BUCCANEER by Dudley Pope


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Ned Yorke, living contentedly on his Barbados plantation during the mid-17th-century, gets word from England that his father (the sixth Earl of Ilex) is a Royalist fugitive from Cromwell's forces--and that the Roundheads will soon be arriving in the Caribbean, where Royalists like Ned will be ""detained."" So, to avoid imprisonment, Ned and his household decide to sail off on his ship the Griffin; also aboard will be Ned's great unconsummated love, French-born Aurelia, wife of Ned's evil nemesis Wilson--a neighboring plantation-owner. (Even though Wilson is an impotent sadist, Aurelia refuses to break her marriage vows no-matter-what.) But how will Ned & Co. survive on the high seas? Well, very reluctantly, this proper captain--the ""only buccaneer who pays bills""--realizes that the pirate's life is the only answer--smuggling goods into towns and villages along the Spanish Main. (Royalist or not, Ned is still a patriot, Spain is still the enemy, and anti-Spanish crime is ""buccaneering"" or ""privateering,"" not ""piracy."") Soon Ned is teaming up with fellow Royalist buccaneer Sir Thomas Whetstone, real-life nephew of Oliver Cromwell--who sails his own ship with the lovely Diana as sassy second-in-command. And eventually the two smuggling ships head for Jamaica together--where the English governor is in deep trouble, about to be overrun by the Spanish. Though not especially wanting to serve Cromwell's interest, the two buccaneers (and their headstrong ladies) finally agree to launch a preventive attack on the Spanish fleet--finishing up just in time to get good news from Barbados: Aurelia's vile husband is dead, and they can marry at last. With a few drily amusing encounters, more than a few anachronisms (""'Keep me covered,' he muttered to his musketeers""), and sturdy nautical action: serviceable 17th-century derring-do at sea--breezily mixing a little political history into the usual yo-ho-ho.

Pub Date: Sept. 30th, 1984
Publisher: Walker