T.A. Roberts. Drakes Bay (2010) 176 pp.
Publishers description: On a quiet Sunday morning in San Francisco, scholar Ethan Storey and his girlfriend are touring an open house in the hills. In it is an archive of rare books and Ethan comes to believe that the rarest of the rare may be here: the logbooks of the 1577-1580 world voyage of Sir Francis Drake. These have been lost to history, suppressed by Queen Elizabeth, who thought they contained the state secrets of the Northwest Passage. Where had Drake sailed? A brass plate purportedly left behind by Drake near San Francisco Bay and found in the 1930s had been accepted as genuine, then exposed as fraud, re-validated and exposed again. It was always suspected that the actual records of the voyage might still exist, and if found would make the plate, validated, a treasure for its owner. But if the powerful California family that held the plate of brass was desperate for cash, yet would rather destroy the logbooks than see them made public, something else must be going on. The logbooks are the nexus of a contemporary story of greed as violent and conspiratorial as anything in the sixteenth century. As Ethan, a university professor in midlife with doubts about his much younger lover, searches for the logs, he also discovers much more about her, his emotionally detached father, and the power of historical events to shape our lives.
Setting: San Francisco; Marin County