give. If anything, the book portrays an author who is extraordinarily serious about his craft and takes pride in his work. Some of the work in particular, like the way Tobias is portrayed as a troubled character, is absolutely brilliant. I think this book is a particularly good choice for other writers. Much can be learned from how the author develops multi-layered characters and plots.

 

 

 

The Assiduous Quest of Tobias Hopkins: The Complete Novel

John Markham's review 

Apr 25, 15

5 of 5 stars

Read in April, 2015

I'm a firm believer that historical fiction should be well researched and written so that the reader is able to imagine living in that particular era. This genre requires a great deal of background research and this author has certainly done his homework.I really did imagine that I was there, walking the streets of Port Royal, on the deck of Tobias Hopkin's ship or spending time in the Spar and Halyard Inn. This is without doubt, due to the skilful writing of this author. I wanted Captain Tobias Hopkins to succeed in his quest, because I liked him and understood him.

Reading this novel is like being shown a glimpse into the past, painting a picture of how life would have really been for everyday men and women, people who we can believe in and identify with.

 

 

The Assiduous Quest of Tobias Hopkins: The Complete Novel

Michael Langley's review 

Apr 25, 15

5 of 5 stars

Read in April, 2015

I love the sea. I spend most of my summers surfing and spent a lot of time sailing as a child. This is what attracted me to this book as it's about a sea captain who sails between New England and Jamaica. I really liked this main character, Tobias Hopkins. He's reserved but strong and determined and I liked the relationship between him and John, who is his second in command. The episodes at sea were great to read. I wish I had been there,but maybe not when the storm starts!

There are baddies in this book too and they're after information and they think Tobias may have it. Several people come to a sticky end and this makes you want to read on, as you're never too sure what's going to happen, as it seems that Tobias and those around him are in constant danger.

All is resolved finally, with a very good ending. 

I just wish I had been a member of Captain Hopkin's crew. My life would be so much more interesting!

 

 

 

The Assiduous Quest of Tobias Hopkins: The Complete Novel

Bianca Kent's review 

Apr 25, 15

5 of 5 stars

Read in April, 2015

I really enjoyed this.I thought this might be heavy going as it's set several hundred years ago but the writing is clear and the story is easy to follow. The book is about Tobias Hopkins, a sea captain, who sets out to find his missing father. Now, I don't have any interest in ships or sailing and whenever I've been on a boat I've always been incredibly ill, but I found this book very readable and I enjoyed reading the ship scenes, especially when the character Beatrice, is on board. Beatrice has to be my favourite character. She's brave, feisty and determined and is always taking risks.

There is so much going on. There are some gruesome episodes with some quite graphic violence, but there is plenty of humour. I liked the episode where Tobias and John are searching for new recruits for the ship.

I think Tobias is quite a lonely person. He has nightmares of his past and is a very troubled man. He's searching for answers or maybe, for some kind of peace. I loved Magdalena and La Bruma,her farmhouse,and when Tobias goes there, it's as though he's arrived home and can find peace.

I like the way the author has created several very interesting and strong female characters. It really anoys me when I read a book with weak and helpless females!

Nothing bad to say about this. All I can say is just go and read it!

 

 

 

The Assiduous Quest of Tobias Hopkins: The Complete Novel

David Carter's review 

Apr 25, 15

5 of 5 stars

Read in April, 2015

Having just recently returned from Jamaica, I was interested to see that this book is partly set there during the 17th century. One of the strengths of the author is the way in which he makes you feel you are there, with the characters, you feel you're following in their footsteps.The detailed descriptions are very strong, and I particularly enjoyed the episodes set in Port Royal,in Jamaica. 

It's not easy to predict what's going to happen in this book, there are many twists and turns. Some excellent descriptive writing, the storm at sea for instance, and the ending of the book which I won't reveal.

The attention to detail in this novel is outstanding and I imagine the author must have done a great deal of research. Historical fiction is not an easy genre to write but I think, an extremely important one. It's only by seeing how the world used to be, that we can really understand contemporary life. History teaches us lessons for the future and this novel draws the reader in and paints a vivid picture of life in the 17th century.

If you only read one historical novel this year, make sure it's this one.

 

 

 

The Assiduous Quest of Tobias Hopkins: The Complete Novel

Alice Cousins's review 

Mar 16, 15

5 of 5 stars

Read in March, 2015

I've been reading a lot of historical fiction recently but this book is by far the best and most enjoyable. Hopkins is a sea captain and if you don't know anything about sailing or have no interest in ships, don't be put off. This is a book about people, their hopes and desires and dreams for the future. We get pirates and quite a bit of violence, but the baddies always get their just rewards.The three main female characters are very different but all three are likeable and interesting.

