Henderson's Spear
By Ronald Wright
Henry Holt/A John Macrae Book - March 2002
ISBN: 0-5050-6496-8 - Hardcover
General Fiction
for violence, language, Adult themes

Reviewed by: Jo Rogers, MyShelf.Com
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HENDERSON'S SPEAR is actually a long letter from filmmaker Olivia Wyvern to her daughter, whom she gave up for adoption at birth. As the story opens, Olivia is in prison in Tahiti, charged with a murder she didn't commit. How she got there, what she found in her search for her father, Jon Wyvern, reported missing in 1953, is woven in through the papers she is typing for her daughter.

These papers were written by Frank Henderson, an officer in the British Navy in the reign of Queen Victoria. Olivia grew up in Henderson's Tilehouse Street home in the town of Hitchin. The Wyverns were apparently unrelated to Henderson, yet they owned his home, his personal papers, and the great spear of undetermined origin that hung over the mantle. Those papers contained an account of the voyage of the HMS Bacchante, and how Henderson got the spear.

Though the stories seem disparate, they do tie together at the end of the book. The characters we meet along the way are interesting and all too human. Wright's descriptions of the islands of the South Pacific make the story live, for the reader is not only able to see the characters moving through the scenes, he can see the environment in which they move. I found the story absorbing, and the end was not quite what I expected. There are questions left unanswered, and there is room for at least one sequel. I would really like to know who the murder victim was.

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