The Game that Never Ends is David Adamson Harper’s third novel and establishes him as a very readable author. His writing style has improved with each book. In this his latest book he writes with much more confidence and it flows well. He cleverly weaves a story of a young man’s love affairs and his love of cricket and rugby into a very believable and enjoyable novel with just enough glimpses of his attraction to women to keep the pages turning quickly.

Sandy Gosse excels at cricket at the “right school”, in Adelaide and after playing the last game of the 1953 season he meets Alex Fitzherbert. They quickly fall deeply and passionately in love, as only teenagers can. There are problems though, Sandy comes from a family of shopkeepers and is Anglican, while Alex is from a wealthy family, is Catholic, has been educated in Switzerland and now lives mainly in Italy. Her Italian mother is determined to ensure that their love does not flourish. Sandy’s best friend tells him, “Mate, Alexandra Fitzherbert is out of your league” but does she have an ulterior motive?

Alex’ mother takes her back to Italy and Sandy goes to Oxford where he gains a double blue in both rugby and cricket but struggles academically. Alex rarely leaves Sandy’s mind, but he has a succession of love affairs, some fleeting but one with a woman, Darlene, who gets a whole chapter, and who teaches him the art of sex. Alex meanwhile has been manipulated by her mother into a loveless marriage to a wealthy Italian land owner. Sandy and Alex’s paths cross from time to time always rekindling their love, but a divorce is impossible as Alex is Catholic. They finally part, forever, or so they think.

By 1962 Sandy’s business career has taken him to San Francisco where he meets Kate, the attractive daughter of the owner of a large brokerage. They fall in love and marry. Sandy joins the firm and becomes a successful stock broker. Life is perfect until the ‘phone rings in Sandy’s office

“Sandy, I’m at the Fairmont.”

......there was no mistaking that is was Alex.... Without thinking he responded. “Alex, I’ll be there in ten minutes”... Through tears she whispered. “Sandy, I’m free. Free of everything. I know it’s been a long time, but I told you I would make it work for us.”

... They make love; she clinging and passionate, he distracted...knowing it was wrong...he tells her he loves her... but wonders how he will tell her he is married. Doesn’t she know he is married?

This is a book that has many interesting twists and turns, not the least of which is her abiding Catholicism and how her abortion affects their lives. The love story develops in several countries, and Sandy’s cricket and rugby excellence provide him many opportunities. It seems an unlikely combination, but it works very well indeed. The Game That Never Ends is an easy and pleasurable read and I look forward to the author's next book. Perhaps it will continue the story.

 

 

BOOK REVIEW - THE GAME THAT NEVER ENDS

reviewer Mel Goldberg

I have never played cricket nor have I played rugby, but author David Adamson Harper blends both with heavy doses of love and sex in his latest book, The Game That Never Ends. The story begins in San Francisco in 1962. The main character, Australian Sandy Gosse, thinks back over his life, from the day in Adelaide in 1953 when he first meets Alex. Over the years their love for each other creates many problems but now has caused him to lose his wife Kate and his job as a stock trader in San Francisco. The author cleverly uses first person for flashbacks and third person for the present time of the book.

The book has several sections, each with a title that relates to Sandy’s experiences with life, women, travel, and his time at Oxford University, where he excelled in sport but struggled academically. For example, chapter two, “Adelaide 1953 - Audeamus” starts with a long, perhaps too long, narrative about a cricket game in which he stars. However, it is because of this game that he meets Alex and they immediately fall in love. It also introduces the reader to the term audeamus, which means let us dare, which becomes an abiding code word throughout the novel for their relationship. Chapter three, “Darlene,” relates how an older woman teaches the eighteen-year-old Sandy about sex and lovemaking.

The following chapter, “Naples 1954 - Alex” brings the reader back to their love story. As a result of their night together she becomes pregnant and this sets up the secondary theme of his exasperation with her Catholicism. Her mother takes her to Switzerland for an abortion and she becomes obsessed with Catholic guilt and a desperate need for absolution of her sin. The novel moves deftly between Oxford, his games and the love story. Sandy and Alex meet periodically over the years but never seem to be in the right place at the right time in their lives. When Sandy is free, Alex is married. When Alex finally becomes free, Sandy is married to Kate.

