Sea of Gold inhabits a different world from most thrillers for two significant reasons. The sense of place is utterly authentic. We are taken to far flung locations – some exotic, some seedy – by an author who has not just visited them but has lived and worked in these places. The second reason is the ring of authenticity of the business of maritime commerce. You could research until your eyes drooped, but this would never be a substitute for knowing the business inside out, and having a store of rum events and shady behaviour to recall.

These two factors give the book the crackle of real life. But compelling as they are, there needs to be a third element at play. Plenty of people have lived in exotic places and had interesting experiences, but can’t create a satisfying tale out of them. Fortunately Nick Elliott has an effortless elegance in his writing, and an ability to create characters who feel real and sometimes familiar. The story zips along at a fine pace, and the result is a gripping and immersive thriller.

In tone I’m reminded of William Boyd, which is very high praise indeed. Highly recommended.

Nick Elliott’s debut book has a well developed and credible plot within a maritime setting. Angus, the protagonist, uses his Scottish obstinacy to good effect in playing various villains off against each other, finally foiling their grandiose schemes of power grabbing. The action goes from Greece and Scotland to Georgia and the Philippines and a few places in between. I particularly liked the Greek background details and the authentic expressions used which made me feel I was sitting in a cafe in Athens for some of the time. The author certainly knows his shipping business and it provides an interesting and less known backdrop to the criminals’ plans to use their purloined assets for nefarious purposes. And its not without love interests either! I had to keep on reading it to see what happens next and that’s a good sign for a new novel.

Nick Elliott has produced an eminently readable first novel which builds on his own long experience in the shipping and insurance industries around the world. He lays out the background of these activities carefully in the early chapters and develops both plot and characters at a rapid pace maintaining a high degree of suspense with unexpected twists and turns throughout his tale which moves readily from one corner of the globe to another. It rapidly becomes a book that is highly readable and difficult to put down. His central character, Angus McKinnon, is a match for any comparable hero in other recent thrillers. I suspect-and hope-that we will see him again!

This is a first rate, well constructed first novel which benefits from the authors learned insight into the maritime business world and his familiarity with interesting parts of the world. In addition he introduces us to some interesting characters who fortunately survive the tricky circumstances in which they find themselves and who we look forward to meeting again in the sequel(s). I predict a successful future for Nick Elliott who will I feel sure continue to set his stories in fascinating parts of the world. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and only put it down when domesticity called.

I wasn’t able to put Nick Elliott’s inaugural thriller down! From its very first page, Sea of Gold immerses you in the often mysterious world of shipping as seen through the eyes of a P&I Insurance association’s claims assessor, Angus McKinnon, whose vocation leads him on an audacious wild goose chase around the world following a series of frauds that initially appear to be disparate from one another. However, as McKinnon delves deeper into the mysterious sets of crimes that have started with theft of valuable cargo to the loss of an entire ship, its cargo and crew without trace, he soon develops an obsessive fixation on the possibility that the crimes, although occurring years between one another, could somehow be connected.

In the process of solving the mystery, McKinnon comes across a plethora of characters, many of which may, or may not, be trustworthy and in some instances he has to put-aside personal connections to focus on the task at-hand, which, of course, is to uncover the truth despite not everybody seeming to want to hear it! If that is not difficult enough, just as in life itself, while trying to piece the jigsaw puzzle together, McKinnon has his own personal battles to overcome; although it seems the main conundrum I’m sure most would probably be somewhat envious of 😉

Working in the shipping industry and having visited many of the locations in the book (some of which for work!) myself, I can attest to Elliott’s descriptions of both the locations and the characters in his book and am overwhelmed with his attention to detail throughout – I personally believe a brilliant action-thriller movie could be made from the plot itself! It is with great anticipation I look forward to (hopefully) reading more of Angus McKinnon’s adventures in the not-so-distant future.

Carrying years of insider knowledge lightly, the author’s sparing use of professional shipping and insurance jargon is enough to give an authentic flavour of that world, without cluttering the text with technicalities. Hard to believe that this is a first novel – easier to see it as the first of a long series.

A very intricate well written plot wrapped around the obscure (and often baffling) flag state, chartering and P & I parts of the shipping business. A great read for anyone in shipping as well as for the general public. Nick Elliott’s main character, Angus McKinnon, is a professional reminiscent of Dirk Pitt in the Clive Cussler series, but in a different sector of the marine industry. I look forward to Angus McKinnon’s next adventure.

Nick Elliott ticks all the boxes in this fast-paced yarn, with a keen eye for descriptive detail and solidly drawn characters. The first-person narrative, complete with ironic internal asides, is the perfect vehicle for a thoughtful and witty style that draws us swiftly into the shoes of its protagonist, a credible and consistent, if not entirely likeable, character.

A unique twist on the spy detective thriller featuring impeccably researched action that is set in a host of well invoked locations. I look forward with intrigue to Angus McKinnon’s further adventures.