Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Empire of Blue Water

Henry Morgan hated being called a pirate.  As far as he was concerned, he was a privateer, and his attacks on Spanish settlements were all part of his patriotic service to his own country, first under Cromwell and later under the restored King Charles.  The fact that they also made him fabulously wealthy was a side benefit, secondary to the fact that his successes against Spain led to his being knighted and appointed deputy governor of Jamaica--at which point he turned around and worked on eliminating his former buccaneering colleagues.  It was all part of serving his king.

Empire of Blue Water, by Stephan Talty, takes an interesting tack in tying Captain Morgan's career to the rise and fall of Port Royal, Jamaica, at one time the wickedest city in the Western Hemisphere.  Unfortunately, the author also chooses to create a composite character to illustrate the experiences of a typical pirate of the time, and the interjection of Roderick into Morgan's documented campaigns adds a disorienting note of fiction to the proceedings.  It's a readable and interesting book, but I wasn't always sure the author was taking it seriously.

Originally posted at MySpace 6/23/07

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