Cover image for The guardship
Title:
The guardship
Author:
Nelson, James L.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Post Road Press, 2000.
Physical Description:
372 pages ; illustrations, map ; 21 cm.
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780380804528
Format :
Book

Available:*

Library
Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Status
Item Holds
Searching...
X Adult Fiction Central Library
Searching...
Searching...
X Adult Fiction Open Shelf
Searching...

On Order

Summary

Summary

Shortly after Thomas Marlowe's arrival in Williamsburg, Virginia, all in that newfound capital city are speaking his name. With the bounty from his years as a pirate--a life he intends to renounce and keep forever secret--he purchases a fine plantation from a striking young widow, and soon after kills the favorite son of one of Virginia's most powerful clans while defending her honor. But it is a daring feat of remarkable cunning that truly sets local tongues wagging: a stunning move that wins Marlowe command of Plymouth Prize, the colony's decrepit guardship.

But even as the enigmatic Marlowe bravely leads the King's sailors in bloody pitched battle against the cutthroats who infest the waters off Virginia's shores, a threat from his illicit past looms on the horizon that could doom Marlowe and his plans. Jean-Pierre LeRois, captain of the Vengeance--a brigand notorious even among other brigands for his violence and debauchery--plots to seize the colony's wealth, forcing Marlowe to choose between losing all or facing the one man he fears. Only an explosive confrontation on the open sea can determine whether the Chesapeake will be ruled by the crown or the Brethren of the Coast.

Shortly after Thomas Marlowe's arrival in Williamsburg, Virginia, all in that newfound capital city are speaking his name. With the bounty from his years as a pirate--a life he intends to renounce and keep forever secret--he purchases a fine plantation from a striking young widow, and soon after kills the favorite son of one of Virginia's most powerful clans while defending her honor. But it is a daring feat of remarkable cunning that truly sets local tongues wagging: a stunning move that wins Marlowe command of Plymouth Prize, the colony's decrepit guardship.

But even as the enigmatic Marlowe bravely leads the King's sailors in bloody pitched battle against the cutthroats who infest the waters off Virginia's shores, a threat from his illicit past looms on the horizon that could doom Marlowe and his plans. Jean-Pierre LeRois, captain of the Vengeance--a brigand notorious even among other brigands for his violence and debauchery--plots to seize the colony's wealth, forcing Marlowe to choose between losing all or facing the one man he fears. Only an explosive confrontation on the open sea can determine whether the Chesapeake will be ruled by the crown or the Brethren of the Coast.


Author Notes

James L. Nelson is a native of Maine & a former professional square-rig sailor. He still lives in Maine with his wife & children, where he continues to write & maintain his involvement with traditional sail. He is the author of "By Force of Arms", "The Maddest Idea", "The Continental Risque", & "Lords of the Ocean".

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Without finishing Revolution at Sea, Nelson starts another series, this one set in the Golden Age of piracy. The year is 1701, and Virginia planter Thomas Marlowe is appointed captain of the local guardship, Plymouth Prize. His mission is to defend the Chesapeake Bay area and tobacco commerce from pirates. Before he assumes command, however, he kills Matthew Wilkenson in a duel over the reputation of the young widow Elizabeth Tinling. After this, he is engaged in four intersecting actions: concealing his past as the pirate Malachias Barrett; courting Elizabeth; fighting pirates led by his old captain and vengeful nemesis, Jean Lerois; and surviving the enmity of the Wilkenson family, which is secretly in cahoots with the pirates. All this activity involves enough plotting and counterplotting for several books, which, abetted by sound historical scholarship, brisk pacing, and canny exploitation of one of the more obscure corners of maritime history, makes for thoroughly good reading. --Roland Green


Publisher's Weekly Review

The initial entry in Nelson's The Brethren of the Coast series (after his Revolution at Sea trilogy) is first-rate popular action writing. In 1701 Virginia, Thomas Marlowe kills a favorite son of the colony's most powerful tobacco family, the Wilkensons, in a duel, incurring the wrath of the entire clan. Soon after, when he's given command of the colony's guardship Plymouth Prize, Marlowe must deal with the Wilkensons' vendetta, the Prize's decrepitude and inept crew, and his fascination with beautiful widow Elizabeth Tinling (whose honor precipitated the duel), before getting around to his main job, fighting Chesapeake Bay pirates (who call themselves "men on the account" and "Brethren of the Coast"). Marlowe, n‚ Malachias Barrett, we learn, was himself a member of "the sweet trade" (i.e., a pirate). The lovely Elizabeth isn't what she seems, either. The only man in the world Marlowe fears is his ex-captain and current leader of the Brethren, Jean-Pierre LeRois, whose cruelty and cunning are fueled by blazing dementia: "His crew were still screaming, he could hear them, though he could not actually see anyone's mouth moving." The brilliant descriptions of LeRois's spells make it plain that his craziness is caused by drink and an advanced venereal condition. Lots of plot twists, some nifty seamanship and a nice collection of secondary characters add ballast to the narrative. There's a bit of sex and some sly wit as Marlowe tells Elizabeth about "careening" a ship: "`First we strip the vessel of all of her top hamper," he begins, and ends: "We cause her to roll on her side and thus expose the bottom." Of course, there's a climactic one-on-one between Marlowe and LeRois before Marlowe can become a hero. Despite the general absence of daily colonial texture, readers will gladly be swept along by a wonderful plot. Ad/promo. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Excerpts