The novel is filled with memorable characters, like the flamboyant Mara, Alex’s gay Italian uncle who helps her through her difficulties and Sir Charles Mills, Sandy’s very proper uncle in London who had been an aide to Winston Churchill. Other characters include Emily, who meets Sandy on a ship to England and who hopes to become a surgeon in London and the delightful Pippa whom Sandy meets at Oxford University and considers marrying until Alex reappears. Then there is Göran Persson, the cricket-loving Swedish friend to whom he turns after his debacle in San Francisco.

Even though the story takes place many years ago, the reader feels that it could happen today, in any place where a man and a woman from different backgrounds meet and fall in love. This book is about love and sex, with cricket and rugby in place of rock and roll. The author’s fast paced style keeps the reader engaged right up until the end.

But if you want to know what happens to Sandy and Alex and the many other characters that live and breathe in The Game That Never Ends, you'll have to read the book!

Available locally from Dianne Pearl Collecciones or from Amazon.com in paperback or eBook Kindle

In the last ten years I have read nearly everything Theodore Roosevelt wrote, and a great deal of what has been written about him, including the great works by Hagedorn, Morris, McCullough, Brinkley, Kearns-Goodwin, and more. Without a doubt I have just read the work of historical fiction that stands out as the story that would best make a tremendous screenplay and film. All the ingredients are there: history, romance, intrigue, action, and more.

David Adamson Harper has woven a beautiful mola, and laid it across the flesh and bones of amazing history. A bully good tale, highly recommended.

 

Visit this website to obtain the review of HOW TEDDY TOOK PANAMA from the weekly tourist magazine, The Visitor, in Panama City, Republic of Panama.

https://www.thevisitorpanama.com/

Also available in Spanish at this website.

Nuevo libro sobre la fundación de la nación

Este artículo también está disponible en: Inglés

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Una lectura muy recomendable para cualquier persona interesada en la historia de Panamá y el Canal es un libro que acaba de ser publicado en este año del centenario de la vía acuática. Se titula “How Teddy Took Panama” (Cómo Teddy tomó Panamá) de David Adamson Harper. Descrita como una novela histórica, el libro cuenta la historia de la fundación de la República de Panamá, ingeniosamente entretejida con una trama ficticia pero muy plausible, que implica un agente del servicio secreto a cargo de la peligrosa hazaña de facilitar el apoyo del presidente norteamericano Theodore Roosevelt a los rebeldes de Panamá, para ese entonces siendo una provincia de Colombia, en su lucha por la independencia con el fin de obtener de ellos un tratado ventajoso para la construcción del Canal.

El estilo descriptivo del autor trae a la vida los detalles de las reuniones y maquinaciones en la Casa Blanca y entre los padres fundadores de la nueva República de Panamá en sus mansiones en San Felipe, ahora mejor conocido como Casco Antiguo.

El libro contiene todos los fascinantes detalles de la licitación para construir el canal, como la historia de Buneau-Varilla, el francés que negoció el tratado con los EE.UU. visitando a todos los filatelistas en Washington, obsequiando a cada uno la estampilla nicaragüense de un centavo, cuyo sello muestra un volcán en erupción. Luego envió a todos los senadores una carta explicando que Nicaragua era geológicamente demasiado inestable para apoyar la construcción de un canal allí.

La historia del golpe que facilitó Roosevelt, para los que conocen la historia, necesita poco adorno para ponerlo en la misma liga con las mejores tramas de ficción. El Sr. Harper le ha dado un toque adicional, al añadir la sub-trama del apuesto agente clandestino y sus aventuras en Panamá, con sus implicaciones de intriga, derramamiento de sangre, pasión y amor.

“How Teddy Took Panama” está bien escrito, bien investigado, es instructivo y muy entretenido. El libro está disponible solamente a través de Amazon.com.

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David Adamson Harper pasó toda su vida en la industria marítima, incluida una docena de años en Panamá, donde administró el Panama Agencies Company. Más información en: DavidAdamsonHarper.com

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BOOK REVIEW - "How Teddy Took Panama" by David Adamson Harper

A highly recommended read for anyone interested in the history of Panama and the Canal is a book just released in this year of the waterway's 100th anniversary entitled "How Teddy Took Panama" by David Adamson Harper. Described as a historical novel, the book tells the story of the founding of the Republic of Panama, artfully interwoven with a fictitious but highly plausible plot involving a secret service agent charged with the dangerous task of facilitating Theodore Roosevelt's support of the rebels of Panama, then a province of Colombia, in their bid for independence, in order to obtain from them an advantageous treaty for the building of the Canal.

