The Privateersman (Google eBook)

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Fireship Press, 2010 - Fiction - 276 pages
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The Privateersman, written in 1846, was the last of Frederick Marryat's nautically oriented novels, although one of his best non-nautical works, Children of the New Forest, still lay ahead of him. Privateers were essentially legalized pirates. They functioned like the illegal variety; but they carried a document from their government authorizing them to prey on the merchant ships of a specific enemy country. This document is what kept them from being hung as pirates should they be caught. After capturing a ship, they would bring it into an approved port where the ship's goods, along with the ship itself, would be sold. The government got a cut, the ship's officers and crew got a cut, and the investors got a return on their money which allowed them to send the privateer out again. The Privateersman is set in the early 1700s and gives us a keen insight into the world of privateering. Combine that insight with nonstop action and Marryat's unique dry wit, and you have a tremendously entertaining read.
  

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About the author (2010)

A master of the sea tale, Marryat wrote novels that deal with life in the English Navy, in which he himself served. His stories were written for children but were read by old and young alike. "Masterman Ready" (1841) at one time stood next to "Robinson Crusoe" in popularity with boy readers. "Peter Simple" (1834) is the most autobiographical of the novels, "Mr. Midshipman Easy" (1836), the most humorous. "Percival Keene" (1842), the least estimable of his heroes, is a melodramatic story. "The Little Savage" (1848) is a horror tale of remarkable power, strong in plot and character development. Marryat's novels are all didactic, but his moral lessons never intrude or offend. The details of his adventurous life, so far as they are known, are well described in Oliver Warner's "Captain Marryat: A Rediscovery." "A Diary in America" appeared first in 1839. The recognition now given to Marryat as a source for social history is fully deserved, since his opinionated account of his journey gives us "an invaluable view of American life at the time when Jacksonian democracy was in full development in the new nation.

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