A Storm Hits Valparaiso

A Storm Hits Valparaiso

by David Gaughran

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Overview

Catalina Flores de la Peña's tongue got her in more trouble than any other part of her body, even though there were far more likely candidates. But when a storm rolls into her sleepy port town, she finds herself embroiled with a gang of adventurers, mercenaries, and prostitutes on a journey to free South America from the Spanish Empire.

A Storm Hits Valparaíso is an epic, historical adventure starring two brothers torn apart by love; a slave running for his life; a disgraced British sailor seeking redemption; and José de San Martín, an Argentine general who deserts the Spanish Army to lead a bloody revolt against his former masters.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781468182033
Publisher: CreateSpace Publishing
Publication date: 01/27/2012
Pages: 350
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.78(d)

About the Author

David Gaughran is a 34-year old Irish writer, living in Sweden, who spends most of his time travelling the world, collecting stories.

He is the author of the South American historical adventure "A Storm Hits Valparaiso" and the short stories "If You Go Into The Woods" and "Transfection" as well as the popular self-publishing guide "Let's Get Digital: How To Self-Publish, And Why You Should".

He runs the publishing blog Let's Get Digital and the South American history site South Americana, has a regular column at Indie Reader, and his work has been featured in the Huffington Post, The Sunday Times, and the Irish Times.

