behind the surf

Title: Beyond The Surf
Author: Hwneild
Publication Date: March 11, 2016

I received a copy from the author for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion in any way.

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Goodreads Summary:

A young woman’s dream. A mercenary tycoon seizing the opportunity. Islands ripe with potential. …. All in the throes of coming of age through political unrest ……. Kayte King lives to kitesurf. Financially broke in her windless hometown, Kayte’s spirits sink to all new levels. When an all-expenses paid invite to The Martinez Islands presents itself, to promote tourism with the potential to break her current world record — a once in lifetime opportunity — Kayte grabs it. Accompanied by her boyfriend, Steve, she travels to the islands with high hopes and expectations. They link up with their American counterparts and form the kitesurfing group that will attract tourism the islands desperately need. Mercenary leader, Roger MacGill, brought in to eliminate anarchy, is tasked with the formation and training of a local police force. Stability temporarily subdued, MacGill has capitalised on the island’s beauty and invests in its modernisation. But, MacGill is now dangerously low on funds and desperate to see returns on his investment. The kitesurfing contingency’s arrival rocks local interest. Fascinated by the kites, yet wary of foreigners, their apprehension bubbles to the surface. Storm clouds gather. The political unrest that follows, threatens to shatter all their dreams.


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My Review

Beyond The Surf is a perfect  summer read. It will most definitely bring the sun, the sand and the smells of the open ocean right to you so that you can feel the warmth fo the ocean and feel the kiss of an ocean breeze. Island girl that I am, the author’s apt descriptions made me more than a little bit homesick. It also gives homage to that adage that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side.

Kayte the main character is broke and feeling discontented with her life in general. An invitation for an all-expenses paid trip to the Martinez Island to Kite-surf with the added allure of a $15,000 prize money if she can break her own record, is too much to resist.

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She is eager to head off and when she arrives, she feels certain she has landed in Paradise!Unfortunately, the island is teetering on the edge of anarchy and about ready for a coup or some other political upheaval. The political unrest which arises is going to hit closer to Kayte than is comfortable and she will soon realise, all is not well in paradise.

Kayte was not as full of spunk as I would have liked but I grew to like her as a character and admired her love for kite-surfing and the feeling of sheer pleasure it seemed to evoke in her. The locale is really brought to life through the author’s vivid and at times lyrical descriptions and I could clearly envision these islands. Adding  tension to the plot by means of the  mercenaries and the coup gave it that extra edge that took it out of light and fluffy to intriguing but not too deep or foreboding either, which makes it the perfect book for the beach.

The author weaves a fun, adventure-filled, story of kite-surfing mixed with the ominous undertones of political unrest, illegal machinations and subtle danger. It is immersive and thrilling and much more than just a kite-surfing story. I recommend adding it to your TBR pile for summer!

My Rating

4 1_2

About The Author

Born in Jerusalem in 1965, the author Henry Neild was brought up in several war-torn famine-struck countries. As an adult, he has lived and worked in countries as diverse as America, Malawi, Switzerland and Lebanon, and currently divides his time between a small village outside Winchester and a coastal retreat in southern France. He travels with his Patterdale terrier, Mister Bonaparte, and has two children, Shea, aged 23, and Isabella, aged 10.

Having turned his back on formal education at 16, Henry completed two courses in France and entered the film business aged 17, working night shifts in Soho for Rank Video Services. Within two years, he was working as a freelance Film Location Manager (credits include a Working Title film ‘Paperhouse’), aged only 20. In 1988, he joined forces with Fierce Vision in Wapping, innovating the commercial uses for video within the fashion industry. Finding himself caught up in the Bosnian war while filming a pilot that retraces the steps of the first Crusaders, he was soon back in recession-hit England. He was next researching further documentaries, travelling the south and south-west counties with a horse and cart.

In the early Nineties, after a year on the road, Henry worked on dozens of music videos for bands such as Oasis, Pulp, Moby, Phil Collins and Boyzone and then took himself back to college, where he studied Agricultural Business and Finance. This led to working in Africa, where, amongst other things, he grew tobacco for Malawi’s then dictator, Kamuzu Banda. Henry went on to become a rural property developer and wine exporter in South Africa and then spent four years setting up an innovative web-based conduit for commercial property owners and filmmakers in the UK.

Henry has written a huge number of scripts for Fierce Vision and Sky Travel, as well as articles for magazines including Hampshire Life,  Flybe and Society. He has also produced a series of concept poetry albums with Hugh Vickers of The Orb.

Henry’s interests include walking the droves of England, gardening, cooking and horseracing, and he is also a keen tennis player and ocean swimmer.

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