The Legend Is Born

The Legend Is Born

Can she entice a man to her barren desert island?

This faraway, pre-contact story begins with Helkena, a young, still untattooed girl enduring a typhoon crashing over the only island she has ever known. Her home is Wōtto, one of the dry, windswept atolls of the northern Marshall Islands. The newborn infant Ḷainjin has just been entrusted to her care by his mother, who has sailed her fleet of proas into the open ocean to save them from certain destruction.

Helkena, having barely survived the storm, must now travel to Naṃdik, a wet atoll in the southern rain belt of the Rālik Chain. As Ḷainjin’s surrogate mother, she will sail with the infant by outrigger canoe in the company of his maternal grandfathers. These kind men had recently helped the Wōtto Islanders overcome the terrible drought that typically follows a typhoon. With the trade-wind season approaching, it’s soon time to complete their voyage. The grandfathers begin teaching   Helkena the traditional navigational arts along the way.

Her goal is to get her tattoos on Naṃdik and, in time, to find a man there to take home   to Wōtto. But will she   entice a man from the lush south to her barren desert island?

Far from being a simple story, this colorful, romantic tale presents a surprising background to the    lovemaking culture of the Marshall Islands. It also reveals the early years of young Ḷainjin, the hero of the Legends of Ḷainjin historical literary fiction series

About the Book

Post by Bertha Jackson
[Following is an official review of “A Legend Is Born” by Gerald R Knight.]
A Legend Is Born: The Legends of Lainjin is the third book in this series by Gerald R. Knight. After Tarmālu leaves her infant son, Lainjin, with Helkena, a typhoon hits Wōtto and leaves the islanders without food, shelter, or water. Brothers, Japeba and Jipeba, arrive at the island to provide water and fresh tuna. Japeba is Lainjin’s grandfather, and assuming that his daughter died during the typhoon, Jipeba asks Helkena to help raise Lainjin at their Namdik home. Helkena is excited to go with them because there will be many men on Namdik that she is not related to. One of the first men she sees is Ḷōjurok, and she is immediately attracted to him and imagines him as her chosen one. She is greatly disappointed to learn that Liargin has already chosen him. Will Helkena find a man who will want to leave Namdik and move to Wōtto? Read this fantastic book about the culture in the Marshall Islands to find out.

Gerald R. Knight did a fantastic job describing the pole houses, coral reefs, lagoons, islands, and oceans. I could easily visualize the wave swells rising over their canoes. Each of the characters in the book was easily identified, even though they had names that I was unfamiliar with. Each chapter’s heading let me know what that chapter pertained to. I enjoyed learning about the islands’ cultures. One example is how seashells play a dominant role in bathing. I learned eating fish helps to keep your body warm. Gerald R. Knight translated unfamiliar words the first time they were used, as well as in the footnotes at the end of each chapter and in the Glossary at the end of the book. Each footnote had a link to its reference that was easy to move back and forth from in the text. I appreciate that the chants were in italics which differentiated them from the rest of the text.

The sexual customs in the Marshall Islands could have left a little more to the imagination, but this is a personal preference and not a flaw in the book. With the easy access to translations of unfamiliar words, there was nothing I disliked about this book.

I am delighted to give this professionally edited book 4 out of 4 stars. With its smooth-flowing and fast-paced plot, there was no reason for me to give this book a lower score. I was intrigued from beginning to end and enjoyed reading this book.

Mature readers who enjoy romance or historical-fiction books based on the culture found on the Marshall Islands are the audience I recommend this book to. You do not need to read the first two books in the series to enjoy this one. If graphic sexual content offends you, you may want to avoid this book.

[Following is an official review of “A Legend Is Born” by Gerald R Knight.]

The Legend Is Born by Gerald R. Knight tells the story of Helkena and Ḷainjin, the boy she raised as her own. Ḷainjin’s mother is a respectable businesswoman who came to trade in Wōtto, Helkena’s village. Heavily pregnant, she approached Helkena’s mother to help her give birth to her child. After giving birth to a baby boy, she left the boy with Helkena’s mother, fearing that a typhoon might disrupt her journey while sailing back to her village. Helena was to care for the child as if he were her own until his mother returned. They waited for the return of the boy’s mother to no avail.

One day, two brothers, Japeba and Jipeba, relatives of Ḷainjin’s mother, came for him. With no news of what happened to Ḷainjin’s mother or her whereabouts, they came to take Ḷainjin back to their village and train him in their ways. They did, however, wish for Helkena to accompany them and care for Ḷainjin until he was old enough to survive without the support of a mother figure. Helkena, in her entire life, hasn’t left the shores of her village before nor lived without her family. She loved Ḷainjin like her own and had heard stories of how life in the other villages differed from theirs. She decided to follow the brothers and hoped to return to her family with a husband. Will her dreams come true quickly? Will she survive the challenges ahead? And will Ḷainjin ever see his mother again? Find out the answers to these questions in this 151-page book.

The book has an exciting plot, and I like how the author developed the story. The story’s environment is not what I am used to reading about. The events took place in the Republic of the Marshall Islands, surrounded by water. Their only means of transportation is by water—no plane, rail, or road. I was thrilled to read about their food. They drank coconut water and ate coconut and fish for their main meals. They don’t eat rice, spaghetti, and many more exotic foods I am used to, but they enjoy their food and are happy with their lives. The author gave a lot of detailed descriptions of sailing on the ocean. I learned how the sailors knew when it was safe to sail and how they handled eventualities when on the water.

I like the friendship between Helkena and Ḷainjin, as well as the two brothers. Although Helkena hadn’t experienced motherhood before, Ḷainjin bonded well with her and grew up loving her as a mother. I also enjoyed the twist in the story. I envisioned a different story with the book’s title, but it took a different turn, and I enjoyed it. Although this book is the third in the Legends of Ḷainjin series, it can be read as a stand-alone.

Although I enjoyed the book, there were some things in it I disliked. Being a native book, non-English words were used, although the words were referenced and explained at the end of each chapter. I would have preferred it if the author gave an immediate interpretation of the language used and then gave a full explanation of the words after each chapter. I have difficulties understanding the words, and I don’t like this about the book.

The book was professionally edited, as I found an error in it. The story was easy to understand and didn’t drag on for too long. Aside from what I stated as my dislike above, there is nothing else I don’t like about the book. For this reason, I rate the book 3 out of 4 stars .

I recommend this book to lovers of historical literary fiction, adventures, and love stories. Also, people interested in learning how to sail will find this book a great help. Readers of exciting books who don’t mind reading about sex scenes in books will enjoy this book.

Series: The Legends of Ḷainjin, Book 3
Genre: Historical Literary Fiction
Publisher: Iguana Books
Publication Year: 2022
List Price: 14.99
eBook Price: FREE
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