Friday, January 23, 2015

Book Review: At Drake’s Command by David Wesley Hill

At Drake’s Command:The adven­tures of Pere­grine James dur­ing the sec­ond cir­cum­nav­i­ga­tion of the world (Vol­ume 1) by David Wes­ley Hill is a his­tor­i­cal fic­tion book fol­low­ing the adven­tures of a sailor on a voy­age with the famous Fran­cis Drake.
Pere­grine James is hav­ing a bad day, he is on his way to get whipped in the pub­lic square for steal­ing, or rather falling for a rich man’s daugh­ter. Craftily he offers him­self to a pass­ing com­man­der as a sailor. The com­man­der is none other then the famous Fran­cis Drake, on a mis­sion from the Queen of Eng­land her­self, and decides that flog­ging will cer­tainly show the char­ac­ter of poor Perry James.

Perry, a cook, comes aboard Drake’s ship, the Pel­i­can, even though nei­ther he nor any­one from the crew knows where they’re going.

At Drake’s Command:The adven­tures of Pere­grine James dur­ing the sec­ond cir­cum­nav­i­ga­tion of the world (Vol­ume 1) by David Wes­ley Hill is a fas­ci­nat­ing, well writ­ten novel which I found inter­est­ing and infor­ma­tive. I have always had a fas­ci­na­tion with Fran­cis Drake, ever since I did a report on him in 5th grade. I still remem­ber the fas­ci­na­tion with this man who pirated for the Queen of Eng­land.

I still have my project (a slides drawn on a plas­tic role for an over­head viewer — a pre MS Office PowerPoint).

As I men­tioned, this is a well writ­ten book with a fas­ci­nat­ing glimpse into life aboard the s hip of Cap­tain Drake. The author cer­tainly seemed to have his research, but doesn’t go on mono­logues to prove so, he sim­ply weaves his find­ings into the narrative.

Mr. Hill used his research to envi­sion what sailors we know of might have been like, when­ever he could he used the names of those who were actu­ally on the voy­age to add to the authen­tic­ity of this fic­tional story. The author does ask the reader to rely on too many instant aces when the pro­tag­o­nist is either lucky, charm­ing or brave to pull him­self out of hotspots. As a new man on the ship I could believe those occur­rences once or twice (and that stretch­ing it), but the rest of the crew would have thrown him overboard.

This is a well writ­ten, fast paced and enjoy­able novel. I espe­cially loved the cho­sen occu­pa­tion of the pro­tag­o­nist, a cook, or a sea-cook, being a fan of Trea­sure Island I thought the homage to Long John Sil­ver as a wink and a nod to the genre.

  • 424 pages
  • Pub­lisher: Temur­lone Press
  • Lan­guage: English
  • ISBN-10: 0983611726
Article first published as Book Review: At Drake’s Command by David Wesley Hill


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