Genre: Nautical Fiction
Setting: In the West Indies, during the 17th century.
First Sentence: Although Major General Heffer unrolled the map with as much ceremony as he dared, the effect was spoiled when he realized thet the parchment would curl up again the moment he let go of the ends.
This novel is the fifth in Dudley Pope's Ned Yorke series.
Ned Yorke is a plantation owner and royalist. He was force to become a buccaneer during the time of Oliver Cromwell. Cromwell and his followers deposed the king of England. The Puritans then gained control of the government and persecuted royalists. Yorke was force to off his plantation. In order to survive, he and his friends took to the sea.
In this chapter of the saga, Cromwell has died and the King of England has been restored to the throne. Yorke and his friends are unsure of the welcome they will receive from officials who once supported Cromwell should they return home. And they also enjoy the freedom of sailing the open sea. So they decide to continue privateering against the Spanish who ship tons of gold and silver to Europe.
Due to his fame and recent successes, Ned is asked to be the admiral of the "Brethren of the Coast". The Brethren are a group of buccaneers who work together to plan their forays against the Spanish. They want Ned to lead them in a grand attack for the Spanish treasure. It seems that Spain has not sent a treasure fleet back to Spain in years. The Brethren know where the hoard is hidden. They need a crafty admiral to lead them. They have made a wise choice in Ned Yorke. Ned is a wily leader who prefers to use guile to outwit the enemy, rather than force.
Ned accepts. And the adventure is on.
I enjoyed this novel. Dudley Pope is one of my favorite nautical authors. I liked his Ramage series and looked forward to reading this novel. Pope's writing style is easy to read, and the pages fly by. Normally, I prefer novels that move the plot along. This novel is long on description. These details may not seem relevant to a casual reader, but they display Pope's knowledge of sailing and navigation. Someone who sails the West Indies would probably recognize his descriptions of the islands and landmarks of the area.
Maybe not the greatest novel ever written, but a nice adventure story.
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