The detail and research that author Roger Seiler used – from biographies to actual letters and reports by the Governor Baranov himself - creates a riveting story.
“Master of Alaska” - a compelling Historical Fiction about the first governor of Alaska sent to the colony by Russia in 1790 – George Washington was President at the time. “Master of Alaska” starts in October 1790 when Aleksandr Baranov left his family in Russia and sails across the North Pacific to Kodiak to become the chief manager for Tsarina Catherine the Great’s colony in the far Northwest of North America. Baranov is shipwrecked, saved and adopted by the Aleut natives. Later he is forced to marry Anooka the daughter of the tribal chief, despite still having a wife back in Russia to save his men from starvation. Only slated to serve five years, Baranov spends the next 28 years in Alaska, surviving natural disasters, a massacre of his people at Sitka, meddling competing Russian authorities, a British attempt to undermine his colony and an assassination attempt. Interestingly, Baranov’s native wife and teenage daughter play an intricate role and contribute much to his success and survival in Alaska. Baranov built an empire and sought peace with the warring Tlingit, and thanks largely to his efforts Alaska is part of the U.S. today. (Summary and cover courtesy of goodreads.com)
Please note: I received a free copy of this book courtesy of Sage’s Blog Tours and I voluntarily chose to write a review
This was as a 3.5 star book with some fantastic history naturally weaved throughout. The early information I had about for Alaska was very sketchy and it was fascinating to get an in depth timeline without reading simple dry facts. I liked that the arc was told through the experiences and challenges of Baranov although some times the events jumped from one to another fairly quickly. One thing that is for sure is that life in Alaska wasn’t for everyone! I have always wanted to visit and this makes me even more determined to make it up there.
One thing that I found a little distracting throughout the book was the very matter-of-fact dialogue throughout. I couldn’t tell if this was something due to the translation of letters, a choice by the author or the form that the individuals naturally took. It didn’t take away from the overall story, but did keep me from being completely absorbed in the story.
Warning: Contains some violence and sexual content.
Rating: 4 stars!
Who should read it? Fans of history and true adventure.