The Jamaica of 1675 is vividly portrayed as a place where you have to keep your eyes open and your wits about you.

A lot of historical fiction is concerned with kings and queens. This novel deals with ordinary people, which makes a welcome change. These are people just like you and me, people we can easily relate to and identify with. This is what I prefer to read about.

 

 

 

The Assiduous Quest of Tobias Hopkins: The Complete Novel

Caroline Jayson's review 

Mar 16, 15

5 of 5 stars

Read in March, 2015

I cannot praise this book highly enough. This book will transport you to the Jamaica of the late 17th century, making you feel you're really there. The story is gripping and keeps you guessing. Tobias Hopkins is looking for his father. I don't want to give away what he finds, but I can say that several other characters have an interest in his search. There is so much contained in this book, suspense, deception,trickery.The main characters are varied whilst the protagonist, Tobias, has an air of mystery about him. He's an interesting and complex person, with many layers to his character.

Without wanting to give anything away, there is a brilliant scene where one of Tobias' enemies gets his comeuppance. 

This book would make a brilliant film.

 

 

 

 

Homecoming: The Assiduous Quest of Tobias Hopkins - Part One

 

 

 

Homecoming: The Assiduous Quest of Tobias Hopkins - Part One

Gayle B's review 

Oct 15, 15

4 of 5 stars

Read from May 07 to October 04, 2015

If you like the history of the late 1600's, explorations into strange new lands, ships, pirates, scallywags and wanton women, this book is for you! The history that is told is very interesting and you will be rooting for Toby as he encounters many obstacles and quite an assortment of "characters", some interested in helping and some not so much. Good read!

 

 

 

Homecoming: The Assiduous Quest of Tobias Hopkins - Part One

Ian Welch's review 

Sep 01, 15

5 of 5 stars

Read in September, 2015

James Faro grabs the reader by the scruff of the neck and transports them back to the sixteenth century. Set in the Caribbean Tobias Hopkins is on a mission of discovery to reconnect with his father who set sail many years previous and never returned. Captain of his own ship misfortune strikes Tobias. His ship is commandeered by the French, later it beaches on a sandbar and is sunk. Mystery and intrigue surrounds Tobias as he searches for news of his father. Nefarious people working to different agendas are swirling around in the background.

Homecoming is a gripping well written and researched adventure novel. The language and historical facts blend perfectly with that era in time. A mystery is steadily building. Uncovering the truth is not going to be easy for Tobias but that is left for James Faro to reveal in future Tobias Hopkins' editions A big five stars from me.

 

 

 

Homecoming: The Assiduous Quest of Tobias Hopkins - Part One

John Markham's review 

Apr 25, 15

5 of 5 stars

Read in March, 2015

I've always loved historical fiction and came across this by accident, but I'm glad I did. An immense amount of research must have gone into this. The story is set in the late 17th century and i thought the settings and characters seem completely authentic and believable. I have read some historical fiction in the past where the characters don't work, they appear to be contemporary people who've travelled back in a time machine.

This is not the case here, however. I was able to imagine the characters and the author has a real feeling for describing the various locations and settings.

The central character, Tobias Hopkins, is a sea captain who's trying to find out what happened to his father. Tobias is a bit of a loner, but he has a cast of diverse characters surrounding him.

I was totally engrossed in this book. There are many elements here; the book is in part a thriller and contains plenty of mystery and suspense.

 

 

 

Homecoming: The Assiduous Quest of Tobias Hopkins - Part One

Michael Langley's review 

Apr 25, 15

5 of 5 stars

Read in April, 2015

This book starts with big problems for Tobias Hopkins, a sea captain, when his ship goes down. As well as his crew to think about, he has his own problems. He's looking for his father and trying to get over the loss of his mother and sistes back in England. By the end of this volume, Tobias seems to have found some of his answers, but his search appears to have thrown up more mysteries.It becomes clear that there are people watching him who will stop at nothing to get what they want.

Wish I had been there!

 

 

 

Homecoming: The Assiduous Quest of Tobias Hopkins - Part One

David Carter's review 

Apr 25, 15

5 of 5 stars

Read in April, 2015

I've read the complete novel and I highly recommend this, as the author has an excellent eye for detail and the descriptive passages are so strongly and vividly written you feel you're there in 17th century Jamaica, with the characters.

There is plenty for everyone; intrigue, adventure and plenty of suspense.

I have a particular interest in historical fiction and was completely captivated by this novel.