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A Storm Hits Valparaiso 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
qstewart More than 1 year ago
A historical fiction that brings to light some of the leaders in the independence movements in South America. This is my introduction to men such as San Martin and Cochrane who were commanders in the struggles of Argentina, Chile, and Peru in winning their independence from Spain. From reading this book I learned what drove some of the leaders to give up everything to join the revolutions in South America. The story of A Storm Hits Valparaiso involves not only the leaders and men in the history books, but also the people who were being directly affected by the changes that were coming about in their lives. Stories from the point of view of two cousins who were raised as brothers, a runaway slave, and the daughter of a bar owner all bring in the "little people" of the revolution. It is these stories that bring the revolutions down to the people that were truly being affected by what the leaders were doing. A very good read and one that opens new history for those that want to explore the growth of independence movements.
Gregory_Lynn More than 1 year ago
I have a lot of respect for David Gaughran. I read his blog daily and his non fiction work Let’s Get Digital manages to be both inspiring and of practical use so when I saw the chance to get a review copy of his first novel, A Storm Hits Valparaiso I jumped at it, not lease because I saw it as a way of repaying a little bit of what I’ve gotten from David over the past several months. A Storm Hits Valparaiso is an epic story of love, hate, brotherhood, power, revenge, and the thirst for independence told from the points of view of a variety of people in positions both high and low. For the sake of perspective, Historical Fiction is not a genre I read a lot and I have no particular interest in South America. My home genre is Epic Fantasy though, so I am fully ready to accept a story that spans a continent where what’s at stake is the lives of every single person on the continent. I wanted to love this book and I ended up just liking it. Why did I like it? Well, it has a little bit of everything it claims. There is love, of both the romantic and brotherly varieties. There is the simple struggle for survival of individuals juxtaposed against the larger struggle for the survival of a people with a regional identity. There is the desire of individual slaves to be free smacked right up next to the desire of a nation of people desiring to be free of a colonial power half a world away. In short, it has everything you would want in an epic. Why then, didn’t I love it? There are two things I would point to but I think they both stem from one overriding factor. The story is too big for the book. I come from a world of Epic Fantasy where doorstopper novels are, if not quite the norm, well within the normal range. A Storm Hits Valparaiso comes in at a bit less than a hundred thousand words which is fairly normal for a novel. But this isn’t a normal novel. We don’t have a main plot with a few sub plots. Gaughran is trying to tell us a real story from real history and if you haven’t noticed, real life is far more complex than your average novel. To get into the specifics, I think A Storm Hits Valparaiso has two significant flaws. One is characterization. It is spotty at best. There are, I think, two characters who are decently written though even there, we should have had more. In other cases, including what should have been one of the more emotional subplots there wasn’t enough characterization to make me actually care about the character. If I don’t care about them I don’t care about what happens to them and they—and the novel—lose all the dramatic tension they should have. The other problem—and it’s related—is a showing/telling problem. There are a lot of places where Gaughran tells us something instead of showing us something and the story suffers as a result. For example, there are two brothers, Jorge and Diego who get separated for a long time. When they get back together they find things aren’t quite like they were before and they end up growing apart. Gaughran tells us this and gives us a scene or two to illustrate. It should have been the reverse. Give us nine scenes where we can see that things are different and just a few lines where one of them recognizes the differences. All in all, if you like historical fiction and/or have a particular affection for South America, I think you’ll really enjoy this story.
sjusyp on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This work of historical fiction reads more like a history textbook than a novel. The events are all there, but overall the writing appears to me to be unfocused and, at times, one-dimensional. The few main characters never seemed to come to life for me, and perhaps I was expecting too much of a novel which attempts to cover so much history over many years. Three stars.
Gregory_Lynn on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I have a lot of respect for David Gaughran. I read his blog daily and his non fiction work Let¿s Get Digital manages to be both inspiring and of practical use so when I saw the chance to get a review copy of his first novel, A Storm Hits Valparaiso I jumped at it, not lease because I saw it as a way of repaying a little bit of what I¿ve gotten from David over the past several months.A Storm Hits Valparaiso is an epic story of love, hate, brotherhood, power, revenge, and the thirst for independence told from the points of view of a variety of people in positions both high and low. For the sake of perspective, Historical Fiction is not a genre I read a lot and I have no particular interest in South America. My home genre is Epic Fantasy though, so I am fully ready to accept a story that spans a continent where what¿s at stake is the lives of every single person on the continent.I wanted to love this book and I ended up just liking it.Why did I like it?Well, it has a little bit of everything it claims. There is love, of both the romantic and brotherly varieties. There is the simple struggle for survival of individuals juxtaposed against the larger struggle for the survival of a people with a regional identity. There is the desire of individual slaves to be free smacked right up next to the desire of a nation of people desiring to be free of a colonial power half a world away. In short, it has everything you would want in an epic.Why then, didn¿t I love it?There are two things I would point to but I think they both stem from one overriding factor. The story is too big for the book. I come from a world of Epic Fantasy where doorstopper novels are, if not quite the norm, well within the normal range. A Storm Hits Valparaiso comes in at a bit less than a hundred thousand words which is fairly normal for a novel. But this isn¿t a normal novel. We don¿t have a main plot with a few sub plots. Gaughran is trying to tell us a real story from real history and if you haven¿t noticed, real life is far more complex than your average novel.To get into the specifics, I think A Storm Hits Valparaiso has two significant flaws.One is characterization. It is spotty at best. There are, I think, two characters who are decently written though even there, we should have had more. In other cases, including what should have been one of the more emotional subplots there wasn¿t enough characterization to make me actually care about the character. If I don¿t care about them I don¿t care about what happens to them and they¿and the novel¿lose all the dramatic tension they should have.The other problem¿and it¿s related¿is a showing/telling problem. There are a lot of places where Gaughran tells us something instead of showing us something and the story suffers as a result.For example, there are two brothers, Jorge and Diego who get separated for a long time. When they get back together they find things aren¿t quite like they were before and they end up growing apart. Gaughran tells us this and gives us a scene or two to illustrate. It should have been the reverse. Give us nine scenes where we can see that things are different and just a few lines where one of them recognizes the differences.All in all, if you like historical fiction and/or have a particular affection for South America, I think you¿ll really enjoy this story.
