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Reviewed by Michelle Stanley for Readers' Favorite
House of Refuge is a nice military fiction by Michael DiBaggio. Justin Agnarsson is the lone station-keeper at House of Refuge #49, a floating sanctuary for mariners in the Plata Raft region. He gives shelter to a man and his daughter after an Argentine warship attacked their boat. Justin makes a report to the authorities, but the Argentine ship’s merciless captain ignores the treaty that states all houses of refuge are safe havens for any seafarers who need aid. He launches an attack on the refuge and foils any attempt that Justin makes to get help. The trio arms themselves, but know the warship’s crew outnumbers them. Justin's refusal to surrender only adds more fuel to the captain’s fiery vengeance.
I was pleasantly surprised that House of Refuge could actually be so brief in content without losing the qualities that make a story appealing to read, given its synopsis. Michael DiBaggio writes confidently and this shows from the catchy selection of words in the beginning of his story. He is descriptive in his writing, which has some mild action and suspense. The plot is original and informative since I did not know about these floating houses of refuge or the history surrounding them. More interesting historical information on House of Refuge #49 is located in the novella’s Appendix, along with other noteworthy articles. I like the book’s cover that shows a picture of the actual floating sanctuary. There are a few more illustrations included in the book, which is nice.