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Book Review: Drake - Tudor Corsair (The Elizabethan Series Book 1) By Tony Riches




Drake - Tudor Corsair

(The Elizabethan Series Book 1)

By Tony Riches



1564

Devon sailor Francis Drake sets out on a journey of adventure.

Drake learns of routes used to transport Spanish silver and gold, and risks his life in an audacious plan to steal a fortune.

Queen Elizabeth is intrigued by Drake and secretly encourages his piracy. Her unlikely champion becomes a national hero, sailing around the world in the Golden Hind and attacking the Spanish fleet.

King Philip of Spain has enough of Drake’s plunder and orders an armada to threaten the future of England.



‘Do you have any idea, Captain Drake, of the difficulty your adventuring,’ he made the word sound disparaging, ‘causes your country?’

He may have had an inkling, but El Draque was not quite finished with his game of cat-and-mouse with the Spanish. And besides, he had the Queen’s favour, and there were still kingdoms to be discovered and treasures to be claimed, or taken, whichever came first was of no consequence.


Sir Francis Drake had salt running through his veins, and he never felt more alive as he did when he was sailing in uncharted waters. The money and the fame were an added incentive to leave the safety of the harbour and the woman he loved.

However, despite his success, despite his rise in station, Sir Francis would never quite be one of them. For the aristocracy had very little patience with this Devon nobody.

But when England’s sovereignty is threatened, it will take more than a stirring speech from the Queen, to deter Spain’s Great Armada. What England will need is her greatest Naval officer…

From a young man’s dream of adventure to the making of one of the most infamous naval officers of all time, Drake - Tudor Corsair (The Elizabethan Series Book 1) by Tony Riches is the utterly enthralling rags-to-riches story of Sir Francis Drake.

I was so looking forward to reading this book, not only because Tony Riches is one of my favourite Historical Fiction authors, but because I have never come across a book in which Sir Francis Drake does not take second place to the illustrious Virgin Queen, Elizabeth I. Drakes story is one that has been overlooked for far too long, and I am glad that Riches has decided to give his readers an insight into this man’s life, and also an insight into what life was like for sailors during this age of discovery.

With lavish attention to detail and a historical appreciation of the period, Riches has given his readers a book that is rich in historical detail. His understanding of the political landscape of the period is etched within the most exquisite sentences. We witness the taut relationship between England and Spain who spend the entirety of this novel, either trading with each other, stealing from each other, and finally, of course, going to war with each other. Likewise, Riches understands the workings of these greatly majestic sailing ships that paved the way for exploration, exploitation, and the expansion of an empire. No one could have written this book with more emotion, passion, excitement, and historical accuracy than Riches has.

The sweeping narrative, the poetic prose and the vivid sense of time and place made this story not only a gripping read, but it really did feel like I had been transported back in time. The setting was so vivid that I fancied I could feel the rolling deck under my feet. I could hear the splash of the waves as it crashed against the bow of the ship. This is a book that fooled my senses into believing that what I was reading was actually happening, and that is something that I always look for in a novel. I want to not only read a great story, but I also want to experience it, and Riches has delivered such a book, as he always delivers. I did not read this book — I lived it! 

Riches has given his readers a very insightful, sincere portrayal of Sir Francis Drake. In this story, Drake is astoundingly ambitious, and this ambition is what drives him to achieve the wealth and recognition that he so desires. In a period where breeding and bloodlines meant everything, Drake must have been like a breath of fresh air, or perhaps more a hurricane to the ordered court of Elizabeth I – how could she have not been drawn towards this charismatic figure who went where angels feared to tread? As history tells us, Drake came from nothing and died a celebrated hero. And yet, despite his success, and despite his fame, he still wanted to be admired by the aristocracy, even though he knew that he would always be looked down upon, and this Riches has explored in mesmerising detail.

However, Riches’ Drake is also something of a contradiction — despite his pirating tendencies, he does not agree with stealing lives and abhors slavery. Likewise, he is more than happy to blackmail and coerce his opponents into doing what he wants them to, but then there is an entirely different side to him that feels guilt, responsibility, compassion and love. Riches’ Drake may act a good game, but underneath the façade, he is, despite appearances, a man of integrity. I thought these contradictions made for some fascinating reading, and I really felt that I had gotten to know a little about the man behind the legend.

If you are looking for your next Tudor fix, then look no further. Drake - Tudor Corsair (The Elizabethan Series Book 1) by Tony Riches is a novel that will enthral you with its brilliance and leave you gasping for more. My only question now is – which historical character will Riches pick to shine a light on in The Elizabethan Series Book 2?

This novel is a definite must, not only for those who enjoy quality Historical Fiction set in the Tudor era but also for those who adored C. S. Forester's unforgettable Hornblower series.

I Highly Recommend.

Review by Mary Anne Yarde.

The Coffee Pot Book Club.


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Tony Riches




Tony Riches is a full-time UK author of best-selling historical fiction. He lives in Pembrokeshire, West Wales and is a specialist in the history of the Wars of the Roses and the lives of the early Tudors. Tony’s other published historical fiction novels include: Owen – Book One Of The Tudor Trilogy, Jasper – Book Two Of The Tudor Trilogy, Henry – Book Three Of The Tudor Trilogy, Mary – Tudor Princess, Brandon – Tudor Knight and The Secret Diary Of Eleanor Cobham. For more information about Tony’s books please visit his website tonyriches.com and his blog, The Writing Desk and find him on  Facebook and Twitter @tonyriches

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