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The History of Maritime Piracy

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

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Books for Adults ~ Historical Fiction: Pirates & Privateers


Cover
                    Art: Dead Man's Chest
Dead Man's Chest: The Sequel to Treasure Island
By Roger L. Johnson
Zander eBooks, 2001, ISBN 1-58630-080-6, US $10.95


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John Paul, a Scottish sea captain, finds his life turned upside down after he kills the mutinous cook aboard his ship. Upon the recommendation of the lieutenant governor, he flees Tobago in hopes of presenting his case to an impartial admiralty court rather than the corrupt justice of the peace on the island. When the captain of the postal packet becomes ill, John agrees to take over and signs his name, "John Paul Jones." At Kings Town he enters Silver Jackís Tavern and meets David Noble, the son of a shipping magnate, and Jack Bridger, a retired pirate better known as Long John Silver.

Silver has waited a long time to regain treasure buried on Dead Manís Chest and, with John Paul Jonesís appearance, he hatches a plan to achieve that goal. He enlists David to accompany John to the American colonies, but cautions his nephew to say nothing about the treasure until the time is right. The two young men intend to gain commissions in the colonial navy, for America and Britain are on the brink of war, but a visit to John's brother forestalls that intent. William has consumption and John falls in love. An innocent letter, written by David to his father, forces Silver to take a more forceful approach in manipulating the Scotsman to do his bidding without John's knowledge.

As this riveting adventure unfolds, John meets such historical personages as Patrick Henry and Thomas Jefferson. He must convince the only man who knows the location of the buried treasure to reveal that knowledge. If his journey is successful, the colonies will possess what they desperately need (cannon for their new navy) and Long John Silver will be rich. Yet obstacles abound, for Silver isnít the only pirate eager to gain the treasure and these pirates fly the jolie rouge, the red flag that means "no quarter given."

What if events and characters in Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island were real? While doing research at the House of Lords Record Office, Roger Johnson stumbled across a handwritten transcript of testimony given during the British Admiralty's investigation of an attack of HMS King James. He came to believe that Jim Hawkins, Ben Gunn, and Long John Silver were based on real people and the favorite story of many children was based on a true encounter with pirates. Since that fateful day, the transcript has disappeared and the Admiralty denies its existence.

This sequel to Treasure Island explains what happened to Long John Silver, Ben Gunn, and Jim Hawkins. It is a seamless weaving of fiction and fact. Roger Johnson's knowledge of ships, sailing, and American history draw the reader into a world of wooden ships, fomenting rebellion, and cutthroat pirates. Spellbinding twists and plenty of action keep the reader guessing until the last page. Those who dare to tread amongst pirates and rebels will discover a treasure rich in intrigue, mystery, adventure, and romance. The only question left to ponder once you finish Dead Man's Chest is how much is fact and how much is fiction?


Review Copyright ©2001 Cindy Vallar

(This review was originally posted on Simply E-Books.)


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