At Drake's Command
The Adventures of Peregrine James during the Second Circumnavigation of the World
Author: David Wesley Hill
Publisher: Temurlone Press | New York | www.temurlonepress.com
Format: 5.5 x 8.5 Trade Paperback
Publication Date: November 15, 2012
Cover Art: "The Golden Hinde off New Albion" by Simon Kozhin
Available from Amazon at: http://www.amazon.com/Drakes-Command-adventures-Peregrine-circumnavigation/dp/0983611726/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1353163828&sr=8-1&keywords=at+drake%27s+command
This is a beautiful, beautiful novel. I must admit I was a bit hesitant reading it since it's a “modern” book and I'm more accustomed with classics. I also am not really familiar with Drake except with his reputation as excellent captain and renown pirate. But, I read it all the same, because I am fond of sea adventures.
It's the story of Peregrine James, or called Perry James, a cook from Plymouth. After having been sentenced for stealing, he joins the Pelican, one of Drake's ship in his famous circumnavigation journey. There he becomes the least boy in the ship, but his character wins him the general's favour.
Before leaving England for the sea, he meets Dr. Dee, a master of decryption and palmistry among other things, who warns Perry of the dangers that he must face in his journey. Dr. Dee only gives vague explanation on this subject, namely “the ocean of sand, the sea of silver, and the mountain of fire.”
Aboard Drake's ship, many things are new to Perry. He must face a less capable senior, corrupt people, and stern masters. Seeing him facing all these difficulties while having a tour along the coast of Africa is quite an experience. I cannot wait to read more about him.
About the book itself. I am amazed to read so many details of sea journey. Even the historical preface of the book impresses me. The author has taken so much pain to be as accurate as possible historically, and I really appreciate that. The description of the life aboard is also fascinating. I like to imagine things as I read, and this book helps me a lot in doing so.
The author also strives to be balanced between the opinion of the crews regarding non-English races and also the fact about them. The description of the Moor being a good example of it. The patriotism common in that era is also portrayed satisfactorily.
If you are fond of sea adventure or pirates story, or if you are fond of history in general, not mentioning a fan of Drake himself, this is a book that deserves your attention.