• Empire of Blue Water

  • Captain Morgan's Great Pirate Army, the Epic Battle for the Americas, and the Catastrophe that Ended the Outlaws' Bloody Reign
  • By: Stephan Talty
  • Narrated by: John H. Mayer
  • Length: 13 hrs and 26 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: Biographies & Memoirs, True Crime
  • 4.3 out of 5 stars (1,013 ratings)
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Publisher's Summary

He challenged the greatest empire on earth with a ragtag bunch of renegades - and brought it to its knees. Empire of Blue Water is the real story of the pirates of the Caribbean.

Henry Morgan, a 20-year-old Welshman, crossed the Atlantic in 1655, hell-bent on making his fortune. Over the next three decades, his exploits in the Caribbean in the service of the English became legendary. His daring attacks on the mighty Spanish Empire on land and at sea determined the fates of kings and queens, and his victories helped shape the destiny of the New World. 

Morgan gathered disaffected European sailors and soldiers, hard-bitten adventurers, runaway slaves, and vicious cutthroats, and turned them into the most feared army in the Western Hemisphere. Sailing out from the English stronghold of Port Royal, Jamaica, “the wickedest city in the New World,” Morgan and his men terrorized Spanish merchant ships and devastated the cities where great riches in silver, gold, and gems lay waiting. His last raid, a daring assault on the fabled city of Panama, helped break Spain’s hold on the Americas forever. Awash with bloody battles, political intrigues, natural disaster, and a cast of characters more compelling, bizarre, and memorable than any found in a Hollywood including the notorious pirate L’Ollonais, the soul-tortured King Philip IV of Spain, and Thomas Modyford, the crafty English governor of Jamaica - Empire of Blue Water brilliantly re-creates the passions and the violence of the age of exploration and empire. 

©2007 Stephan Talty (P)2007 Books on Tape

Critic Reviews

"Before he became rum, Cap'n Morgan humbled the Spanish Empire....Talty's well-researched account weaves together myriad political and financial interests in the New World." (Booklist)

"Talty strips away the legend to recreate a pivotal era in this accessible portrait of the pirates of the Caribbean." (Publishers Weekly

“Talty’s vigorous history of seventeenth-century pirates of the Caribbean will sate even fickle Jack Sparrow fans....A pleasure to read from bow to stern.” (Entertainment Weekly)

What listeners say about Empire of Blue Water

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Morbid Terrorists?

Captain Morgan and his motley crew were certainly outcasts of that society but also the unofficial attack arm of the early imperialistic aims of the English government. Without his actions, the Spanish would have made a stronger foothold in North America and the history of the USA would have been very different. The book and narrator is excellent. The description of the earthquake is vivid and interesting.

24 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent listen

Great book. I learned not only a lot about Henry Morgan, but also about privateer and pirate origins. If you like European history, this is also a great book and it connects new work and old world issues of the time impressively.

7 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

I love Pirate history

I'm obsessed. This story was great. It was filled with all the glorious tidbits I'd hoped it would be and more! The narrator is perfect. I'm sad my pirate story has ended :(

9 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent!

Really enjoyed this book. Great look at Henry Morgan, and the society of Port Royal, and how privateers operated and organized.

I particularly enjoyed the narration of John H. Mayer. Best narrator I've heard.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Informative and Exciting

I was woefully ignorant of the times and life of Henry Morgan. This book is a pleasant cure. The author delves into the political aspects of the privateers(or pirates) of Port Royal, somewhat of a surprise how important these characters were beyond the Carribean. Morgan was clearly a colorful and charismatic leader. The author presents the material in an exciting and informative manner. If you enjoy history, this book brings it alive. The reader is above average.

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Generally Enjoyable

The true story of Captain Morgan (the man, not the rum) and piracy in the Caribbean. Morgan was one of the truly successful buccaneers, who not only captured lots of loot but also lived to retire, enjoy his riches...and turn on the bretheren. It is also the story of Port Royal, Jamaica, which was one of Britain's earliest footholds in the Caribbean and an interesting tale in its own right.

If you enjoy this book, you may find "The Pirate Hunter" by Richard Zacks (the story of Capt. Kidd) an interesting complement.

3 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Fitting Title as it was Morgans Empire

I only knew a little of the Admiral Captain Morgan, but Morgan was the right man to manage the unruly pirates, or privateers as they thought of themselves. They even had positive names for there ships, Endeavor, and Satisfaction. The pirates had all the advantages, surprise, sanctioned by England, and they got all the loot. While the Spanish were inexperienced and underpaid.
If you like history, and to get a true version of pirates (not Hollywoods) then this is a great book for you. I read it quickly, and I will seek out the narrator in the future.

6 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Interesting history

A very interesting history of Port Royal and Morgan's exploits, a lot of which was new to me, and well narrated. I wasn't crazy about the inclusion of the "character" called Roderick, but I understand that Talty wanted a way to include an "everyman" privateer / pirate in the tales.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

The Last of the Mythic Giants

What did you love best about Empire of Blue Water?

The 17th century Pirates could easily be written off as simple men of singular thought and to some degree that would be true, but the most successful among them were not just ruthless, calculating and complex but incredibly loyal and the first to demonstrate and embrace democratic actions.

What did you like best about this story?

The depth of character exhibited by a few notable leaders who dared to lead a vagabond group of cut throats and murders.

Have you listened to any of John H. Mayer’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

yes, excellent again.........

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

It can be said of all great men and those of the lowliest of character, they all die, and there was an odd unsettling sense when you saw these men die of their self induced illnesses and infirmities after living life so robustly outside societal expectations. They finally engaged a foe they could not conquer.

Any additional comments?

This is a more historical read than just fictional.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Adventure wrapped with History

If your looking to get lost in adventure, this will get you there. Great read or listen. I would reccomend it for any vacation.

2 people found this helpful