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The Pirate Round: Book Three Of The Brethren Of The Coast [Paperback]

James L Nelson
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Oct. 30 2003 Brethren of the Coast (Book 3)

In 1706, war still rages in Europe, and the tobacco planters of the Virginia colony's tidewater struggle against shrinking markets and pirates lurking off the coast. But American seafarers have found a new source of wealth: the Indian Ocean and ships carrying fabulous treasure to the great Mogul of India.

Faced with ruin, former pirate Thomas Marlowe is determined to find a way to the riches of the East. Carrying his crop of tobacco in his privateer, Elizabeth Galley, he secretly plans to continue on to the Indian Ocean to hunt the Mogul's ships. But Marlowe does not know that he is sailing into a triangle of hatred and vengeance -- a rendezvous with two bitter enemies from his past. Ultimately, none will emerge unscathed from the blood and thunder, the treachery and danger, of sailing the Pirate Round.


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From Publishers Weekly

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.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

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
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars The Progressive Pirate March 4 2004
Format:Hardcover
Aye, it's 1706 don't ye know, and the ex-pirate Thomas Marlowe decides to settle down, with the beautiful Elizabeth, on a tobacco plantation in olde Virginny. And the first thing he does is what the first thing any bloody desperado would do: he frees his slaves. Aye, a real fair and honest man is he, our Thomas Marlowe. No slavery for him, don't ye know; that's despicable!
But the pirate lust roils in his veins so he schemes to get back on a ship and sets sail for olde England, in order to sell a load of tobaccy and make himself wealthy. He mans his ship with an equal portion of his ex-slaves and a crew of salty old sea-dogs he finds at the wharf. Naturally, they get along just fine, don't ye know, white and black, illiterate and ignorant, African and European, barely a problem between the two a'tall.
And he brings his wife along, the lovely, blonde Elizabeth, with barely a thought to the fact that she will be months at sea, in closed quarters, with a crew of armed and ignorant men, one or two who might, don't you know, get the idea of giving her husband the old heave-ho so that they can, perhaps, enjoy her in such a way that pirates have been known to enjoy females over the centuries. But no, this never happens you see, because they've apparently taken on the characteristics of their smart and sensitive captain.
So, grrr, he's cheated out of his rightful tobacco revenue and decides to go to Madagascar to become a pirate again--without telling his wife--who gets mad at him and stamps her pretty little foot and refuses to bunk with him, until he finally gets angry and takes his fists and--no, no, not that a'tall.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good swashbuckling adventure Jan. 22 2003
Format:Hardcover
This book concludes the author's trilogy about his pirate or as he puts it his Brethren of the Coast series. It is a good sea adventure story. This was a good time for the author to end, or at least it seems he is ending, the adventures of Thomas Marlow the protagonist in this series of books. Unlike fictional sea adventure heroes Hornblower and Bolitho whose series of books were continued on the basis of their promotions in the ranks of British officers to face new challenges, Marlow the former pirate had no such future. His story was due to end soon.
This book has Marlow, facing a bad market for tobacco from his plantation taking a chance to make some money for himself and his neighbors with a cargo of tobacco to beat other shipments to England. But he loses that cargo because of an old pirate enemy and decides to try his luck as a privateer in the Indian ocean preying on richly laden cargo ships. Again his bad luck holds when he runs into another one of his old pirate enemies who rules an island in that area. And the book concludes with a fight to the finish between Marlow and his two enemies. It is a close thing for Marlow and he loses his trusted friend and advisor in the battle. But Marlow and his wife survive and now is a good time for the author to allow them to live every happily after.
I now look forward to a new sea going adventurer by the author in a new series.
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3.0 out of 5 stars The Pirate Round Aug. 8 2002
Format:Hardcover
