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Cindy Vallar, Editor & Reviewer
P.O. Box 425, Keller, TX  76244-0425


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Cover Art: At Drake's Command
At Drake’s Command
By David Wesley Hill
Temurlone Press, 2012, ISBN 978-0-9836117-2-1, $14.95
Kindle eBook, $2.99


(A B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree for Historical Fiction)

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In November 1577, four ships – the Elizabeth, the Benedict, the Swan, and the Pelican – are anchored in Plymouth’s harbor. Rumors say they will sail to Alexandria, Egypt. Peregrine James longs to join Sir Francis Drake’s new adventure, but why would the legendary Sea Dog hire a convicted thief? While awaiting punishment, he spies Drake and Thomas Doughty, the Elizabeth’s captain, and asks for a job anyway. He can’t remain in Plymouth and, with his parents dead, his father’s tavern sold to cover debts, and his girlfriend engaged to someone else, what does he have to lose? When Doughty suggests that his skill at cooking Mediterranean dishes might come in handy during the voyage, Drake grants Perry’s wish.

As with most voyages, however, smooth sailing is at a premium. First, the ships have already set sail before he manages to come aboard. Then he discovers that much of the food stored in the hold has spoiled. Since the food must last for many months at sea, Perry wants to report the fraud to Drake, but who will believe a lowly cook’s assistant? He uses his culinary skills to reveal the problem, which proves his loyalty to Drake. That faithfulness comes in handy when Doughty enlists him for a secret mission. Drake wants him to deliver a coded log to the only man in England who can decipher its secret. Only later does Perry discover Doughty’s duplicity in selecting him for this task.

Thus begins “the adventures of Peregrine James during the second circumnavigation of the world.” From enemies within the realm who want Drake to fail to enemies without who want to punish the heretical Queen Elizabeth, At Drake’s Command is the first book is historical series about Drake’s second voyage around the world. Perry James is a captivating adventurer, who quickly learns to rely on his wits to survive highwaymen, pirates, and the Moors of Africa. This volume covers the beginning months of the voyage, November 1577 to February 1578, but it contains a wealth of historical tidbits and a wonderful cast of characters, each of whom comes to life within the pages of this novel. Hill’s ability to recreate sixteenth-century England and ships is superb, and he deftly recreates the harsh and dangerous life sailors endured to explore exotic locales and reap untold riches. At Drake’s Command is a compelling, edge-of-your-seat historical novel in which readers travel back in time to stand beside Drake and Perry as they set sail on a voyage no one will forget.

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Review Copyrighted ©2013 Cindy Vallar


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