Former pirate Thomas Marlowe returns to his old trade in this third and final novel in Nelson's Brethren of the Coast series (The Guardship; The Blackbirder). It is the year 1706, and Marlowe has been a (fairly) respectable Virginia tobacco plantation owner since 1700. But now war in europe is choking the tobacco business, and Marlowe is nearly broke. It is his beautiful wife, elizabeth, who comes up with a solution: to save his land and dubious reputation, Marlowe will resort to his old profession. He recruits a motley crew, including his wife, sails to London to sell some tobacco, and then intends to proceed to the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean to prey on the treasure ships of the Great Mogul, ruler of India. Marlowe is recognized in London, however, by a psychotic enemy who pursues him to the pirate stronghold of Madagascar. Marlowe finds no sanctuary there; instead, he encounters Lord elephiant Yancy, a treacherous pirate leader who fancies Marlowe's wife and has murderous plans for Marlowe and his pursuers alike. Marlowe, however, is a man of proven courage, loyalty, ruthlessness and trickery, so he has some bloody surprises for Yancy and the cutthroats who would threaten his wife and crew. This is a rousing swashbuckler filled with treasure, sea battles, feuds, revenge, romance and deadly conspiracies. Nelson's Marlowe is an antihero, a man of action and honor who is also larcenous and forever scheming - a good man, but not too good. Nelson's portrayal of the pirate menace and its unique seagoing society is thorough, accurate, colorful and utterly convincing, providing a full broadside of reading entertainment.
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Pirate-turned-privateer Thomas Marlowe returns in the final installment of Nelson's riveting Brethren of the Coast trilogy. In 1706, Marlowe, chafing a bit under the yoke of respectability accorded him as one of the most prominent plantation owners in the colony of Virginia, longs to recapture the excitement of his days on the open sea. When the shipping rates increase exorbitantly due to the lingering war in Europe, Thomas seizes the opportunity to set sail in order to sell his own tobacco crop personally in London. Fate intervenes as Marlowe is confronted by Captain Roger Press, a bitter enemy from his checkered past. Chased by Press to the island of Madagascar, he engages his old nemesis in a treacherous game of cat-and-mouse as each vies for both revenge and the fabulous treasure carried by ships belonging to the mogul of India. Though Thomas prevails, his triumph is tempered by grief as he achieves his goal only at great personal cost. This suspenseful, action-packed adventure is a worthy conclusion to an authentically detailed maritime series. Margaret Flanagan
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