Although this book contains some of the good qualities of earlier Nelson books (yes, ships do collide, several times), I found it a little disappointing.
Marlowe, short of cash, tries to take a shipload of tobacco to London ahead of the convoy. This backfires when an old enemy from his pirate days recognizes him. Fleeing to Madagascar, Marlowe goes back on the account, but becomes embroiled in the politics of the island.
I wish that there had been more description of the setting in this book. Madagascar, a fascinating environment full of many unique species, comes across as generic "jungle". There's not a single lemur to be seen.
I also felt that some plot elements never were worked out. Marlowe, in an exciting scene, rescues some stranded sailors. But these men play no unique part in the action afterward. Likewise, Honeyman, who keeps verging on antagonism but then proving himself loyal, would seem to have more interesting possibilities -- we never learn what motivates him.
The end, a kill-'em-all battle scene, works very well. Overall, I wonder if the author's heart wasn't quite in this story; it just doesn't have the structural strength and attention to detail I've seen from Nelson in the past. However, I'd still say it's worth reading.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Best of a Great Series! Aug. 16 2002
Format:Hardcover
I have read all of the Brethren of the Coast books (and most of Nelson's Biddlecomb books) and enjoyed then all a great deal, but this one is the best so far. Nelson is terrific at creating dangerous madmen, and the characters in Pirate Round are beleivable and terrifying. This is real edge of the seat writing, with the usual atention to historical detail and the kind of sea writing that can onlycome from a former blue water sailor. A great book, you will love it!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars  13 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best of a Great Series! Aug. 16 2002
By William Barnes - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I have read all of the Brethren of the Coast books (and most of Nelson's Biddlecomb books) and enjoyed then all a great deal, but this one is the best so far. Nelson is terrific at creating dangerous madmen, and the characters in Pirate Round are beleivable and terrifying. This is real edge of the seat writing, with the usual atention to historical detail and the kind of sea writing that can onlycome from a former blue water sailor. A great book, you will love it!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good swashbuckling adventure Jan. 22 2003
By Robert F. Jakubowicz - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This book concludes the author's trilogy about his pirate or as he puts it his Brethren of the Coast series. It is a good sea adventure story. This was a good time for the author to end, or at least it seems he is ending, the adventures of Thomas Marlow the protagonist in this series of books. Unlike fictional sea adventure heroes Hornblower and Bolitho whose series of books were continued on the basis of their promotions in the ranks of British officers to face new challenges, Marlow the former pirate had no such future. His story was due to end soon.
This book has Marlow, facing a bad market for tobacco from his plantation taking a chance to make some money for himself and his neighbors with a cargo of tobacco to beat other shipments to England. But he loses that cargo because of an old pirate enemy and decides to try his luck as a privateer in the Indian ocean preying on richly laden cargo ships. Again his bad luck holds when he runs into another one of his old pirate enemies who rules an island in that area. And the book concludes with a fight to the finish between Marlow and his two enemies. It is a close thing for Marlow and he loses his trusted friend and advisor in the battle. But Marlow and his wife survive and now is a good time for the author to allow them to live every happily after.
I now look forward to a new sea going adventurer by the author in a new series.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Was Saved for Last!!! Nov. 1 2004
By John R. Linnell - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
We have now advanced to 1706 in the final book of the trilogy, Bretheren of the Coast involving Thomas Marlowe. Marlowe having left his former life as a pirate, changed his name and found respectability as a tobacco plantation owner is about to be visited by his past again. War in Europe has made shipping tobacco there far less profitable than in the past and due to piracy the tobacco owners liked to send their crops in one large convoy which resulted in a glut on the market when it landed and

