He challenged the greatest empire on earth with a ragtag bunch of renegades—and brought it to its knees. Empire of Blue Water is the real story of the pirates of the Caribbean.
Henry Morgan, a twenty-year-old Welshman, crossed the Atlantic in 1655, hell-bent on making his fortune. Over the next three decades, his exploits in the Caribbean in the service of the English became legendary. His daring attacks on the mighty Spanish Empire on land and at sea determined the fates of kings and queens, and his victories helped shape the destiny of the New World.
Morgan gathered disaffected European sailors and soldiers, hard-bitten adventurers, runaway slaves, and vicious cutthroats, and turned them into the most feared army in the Western Hemisphere. Sailing out from the English stronghold of Port Royal, Jamaica, “the wickedest city in the New World,” Morgan and his men terrorized Spanish merchant ships and devastated the cities where great riches in silver, gold, and gems lay waiting. His last raid, a daring assault on the fabled city of Panama, helped break Spain’s hold on the Americas forever.
Awash with bloody battles, political intrigues, natural disaster, and a cast of characters more compelling, bizarre, and memorable than any found in a Hollywood swashbuckler—including the notorious pirate L’Ollonais, the soul-tortured King Philip IV of Spain, and Thomas Modyford, the crafty English governor of Jamaica—Empire of Blue Water brilliantly re-creates the passions and the violence of the age of exploration and empire.
“A ripping yarn, worthy of its gaudy subject.”—Dallas Morning News
“A sparkling and engrossing adventure narrative.”—Boston Phoenix
“Fresh insight into pirates’ dens of old . . . Well-researched nonﬁction that reads like a novel.”—Washington Times
“Rollicking . . . with style and energy Talty tells a tale of boundless wickedness.”—William M. Fowler, author of Empires at War
“Stephan Talty’s new book serves up swashbuckling history at its briny, blood-soaked best, with enough violence and passion to keep the pages flying by. But it’s not only blood and swash: Empire of Blue Water is also a mirror to our own times, showing that attempting globalization against a backdrop of the clash of civilizations is nothing new,and that religious violence is often a thinly veiled cover for greed and personal ambition. Talty's portrait of the legendary privateer Henry Morgan is a marvelous study in contradictions—a man of astounding heroism, brilliance, compassion, and charm, who was also capable of the greatest betrayal.”—Tom Reiss, author of The Orientalist
“A wickedly entertaining tale of pirates and the Caribbean seas they once ruled like kings. Epic sea battles, daring adventures, rich history, great villains and heroes alike—it’s a treasure.”—Neal Bascomb, author of The Perfect Mile and Higher
“In a riveting history that reads like the best novels, Stephan Talty stylishly extricates the pirates of the Caribbean from the imprecise caricature that so often consumes them. Layer by fascinating layer, Talty peels away the eye patch and theshiver-me-timbers brogue to reveal the raucous, complex and authentic buccaneers of the ‘Brethren of the Coast.’ . . . Storytelling and history to be savored.”—Buddy Levy, author of American Legend: The Real-Life Adventures of David Crockett
“Engrossing . . . a swashbuckling tale of how the history of the Americas was shaped by a small group of daring brigands.”—Matthew Brzezinski, author of Casino Moscow
“A fascinating look inside [a] glamorous and gritty world.”—Les Standiford, author of Last Train to Paradise
“Exceptionally well-told . . . an exhilarating adventure in reading.”—Kerry A. Trask, author of Black Hawk