dre2131 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I recieved this book as part of early reviewers from library thing, and I must admit that I thoroughly enjoyed reading this historical work of fiction. The South American revolution is not a suject I had any knowledge of, and reading about the characters and battles that led to the liberation of the South American people from the Spanish was both very interesting and educational. I would definitely recommend this book to others!
Dabble58 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Wow! This is an all encompassing book, ripe with references to the evolution of Chile and South America. It's one of those broad wallowing type books where the twisting story lines take you here, there, all over the landscape. Gaughran leads you through the stories, keeping you involved and intrigued, and it is hard to put this book down and go back to everyday life. I enjoyed it tremendously.
Falcon124 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Based on the factual history of the liberation of South America from the Spanish, this story mixes actual events with fictional stories & activities for both key historical figures and additional supporting characters caught up in the saga's flow. With characters from England, France, Spain & Latin America, it's a great way to get an overview of the wars of independence & other European events during the 1800's. The writer presents an interesting & enjoyable story that keeps you turning the pages from start to finish and if you've ever been in South America, you'll recognise many of the names & major events. While it could have been a lot more detailed & a much bigger novel, the book stays lean & sticks to the main events with supporting stories around the side. This helps keep it an enjoyable, fast read without getting bogged down in details.
KelliSFlor on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Historical fiction is one of my favorite genres and I did not have much knowledge of San Martin, other than his name and a list of battles (high school history in Mexico). A Storm Hits Valparaiso does a good job of setting up the rather complex set of countries and characters who were involved in the struggle for independence in the Southern Cone of South America. While I learned quite a bit, it was not a perfect book. Some of the writing was choppy, and it jumped between scenes without any notice. Characters were unevenly developed and it seemed that a focus on fewer people would have improved the flow of the narrative. Also, while I know how bloody and difficult the independence wars were, the book did not have to be so depressing. The book did an exceptional job at not setting this war in a vacuum: most of the fighting was located in Chile, but some was in Argentina (which was also a base to go back to and regroup); the freedom fighters came from diverse South American countries - including escaped Brazilian slaves; Spain obviously played a role as they fought to retain their colony; England and France played a part, etc. The elements that converged, setting the stage for the ultimate success of the wars of independence are covered nicely. I do believe the pros outweigh the cons in this case, by quite a bit. I would especially recommend this book for Spanish teachers and students who do not specialize in this region, but think it is good for a pretty general audience overall.
pamkaye More than 1 year ago
I won this book from Librarything back in January. Sorry for the delay in reading and reviewing. The story follows the lives of a dozen people, all involved in different ways in the war for South America's freedom from Spanish rule. Some matter greatly; such as Jose de San Martin or Jorge and his brother Diego, who fight for the army. Some not so much; such as Catalina, whose story is sad and intriguing but doesn't mean much for the revolution; or Ze, who I found pointless and totally missed why I even had to read about him. The war story is interesting. The author seems to have done his research to be as accurate as possible. There are many aspects to this tale. Love, honor, freedom, war, and the losing of friend and/or family. I had a hard time keeping interested. But I like the book and the writing style.
MountainRAL More than 1 year ago
Wonderfully researched details coupled with imagination add sparkle and authenticity to this historical novel. The first several chapters introduce characters and take the reader into the days right before the revolution. At first I wondered if I would be able to keep these characters straight, but there was no problem with that, as each character is unique, with his or her own personality and goals. All come from different walks of life: a runaway slave, an English lord and sea captain, a tavern-keeper’s daughter, an unwanted orphan and his brother, and of course General José de San Martín, a brilliant strategist, born in Argentina and a defector from the Spanish army. Gaughran’s story makes it easy to understand why San Martín is regarded as a national hero of Argentina and Peru. I was particularly fascinated by Thomas Cochrane, in whom I found a character I could wholly root for, as the popular underdog fighting the establishment. While much of the story is centered around freeing South America from Spain and thus involves military machinations to that end, Gaughran also takes the reader into the intimate lives of his protagonists. Each is expertly fleshed out, with fears, hopes, love and suffering. I appreciated this aspect of A Storm Hits Valparaiso. Every chapter deepens the reader’s engagement. I became particularly synced to the triangle of Catalina, Jorge, and Diego. The fighting scenes are vivid and brutal, the military planning intriguing, the work and commitment involved in the freeing of a country fascinating, the love stories poignant. I was not familiar with this history, and was intrigued enough to get online and do some reading. Thomas Cochrane, for instance, is called “The ‘real’ Master and Commander.” Reading this book left me pondering why countries invade other countries and subjugate them. It’s inevitable that somewhere, sometime, those suppressed people will rise up in revolt and fight for their freedom. Conquering armies can never take a truly easy breath. Eventually, they will have to fight to keep what they've taken, again, and again, until at some point, they lose or give up, and many have to die on both sides. Yet history never seems able to impart this lesson, and new, would-be conquerors continue to attempt their overthrows. Highly recommended historical fiction. It really captured my imagination.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good story set in an interesting period of history.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved this book. Had it all. excitement, funny and a wonderful read.