Excerpts

The Guardship Book One of the Brethren of the Coast Chapter One Publick Times in Williamsburg. April the fifth, the Year of Our Lord 1701. The night before Marlowe killed young Wilkenson. The night Marlowe was asked to command the guardship. The colony of Virginia was a wild place then, a wilderness of great rivers and creeks and islands and mile after mile of woodland that had never seen a white man's face. Otter and beaver in vast numbers. Enough fish in the water that a man could fill a canoe in half a day. A place where a man could disappear forever, and many did, and not always by their own design. There were few towns of any note in the tidewater regions. Travel in Virginia and Maryland was made easy by the great Chesapeake Bay. Rather than struggling over decrepit roads the people there used the rivers as their highways, and there was little need for them to bunch up in settlements. So, they lived in far-flung plantations where, with ax and torch, they beat back the thick forest to make room for tobacco, more and more tobacco, that unfailing cash crop. And when they did congregate for Publick Times in the capital city of Williamsburg, after their long and unnatural solitude, it was a raucous time indeed. The streets overflowed with people. Men and women, freemen, indentured servants, and slaves moved in throngs from one revelry to the next. Beautiful coaches with matching teams and footmen in fine livery pushed down sandy Duke of Glouchester Street. As the warm day gave way to the cool of evening, a spirit of good humor prevailed throughout the tightly packed taverns, boyling houses, publick houses, and ordinaries. All men, gentlemen and commoners, were fellows on that day, and planters, tradesmen, farmers, laborers, mechanics, sailors, thieves, and picaroons reveled together in the streets. Thomas Marlowe stood to one side of the ballroom, the grand ballroom in the governor's house, watching the brilliant silks and velvets, the long white wigs of the gentlemen, and the great piles of hair atop the ladies' heads as they moved across the floor in their elaborate cotillions and minutes. He could feel the sweat running down his face under his own wig. The weight of his red silk coat with its gold embroidery, the snug-fitting waistcoat, seemed to grow more unbearable with each moment. His shoes pinched intolerably. The air outside was cool, sweet, and pleasant, but inside the hall, with its great chandeliers and their hundreds of burning candles and the crowd of people all whirling and curtsying across the floor, the atmosphere was thick and all but unbearable. From a nearby open window Marlowe caught a welcome breath of air, and with it came the muted sounds of gunfire and singing and shouting and laughter. The common people had taken their celebrations to the public square, carrying on in the country manner. It was a very different kind of celebration than the governor's highly civilized affair, and, Marlowe imagined, considerably more fun. But despite his discomfort he managed to do a tolerable job of appearing to enjoy himself. There was no one there, excepting Francis Bickerstaff, who stood beside him, who might have guessed at how miserable he was. "I quite fail to understand, Marlowe, why we must subject ourselves to this torment," Bickerstaff said. "I am certain that we are witnessing one of the circles of hell. I should think we will see enough of damnation in the next life that we might forgo it now." Bickerstaff was the most plainly dressed man in the crowd. This is not to say that his clothing was poor, far from it. He wore a blue silk coat, adorned with only a bit of embroidery, and that blue as well, a simple white waistcoat, and breeches, all of the finest silk, unadorned, a plain cut, subtle and of the highest order. "Now, Bickerstaff," said Marlowe, "we could hardly decline an invitation to the Governor's Ball. One does not advance in Virginia society by staying at home and ignoring such affairs." "Why you should be so obsessed with rising in Virginia society is yet another mystery to me." " 'There are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in your philosophy, Francis Bickerstaff."' Marlow turned to his friend and smiled. "Is that not what your William Shakespeare said?" Bickerstaff sniffed. "Something to that effect, though he is hardly 'my' William Shakespeare." Marlowe was Bickerstaff's junior by about ten years, or so he guessed, but that was only a guess. Bickerstaff would not reveal his age, and Marlowe did not know his own for certainty, but he imagined Bickerstaff was around forty-five. He had a thin frame and the perpetually dour countenance of the serious pedagogue, which indeed he had once been. He was a learned man, skilled in Latin and Greek, mathematics, natural science, and all of those subjects befitting a gentleman. Marlowe opened his mouth to reply, when his eye caught a parting in the crowd as the dancers drew apart with the precision of soldiers on a parade ground. He turned, and for an instant he could see clear to the far end of the room. And there he saw her, for the first time that night. Her hair was the color of fresh straw and made up in a great pile, held in place by a gold comb, which in turn was covered with jewels that glinted in the light from the chandeliers. Her skin was white and perfect and smooth from her forehead to the tops of her lovely round breasts, pushed up by her bodice. Her waist was tapered down perfectly to the point where her farthingale held silk skirts far out from her sides. She was beautiful, and though Marlowe had made no overtures in her direction, thinking it improper given her circumstance, and indeed had spoken to her but a few times, he was her slave. The Guardship Book One of the Brethren of the Coast . Copyright © by James Nelson. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold. Excerpted from The Guardship by James L. Nelson All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.