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Jocelyn Murray

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Jocelyn Murray is a travel writer and historical fiction novelist. She has a special interest in history and archaeology which feeds her passion for writing. She holds two university master's degrees in both English and Education, along with a bachelor's degree in Economics and European Studies. She also has a teaching credential and taught at the elementary school level.

THE ENGLISH PIRATE Cover
HISTORICAL FICTION

THE ENGLISH PIRATE

BY Jocelyn Murray • POSTED ON April 1, 2016

A historical novel offers a swashbuckling adventure set in Jacobean times.

The latest work from Murray (The Roman General, 2015, etc.) takes place at a little-marked turning point in English history. When King James succeeded the aged Queen Elizabeth I to the English throne, he revamped his country’s relations with the kingdom of Spain—including revoking the letters of marque that had allowed the famed Elizabethan “sea dogs” to roam the Spanish shipping lanes committing state-sanctioned piracy at will. The new arrangement cuts these privateers adrift by suddenly making them criminals in the eyes of English law, and nobody is more directly affected than former naval terror James Blackburn (“Blackburn’s maritime skills, sharp instincts, intelligence, expertise and natural leadership ability made him a successful commander and privateer”). He’s now castigated by the same court officials whose pockets he once lined with stolen treasure. One such official, Sir Robert Cecil, scorns such “masterless men, beholden to no one but themselves…hardened, fearless men who lived by instinct, driven onto enemy decks by ambition and the right of pillage.” And the course of the novel bears this out: Blackburn, now a renegade, continues his pirate activities, pursued by both his own countrymen and their erstwhile enemies. Murray laces the narrative—smoothly and expertly paced—with plenty of period research and nautical details of the type that will make fans of Patrick O’Brian and C.S. Forester feel at home, and her scene-setting is lean but effective throughout. All of the cerebral book’s secondary characters are fleshed out with as much texture as Blackburn himself, particularly the scene-stealing Melisande, the strong-willed daughter of a French sea captain. The high-tempered dialogue between Melisande and Blackburn in the wake of the pirate’s capture of her father’s ship at sea is the highlight of the book, providing Murray with an excellent natural device for digging deeper into the buccaneer’s motives and his battered nobility. The rousing novel doesn’t shy away from violence as Blackburn and his men slowly build a pirate fleet out of seized vessels. Although some of these sea action scenes can feel a bit rote, the enthusiasm of the storytelling throughout remains infectious.

A punchy, dialogue-driven pirate tale with a dash of romance.

Pub Date: April 1, 2016

Page count: 326pp

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Jan. 31, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2017

ADDITIONAL WORKS AVAILABLE

Khu: A Tale of Ancient Egypt

Egypt 2035 BC… In a land steeped in myth and superstition, a raid on a small village leaves a young boy, Khu, its only survivor. Fate paves a strange and mystical path through dark and uncertain times, when the split powers of Upper and Lower Egypt compete for sovereignty over a realm plagued by instability, rebellion and fear. In this tale of virtue, vice and valor, the destiny of a divided nation is inextricably linked to that of the boy Khu, in the struggle to restore Egypt to a unified and glorious kingdom.
Published: Feb. 15, 2014
ISBN: 978-1497524156

POETRY: An Intimate Collection

An intimate collection of poetry
Published: Feb. 3, 2020
ISBN: 979-8608493584

Shahrazad

It is the end of the sixth century AD when the Sasanian ruler King Shahryar discovers his wife’s unfaithfulness and betrayal. Consumed by rage and bitterness, the king has his wife executed, and then exacts bloody vengeance on all the women in his harem. The rampage continues when he takes a new bride each evening, and has her executed the following day so that no one else will have a chance to betray him. After three years of ceaseless reprisals that have left the kingdom shaken and fearful, one woman, Shahrazad, comes forward to offer herself as a sacrifice to the king in exchange for a single request. Inspired by the Arabian Nights, Shahrazad is a provocative and rousing tale of treachery, betrayal, courage, devotion and sacrificial love.
Published: Feb. 14, 2017
ISBN: B06W2LJ97Y

The Roman General: A Novel

It is the beginning of the second century AD, and the first Dacian War has recently ended. While Emperor Trajan is preparing to return to Rome in triumph, Marcus Valerius Vetus, a general in Trajan’s army, learns of a tragedy that takes him home to the Roman province of Aquitania with a thirst for vengeance. But when the trumpets of war sound again, Marcus returns to battle in Dacia to defeat one of the Roman Empire’s fiercest foes. The Roman General follows one man’s journey through battle, misfortune, the triumph of the Dacian Wars, and a victory that leads him to Rome. It is a rousing adventure of courage, adversity, conquest, redemption, honor and love.
Published: May 29, 2015
ISBN: 978-1537437118