"The Guardship" by James L. Nelson
This story takes place in 1701 in the Virginia Colonies. The main character Thomas Marlowe is an ex-pirate now turned planted and gentleman. He runs afoul of the first family of the area, the Wilkensons, by killing the younger son in an affair of honor over a young lady (Elizibeth) that both are enamored with. Marlowe manages to gain command of the colony Guardship the Plymouth Prize and is tasked with guarding the local shipping and ridding the area of pirates.
Marlowe fights it out with his old captain, Jean-Pierre Le Rois, one of the longest lived and nastiest pirates of the area. Le Rois is demented from long years of heavy drink, debauchery, and disease. In his efforts, Marlowe is aided by his friend and mentor Bickerstaff and one of his freed slaves, King James.
The book is an exciting tale of treachery, deceit, love, and a lot of action. It is also rich with the feeling of the era and the way the people lived in the Virginia Colony.
Reviewed by Kenneth S. Smith, 16 April 2000
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