He challenged the greatest empires on earth with a ragtag bunch of renegades - and brought it to its knees. Henry Morgan crossed the Atlantic in 1655, hell-bent on making his fortune.
Awash with bloody battles, political intrigues, and natural disasters, Empire of Blue Water brilliantly re-creates the passion and the violence of the age of exploration and empire.
©2009 Stephan Talty; (P)2009 Oakhill Publishing
"Fresh insight into pirates' dens of old ...Well-researched non fiction that reads like a novel." (Washington Times)
" Talty strips away the legend to recreate a pivotal era in this accesible portrait of the pirates of the Caribbean." (Publishers Weekly)
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"Swashbuckling in the real world"
Although this book is subtitled "Pirates who ruled the Caribbean waves", it is mostly the life story of Henry Morgan. Not that I'm complaining. Morgan was certainly a very colourful character who had more adventure in his life than most of us will ever read of. How he went from shabby buccaneer to Governor of Jamaica is a remarkable story filled with tremendous triumph and incredible hardship, and this book tells it beautifully. The ordinary pirate/buccaneer is not neglected, for the book also refers to a fictional character who is a composite of the typical pirate of the day, which adds greatly to the story of the increasingly high-flying Morgan. The result is an excellent study of Morgan and his actions, seen both through his eyes, those of his Spanish enemies and those of his followers.
What the book is not is a general history of piracy in the Caribbean. Many famous pirates get only brief mentions or no mention at all, but the picture of piracy in general and how it operated, flourished and eventually withered is brightly painted by the author. In particular the grubby truth behind the actions of so many characters gives a great feeling of realism which some histories can gloss over, making this book one of the better ones at depicting all the characters as flawed if sometimes great personalities.
The reading is very well done, and since I can fault neither the book nor how it was produced it only remains to say this is well worthy of its five stars and a little of your time.
I have been interested in Pirates for some time now and was happy to see a book like this available- I found this to be a very enjoyable listen, well read and a compelling naritive. The book appears to have been written with the american reader in mind but this does not make it any the less enjoyable. The book on the most part focuses on Morgan following his life and expliots- a topic that I was previously ignorant, but one which i found both entertaining and informative. I enjoyed learning the link between the exploits of the pirates and the establishment of the British empire in the indies, the effect of pirate armies had on pilaging the spanish settlements in the americas and the effect that this had on global events.
"This Audio Didn't Quite Rule...."
I did so badly want to love this book. This was the first time I had listen to an audiobook about pirates and I knew hardly anything about Henry Morgan. The story took a little while to get going however I was prepared for this as the background story had to be outlined so the listener could truly appreciate what was occurring in the rest of the book. The narrator did an outstanding job of portraying the story and keeping the book feeling informative without getting bogged down in an endless stream of facts.
However..... I found myself entering the last few hours of the audiobooks life with the desire to reach the end as quickly as possible. It may be due to the fact that pirates are not most number one subject to listen to or simply that the story had dragged on a bit. There was certainly room to reduce or indeed cut some of the book and I wasn't sure that the creation of a made up pirate to try and highlight the average life they had was needed.
Every audiobook that I own has been listened to on several occasion however I find it incredibly unlike that it would be the case or this book no matter how much I did / wanted to love it.
Couldn't quite bring myself to write the whole review in pirate argot. An excellent mix of tall tales, interesting personalities and social history. Not sure about the device of using an archetypal pirate character as a parallel for Henry Morgan but despite what may simply have been a device to reduce the amount of research time to produce the book it was still a rattling read
"Empire of Blue Water"
A classic example of the truth being more fascinating than any fiction. The story of the real Henry Morgan is an amazing, complex saga that leaves any 'squash buckling' pirates way behind and transports the listener into the murky world of the seventeenth century.
A thoroughly enjoyable and informative book. It details the life of Morgan, and puts it in the context of the geopolitical climate of the time. The author has a very informal and narrative style that makes it an easy but enthralling listen, and the narrator does an excellent job of bringing it all to life. For anyone interested in the brutal days of the Pirates, Buccaneers and Privateers in the Caribbean, then I would highly recommend this book.
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