THE SEA VENTURE by F. Van Wyek Mason


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A seasoned writer of historical fiction has uncovered a segment of the New World period of discovery and settlement that this reader-and doubtless many others- finds completely fresh and unhackneyed. With a ""minimum of contrived incidents and purely fictional characters against a background of thoroughly researched fact"" he has brought to life the landing of Sir George Somers on the Bermudas in 1609 -- a fortuitous landing to be sure, which was actually a skillfully manipulated shipwreck of the flagship the Sea 'Venture in a hurricane. Part of a convoy of relief vessels, manned in part by convicts and felons, and with passengers planning to settle in Virginia, the flagship -- and presumably all the little fleet -- suffered horribly in the storm. Admiral Somers -- knowing something of the dread reefs around the Bormudas -- drove his hopelessly damaged vessel between two great rocks, near enough land to rescue his passengers, crew and the relatively undamaged stores. Around the fictional characters of Peter Agnew, a highwayman known as ""The Earl"" -- and Dolly Mellish, barmaid, the story is built of the tempestuous months on shore, as Cates, determined to get his settlers to Jamestown, arrogantly legalistic in exercising his military control on land, came into conflict with the more philosophical Somars. The thread of romance is pretty much overlaid with the adventures- an absorbing and plausible tale of dissimilar people thrown into close proximity by circumstances beyond their control. For all who like their history coated over with might-be-true fictional incidents, here is a new slant on the talc of the hapless Jamestown venture plus the little known beginnings of Bermuda.

Pub Date: Sept. 15th, 1961
Publisher: Doubleday