The author's descriptive style brings to life the details of the meetings and the machinations in the White House and among the founding fathers of the new Republic of Panama in their mansions in San Felipe, now better known as Casco Antiguo. The book contains all the fascinating details of the bid to build the canal, such as the story of Bunau-Varilla, the Frenchman who negotiated the treaty with the U.S.A., going around all the philatelists in Washington buying every one-cent Nicaraguan stamp he could find. The stamp shows a volcano erupting in Nicaragua. he sent one to every Senator with a letter saying that he country was too geologically unstable to support the canal.

The story of Roosevelt's coup, as those who know the history, needs little embellishment to put it in the same league with the best fictional plots. Mr. Harper has gone one better and added a sub plot of the handsome clandestine agent and his adventures in panama which involve intrigue, bloodshed, passion and love.

"How Teddy Took Panama" is well written, well researched, instructive and highly entertaining. It is available as a paperback and digitally through Amazon.com

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David Adamson Harper spent all his life in the maritime industry, including a dozen years in Panama where he managed Panama Agencies Company, Cristobal. His interest in the history of Panama has led him to write "How Teddy Took Panama," a historical novel that offers an explanation of how President Teddy Roosevelt pulled off the steal of the century and managed to keep his involvement secret.


Review ends

David Harper’s first novel, Kwangchow, is an unforgettable story of Freddy Everard’s life from youthful naiveté to a maturity reminiscent of John Fowles’ Daniel Martin’s return to his authentic being. The central character, Freddy, (the name grows on you) is a young third officer on a large Hong-Kong based British freighter with a Chinese crew.

Unknown to all but the ship’s captain, our hero is also an undercover British naval officer sent to spy on Chinese shipping. Freddy approaches life at sea with believable innocence. Unaware of the challenges of shared responsibility for a heavy freighter, and the consequences of his role as spy, a series of traumatic events which include being taken captive, transform his naiveté into a mellowed understanding of his own values.

While the first chapter lacks focus, the subsequent writing is smooth and effortless, offering a complex detailed story that held my interest from beginning to end.

The novel begins as Freddy faces Captain Marshal’s suspicion and dislike, while Andy, the chief officer, sensing the captain’s reserve - not unlike Thomas Heggen’s Mr. Roberts - helps and encourages the young officer. Another new friend, Jim Lathrop, third engineer gleefully leads the hero shoreward to places and women of questionable value. The tension between above deck and below deck officers is palpable.

On his first solo watch tension builds as Freddy has to navigate the heavy freighter through thousands of Chinese fishing vessels without sinking the fragile ships. From that point on, the author’s understanding of the writer’s craft, and his first-hand experience as an officer on a British merchantman, enable the story to flow with an urgency that is sustained throughout.

One fascinating encounter is with the inimitable Gurdon, a classic double agent whose loyalties are in doubt. Gurdon, a friend of Mao’s, has for mysterious reasons, been in China since the early 1920’s.

The reader’s interest is held fast as Freddy engages a world dominated by the sea and filled with adventure, conflict, love and hope. In the vein of Richard Hughes’s Hazard, and Joseph Conrad’s sea stories, David Harper’s novel successfully draws a vivid portrait of men thriving in the austere and perilous conditions of life at sea.

In especially insightful moments the inscrutable actions of the Chinese crew, whose loyalty is not clear, test the mettle of the ships officers in unexpected ways.

Three well-developed female characters, Anna, Freddy’s first love back in London; the tantalizing Lili in Hong Kong; and Heather, an Australian nurse working in primitive Rabaul, who follows Freddy to Brisbane, play key roles in Freddy‘s development. Harper breathes life into their unresolved needs and their conflicted relationship with Freddy. These interactions with Freddy give the story weight and serve as relief from intense shipboard action.

The details about the lives and relationships among the crew, the ship and its workings, and the sight and sounds of the Far East are captivating. New conflicts emerge daily in encounters with greedy port authorities and corrupt Chinese systems, along with a classic sea adventure in which the ship, caught in the Straits of Taiwan, enters the vortex of three converging typhoons. For anyone who enjoys a great book of the sea this is a must read.

My own reading about the sea began with Moby Dick and the Hornblower series. However since reading Kwangchow, I am convinced that more contemporary sea tales offer equally exciting adventures.

"This book is a must read for anyone who sailed the China Seas as an officer on a merchant ship in the 1950s and early 1960s, who wants to go down memory lane, or for those who want to know what they missed. David Harper's novel captures exactly the way it was." -  Peter Matthews