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The Violins of Saint Jacques by Patrick Leigh Fermor

The Violins of Saint Jacques by Patrick Leigh Fermor
The Violins of Saint Jacques
Ed Hotchkiss
Ed Hotchkiss

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This is a fascinating book about a fictitious Caribbean island in the early 20th century and the petty concerns and decadence of the French society and the descendants of slaves. Everything changes when there is a volcanic eruption on the night of a Mardi Gras ball. The author is Patrick Leigh Fermor who is considered the greatest British travel writer of his lifetime and whose personal life was a combination of Indian Jones, James Bond and Graham Greene. This book piqued my interest for two reasons. First, the made-up history in this book is not that different from most Caribbean islands. Second, the Lesser Antilles is volcanically active and eruptions can occur anytime. In 1902, Mount Pelée in Martinique erupted and destroyed the city of Saint-Pierre and killed around 30,000 people. In 1995, the dormant Soufrière Hills volcano in Montserrat erupted and destroyed the capital city of Plymouth and most of the survivors left with only 5,000 now living on the island.

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