Sunday, December 15, 2013

"The Galleon".. a review..

In my recent A to Z Blogger Book Survey [clicky] post, I highlighted one of my favourite childhood authors, Ronald Welch.

As is the way of these things (well in my world anyway ) I was prompted to go off and find out a little bit more [clicky] about him and as a result of that was delighted to find (amongst other things) that an independent book shop has decided to re-print the whole of the "Carey" series [clicky]. All twelve books!

They'll be printed in batches over the next two or three years, and the fist batch contains "For the King", "Knight Crusader" and the "The Galleon" - I have the first two but took the immediate opportunity to get a copy of "The Galleon" as I don't remember it well..

The book cost £16 including postage, which for a hardback, and limited run reprint (2000 copies of each book only), is astounding value - but it is even better when you actually get the book and realise what a high quality job they've done. Proper cloth covered, hard board covers, and heavy cream paper pages with a high quality print - for this addition we also have the original Victor Ambrus illustrations (which are superb). In summary then - this is not some dodgy photographic facsimile, it is a high quality, collectible, book (it comes with a little certificate showing the book number!) and I whole heartedly recommend it for that reason... what of the story...  well in summary, I'd recommend it for that as well!

Set in Elizabethan times (1583), the focal point/hero of the story is Robert Penderyn. He's not stricly a Carey, but he is a cousin to the family, and we do meet the Earl later in the book.

Robert who is a penniless student, is visiting his land-owning (and miserly) father, and while meeting with friends at a local inn, accidentally kills a man in a duel. In order to escape reprisal, and despite a lack of knowledge of seamanship, he is made lieutenant aboard a merchant ship belonging to his father sailing between Swansea and Spain. He learns seamanship, and soon makes friends among the crew.

While ashore in Spain he makes enemies with a Spanish Don, is challenged to a duel, and again bests his opponent (wounding him in the arm) before escaping back to sea. On his next voyage, however he is arrested on trumped up charges and thrown into jail.

Suffice to say he manages to escape, and returns to England where he finds that his Father has died while he was in prison, he is further surprised to find out that he is now a wealthy man.

As a result of his experiences in Spain he is approached by an agent of Walsingham, the head of Elizabeth's "secret service" and asked to keep an ear open for news of a recently discovered Catholic plot to put Mary Queen of Scots back on the English throne.

In the finale, Robert takes to the sea again in a desperate attempt to defeat a Spanish Galleon, and foil the escape attempt.

Excellent - a most entertaining read, I'd forgotten how good this one was - I must get "The Hawk" when it comes out as the period and setting are very similar.

Steve the Wargamer rates this one 9 out of 10.

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