raised havoc with their profits. It is Elizabeth who comes up with the idea of refitting their former private man-of war and shipping their tobacco ahead of the convoy, thereby fetching a fair price to and helping them avoid financil ruin. Marlowe, who has been too long without having a quarterdeck under his feet, jumps at the idea and also has another thought in the back of his mind, as he is aware of the stories coming back across the water of new opportunities for those who are willing to sail to the Indian Ocean to prey upon the treasure ships of the great Mogul of India.

Once again, Marlowe's past returns to haunt him when they get their crop to England and Marlowe is required to come ashore in London to sign for the crops of neighbors which he had carried and is confronted by Roger Press, a former pirate whom Marlowe had thought was dead. Marlowe had marooned him and left him to die in the Caribeean several years before. Press has been hired by the East India Company, been given a man-of-war and a Queen's Commission to hunt pirates and stop the plundering of the company's shipping. Upon discovering Marlowe, Press attempts to abduct him and plans to kill him. Marlowe escapes with his ship and his life, but without funds from the cargo of tobacco they cannot return home and a decision is arrived at to head for the Indian Ocean and the riches that can be found there in the "sweet life."

From that point on the story gets into the life of The Pirate Round in full measure. The intrigues, villians, battles and the like keep building to an epic finish and from it all, Thomas Marlowe finds an answer to one of life's questions that we all can learn from.

James Nelson has told a wonderful, entertaining and often bittersweet tale of the times and life among The Bretheren of the Coast, and this last book is the best of the three.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Pirate Round Aug. 8 2002
By K. Freeman - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Although this book contains some of the good qualities of earlier Nelson books (yes, ships do collide, several times), I found it a little disappointing.
Marlowe, short of cash, tries to take a shipload of tobacco to London ahead of the convoy. This backfires when an old enemy from his pirate days recognizes him. Fleeing to Madagascar, Marlowe goes back on the account, but becomes embroiled in the politics of the island.
I wish that there had been more description of the setting in this book. Madagascar, a fascinating environment full of many unique species, comes across as generic "jungle". There's not a single lemur to be seen.
I also felt that some plot elements never were worked out. Marlowe, in an exciting scene, rescues some stranded sailors. But these men play no unique part in the action afterward. Likewise, Honeyman, who keeps verging on antagonism but then proving himself loyal, would seem to have more interesting possibilities -- we never learn what motivates him.
The end, a kill-'em-all battle scene, works very well. Overall, I wonder if the author's heart wasn't quite in this story; it just doesn't have the structural strength and attention to detail I've seen from Nelson in the past. However, I'd still say it's worth reading.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Uneven but a decent adventure if that's your brew . . . April 9 2005
By Stuart W. Mirsky - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
The first third or so of this book was a slog. Nelson writes nicely, particularly when capturing the experience of dying in the midst of a battle, as he does brilliantly, in the book's prologue. I was also taken with his introduction of the book's protagonist, Thomas Marlowe, Virginia planter and former pirate, in the opening sequence of the first chapter. But from there the tale degenerated for me as we follow Marlowe and his lady love and assorted hangers on as they try to cobble together a voyage to sell their tobacco in advance of all others into the English market. The building of a crew and the relationship between Marlowe and Elizabeth, his wife, is rather predictable with Elizabeth being shown as an atypically feisty but loving woman, as capable as her man in business as in the use of salty language, but devoted to him. Very much a nod, I think, to our modern sensibility which demands that our female characters be strong and aggressive in their own right. But not at all likely to have been consistent with the period. Nor, as another here has noted, is it likely that Marlowe would have taken her along with him on a ship bound for the high seas and, in all probability, a stint of dangerous pirating. Yes, there were some female pirates, anomalies to be sure, but Marlowe, if he were worth his salt, would have been unlikely to drag his beloved wife along on such a trip, even if she demanded it of him.

Marlowe, who has freed and re-hired his plantation slaves (others here have commented on the peculiarity of THAT for this time period, so I won't say more) collects a crew, half of them freed slaves from his plantation and half local seamen, and takes off with his and his neighbors' tobacco, and his lovely wife Elizabeth, to England. There things finally get a bit hairy and he is almost hanged by an old enemy. Escaping down the Thames in the dark of night, Marlowe and his crew soon find their way to a pirate haven on a small island off the coast of Madagascar and at last the tale begins to gather steam.

Though Marlowe seems a little too introspective and sensitive a soul for the kind of man he is said to be, and very much an indecisive fellow, reacting to events as much as leading them, and a bit of a dunderhead for walking into a pirate's lair with his wife at his side, still he comes across as sufficiently sympathetic to be worth worrying about. I read the last half of the book with gusto as the characters, Marlowe included, started to become a might more interesting, especially the little pirate, Lord Yancy. Though something of a caricature, as with the rest of these pirate fellows, he was at least an interesting one.

True, the tale continued to have a certain unfortunate predictability about it and the characters were largely stock or mere shadows, never coming fully to life or engaging enough to care about. But the action picks up and is nicely drawn. Though I grew a little tired of the extensive descriptions of shipboard activities and the reliance on the technical jargon of ships, I have to admit that Nelson turns a nice phrase and keeps the pacing well in hand.

Because of the taut and engrossing second half, I upped the stars in the amazon rating system for this review by one. The book proved a good read in the end and one worth the time of anyone who likes a good adventure tale. But you'll have to hang in there until the tale gets its sea legs.

SWM
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