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Thursday, March 27, 2014

Book Review: The Mountain of Gold - High-seas Adventure

The Mountain of Gold (2012) is the buoyant sequel to the first novel by J.D. Davies (Gentleman Captain) that continues the valiant antics of Matthew Quinton, a young captain in King Charles II’s royal navy in 1663. This grand adventure begins when a captured Muslim pirate, who turns out to be an Irish renegade, tells Quinton a preposterous tale about a mountain of gold in Africa. King Charles, blinded by greed, does not hang the pirate but orders Quinton, his ship and the Irishman on an inauspicious expedition to Dutch-held West Africa to find the treasure.

 Before setting sail, Quinton attempts to passionately dissuade his older brother from marrying a mysterious French vixen who may have murdered her previous husbands, a marriage arranged by the king. Once out to sea, the captain’s mission is anything but straightforward—his own brother-in-law warns him that his mission to Africa must not succeed--and the complicated expedition tests his crew and England’s reputation as a maritime power to the utmost.

 Davies, a noted historian on the 17-century British navy, vividly captures the romance of high-seas adventure as well as the era’s politics, battles and tactics that shape his intrepid sea captain.

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