Empire of Blue Water
Captain Morgan’s Great Pirate Army, the Epic Battle for the Americas, and the Catastrophe that Ended the Outlaws’ Bloody Reign
By Stephan Talty
My Rating: 4 Stars
Empire of Blue Water is all about pirates. What more do I need to say here? Pirates rock!! Who doesn’t have a fascination with pirates or hasn’t at some point in their lives? I’ve always been intrigued by the idea of pirates though, I’ll admit, I know very little about them. So, when perusing Overdrive for my next non-fiction read I stumbled upon this little gem and needless to say, I jumped at the chance to learn something true about these famous outlaws of the sea. And I wasn’t disappointed. This was an amazing read. It kept me enthralled until the final page and I couldn’t wait to learn what became of the myriad of salty characters whom I came to love by the end of the book. Perhaps you’ll be tipping your glass of rum to Talty by the end as well. Ok, Ok, one last little bit that might get you interested in this book…are you a rum drinker? Do you drink Captain Morgan Spiced Rum? If so, this is a book about THE Captain Henry Morgan, the Welsh privateer the famous brand is named after. You may have even done the Captain Morgan stance once or twice. Here is me doing said stance in Baltimore.
I could never do this book justice so I’m going to quote the synopsis that you can also find on Goodreads here – www.goodreads.com/book/show/281693.Empire_of_Blue_Water?from_search=true. But for your convenience I’ve posted below.
Henry Morgan, a twenty-year-old Welshman, crossed the Atlantic in 1655, hell-bent on making his fortune. Over the next three decades, his exploits in the Caribbean in the service of the English became legendary. His daring attacks on the mighty Spanish Empire on land and at sea determined the fates of kings and queens, and his victories helped shape the destiny of the New World.
Morgan gathered disaffected European sailors and soldiers, hard-bitten adventurers, runaway slaves, and vicious cutthroats, and turned them into the most feared army in the Western Hemisphere. Sailing out from the English stronghold of Port Royal, Jamaica, “the wickedest city in the New World,” Morgan and his men terrorized Spanish merchant ships and devastated the cities where great riches in silver, gold, and gems lay waiting. His last raid, a daring assault on the fabled city of Panama, helped break Spain’s hold on the Americas forever.
Awash with bloody battles, political intrigues, natural disaster, and a cast of characters more compelling, bizarre, and memorable than any found in a Hollywood swashbuckler—including the notorious pirate L’Ollonais, the soul-tortured King Philip IV of Spain, and Thomas Modyford, the crafty English governor of Jamaica—Empire of Blue Water brilliantly re-creates the passions and the violence of the age of exploration and empire.
Like I said before, this was an epic read. It’s engaging and gripping and sure to keep you intrigued until the final page. Talty is able to immortalize Captain Morgan and have you rooting for him to the very end. I’ve already recommended this book to several people and will stay at the top of my list of great reads for some time.