 

 

 

Homecoming: The Assiduous Quest of Tobias Hopkins - Part One

John Gruchy's review 

Feb 28, 15

5 of 5 stars

Read in February, 2015

I really enjoyed this book. I thought the central character, Tobias, was somewhat aloof and reserved and this gives him an air of mystery. He's a sea captain, searching for his missing father, as he trades around Jamaica in the late 17th century. His relationship with his crew is somewhat strained, as he maintains his reserve . However, the friendship between himself and John, his second in command, is skilfully portrayed.The author's characterisation is very good, all the characters are believable and I could relate to them. The descriptive writing is excellent, and the author has obviously carried out a great deal of research.There is a lot going on in this book; things are going on behind the scenes.There are characters here who are also searching, and Tobias Hopkins may well be in danger. I finished this book wanting to know more, and have already started reading the second book in the series.

 

 

 

Homecoming: The Assiduous Quest of Tobias Hopkins - Part One

Caroline Jayson's review 

Feb 25, 15

5 of 5 stars

Read in February, 2015

This is a really gripping read and tells the story of Tobias Hopkins, a trader and sea captain who's searching for his father. The story is set in Jamaica of the 1670's and has interesting characters, suspense and even murder. The main character, Tobias, is focused on finding out the truth about his father. He's an interesting character, who is plagued by memories of his past. I like the way in which the author describes the town of Port Royal, a diverse and bustling place.he makes you feel that you're really there.

There's plenty of mystery involved in Toby's search as it seems there are other people interested in Toby's whereabouts. 

This is a book which will appeal to many; readers who enjoy historical fiction and those who like thrillers will find much to enjoy here.

At the end of the novel, it seems Tobias has found some sort of peace, but as this is Volume One in the series, I suspect there is much more to come. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Code: The Assiduous Quest of Tobias Hopkins - Part Two

 

 

The Code: The Assiduous Quest of Tobias Hopkins - Part Two

David Carter's review 

Apr 25, 15

5 of 5 stars

Read in April, 2015

Just finished the complete novel and I was so impressed with the attention to detail and the amount of research that must have gone into this novel. So many historical fiction books I've read in the past have been a let down, but not this one. The descriptive writing is so vivid and well written that it's easy to imagine yourself there, in 17th century Jamaica, and on the ship with Tobias and his crew.

There's lots of action here, lots o suspense and plenty to think about. The story has many twists and turns and the plot will keep you guessing.

 

 

 

The Code: The Assiduous Quest of Tobias Hopkins - Part Two

John Markham's review 

Apr 25, 15

5 of 5 stars

Read in March, 2015

I have just finished reading this after reading Book One in the series. I finished this over one weekend; I just could not put it down. I felt that I was there, in 17th century Jamaica with Tobias,following him on his search for answers. This second volume is darker in tone as it soon becomes clear that dangers are lurking in the shadows for Tobias and that not everyone wishes him well, and some are out to cause him harm.

Tobias certainly finds more than he bargained for, but I don't want to give anything away. His quest will not be an easy one but he is a driven and determined character and nothing will stop him.

 

 

 

The Code: The Assiduous Quest of Tobias Hopkins - Part Two

Michael Langley's review 

Apr 25, 15

5 of 5 stars

Read in April, 2015

An action packed read with lots of interesting people. Captain Hopkins continues on his search,as although he's found some of his answers, he has more mysteries to solve. The Captain is a careful man,reserved and a bit distant from his crew. He doesn't like to show his feelings and lets John, his second in command, deal with the men.He is concerned for their welfare however, and does his best to ensure their safety. The baddies are getting closer and the Captain's strength will be tested.

An exciting read and one which I didn't want to put down.

 

 

 

 

 

The Assiduous Quest of Tobias Hopkins: Part Three: The Dutchman

 

 

 

The Assiduous Quest of Tobias Hopkins: Part Three: The Dutchman

David Carter's review 

Apr 25, 15

5 of 5 stars

Read in April, 2015

Having just finished the complete novel I wanted to urge other lovers of historical fiction to read this book. The author has certainly done his research and the attention to detail is outstanding. This last volume has elements of a thriller, with plenty of suspense and some really gory parts. The ending is excellent; it kept me on the edge of my seat and guessing at what was about to happen.

Packed with action, adventure, suspense and filled with a mixture of different characters from diverse backgrounds and cultures.

I'm so glad I discovered these books and sincerely hope there will be a follow up.

 

 

 

The Assiduous Quest of Tobias Hopkins: Part Three: The Dutchman

Michael Langley's review 

Apr 25, 15

5 of 5 stars

Read in April, 2015

The final part in this exciting series sees Captain Tobias Hopkins dealing with his enemies and coming to terms with his past.Questions have been answered and several events from the past have been resolved.The end of the book finds the Captain in a reflective mood, wondering where the future will take him.

The final chapter is shocking but will keep your eyes glued to the page. 

The author writes so that you feel you're there with them and I think this is what makes a great book.I hope this author writes more as I enjoyed this so much.