The Man Who Saved Henry Morgan: A Novel
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The year is 1664, and Benny Wand, a young thief and board game hustler, is arrested in London for illegal gaming. Deported to the city of Port Royal, Jamaica — known as “the wickedest city on earth” — Wand is forced by his depleted circumstances to join a raid on the Spanish city of Villahermosa.
The mission is a perilous success, and Wand attracts the attention of the mission’s leader, an up-and-coming Welsh seaman, Captain Henry Morgan, whose raids on Spanish strongholds are funded by the British government.
While embarking on a campaign in the Caribbean, Morgan forms an unlikely friendship with Wand through their shared love of chess. Yet as Morgan becomes morally corrupted by the increasingly sordid attacks, he slowly transforms into Wand’s greatest enemy. To defeat his former ally, Wand embarks on a strategic battle of wits with Morgan, only to discover that if he wants to break free of his friend, he’s going to have to help him in the most savage and unexpected way possible.
Bawdy, philosophical, and darkly humorous, The Man Who Saved Henry Morgan is storytelling at it’s best.
above. His voice was a pained croak, like he’d been punched more than once in the throat. “Hang back till a few of them Spanish cunts’ve fallen. Soon’s we take their weapons, you boys’ll be outfitted, yeah? You won’t be the first mateys to start off unarmed and you won’t be the last.” He turned and walked on and I have to say I felt a little better. IT GOT SO the groups ahead of and behind us were so distant their conversations were swallowed up by jungle and we did feel well and truly on our
out. They knew it back home. They aren’t stupid, or at least they aren’t all of the time. They needed someone to stop English piracy from fracturing the treaty with the Spanish. Now whom were they going to get to do that, eh Wand? Some administrator? Some magistrate? Some aristocrat with a law degree? Or would it be a man like me? If you were them, what would you have done?” “So you cut a deal.” “I didn’t want to. Oh, I assure you of that. I’d have stayed in London. I’d have stayed in the
had no idea it was a war I was getting myself into. The fact was, I put borders in the same category as religion; as far as I could tell, both were invented to keep men in their places, and if that was the case, I saw no reason to fight for whatever country those borders contained, be it England or Spain or France or what have you. Then again, what was I going to do? Jump overboard and swim back? “It’s no purchase no pay, gentlemen. Four shares for the captains, master’s mate three,
500. Any man shot, with either bullet or arrow, will be given 500 should he survive. Any man doused in oil — 500. Torture — 500. Imprisonment — 500. Questions?” A wizened old runt with an eye patch spoke up. “What if yoos only got one eye to start with? What you get for losing an eye then?” “Then it would be a thousand,” said Morgan. “Whoo-hoo!” rang the old-timer, as if he was looking forward to a life of darkness. Morgan smirked. “Any other questions?” There were none. “We sail tomorrow,
locks damaged in the trembler. Or I’d spot them, standing in clumps, in corners of the unlit market. One such group told me they knew a man who knew a man who knew a bloody man, and that man, it seemed, conducted business out by the unused north docks. I headed there and, sure enough, came across some unkempt bastards who looked the part. One of them had a missing ear and he was the one looked up. “What you want?” “I’m a man looking for passage.” They all went stony, not a word among them.