This book is really a page turner. You will not want to put it down once you start it. It is easy to forget that it is a true story because the tale the author tells has you sitting on the edge of your seat. When you do remember that it is a true story you are aghast and struck with awe for this man who has enormous courage and fortitude and manages to defy all odds while operating in a corrupt maritime world in many dangerous third world countries. At times the choices he makes seem cruel or heartless and without compassion. He puts himself in danger often without considering the needs of his family back home. He makes horrible threats, he dumps guards into lifeboats and sets them adrift in the sea, he hoodwinks so many people one would think his reputation would precede him and there would be pictures or posters of him plastered in public places in these out of the way ports, as if he were public enemy number one for the criminal world and mind to avoid.
These crooks he encounters are not very smart. Max Hardberger is way smarter and usually outwits them with his brain and brawn reclaiming ships and property that have been illegally seized. He often seems fearless, even reckless with a wanderlust that leads him to adventures in remote parts of the world to do things that sometimes defy the imagination and place him in enormous danger. To achieve his goals he can be cold and calculating. He is driven by the job, motivated by the "rightness" of correcting a wrong perpetrated upon an honest owner by unscrupulous business people and organized crime. To succeed, he often bends the rules and bribes others to break the law.
His varied experiences have served him well in whatever he has chosen to do since he has contacts and friends everywhere who happily serve his needs, for a price, when he calls upon them. He has dealt with the most corrupt people and I wondered, at times, how he kept himself from becoming corrupt, in order to survive, since he has had to operate under the legal radar.
The author has had a varied life, studying law, working on oil rigs, ships and teaching. He himself is very interesting and he has written a very exciting book.