Tim Severin is the author of those splendid non-fiction accounts of classical voyages which have entertained us over the years. His first steps into fiction writing gave us the equally enthralling Viking trilogy. Buccaneer is his second Hector Lynch novel and here he gives us a story of reckless adventures, beautiful heiresses and corrupt officials set in the colonial times of the Caribees.
The Spanish Main was a lawless place in the late 17th century. England and France claimed possession of the West Indies whilst Spain dominated the Great South Sea. Smuggling and piracy were rife. Any unsuspecting merchantman was fair game to the democratic regime of soldiers and sailors of fortune who gathered there seeking unlawful financial gain.
In late December 1679, twenty-year-old Hector Lynch is sailing his recently acquired ship, L’Arc-de-Ciel, from the West African coast to Jamaica. A small slaver without cargo, she has only a five-man crew. Falling into the hands of the notorious buccaneer, Captain John Coxon, Hector has no option but to join the buccaneer raid through the jungle to Panama. Navigational maps were the key to journeys in the Pacific and a great prize if accurate. The capture of a well-placed Spanish lady leads Hector into discovering a collection of sea charts giving precise details of the South American coast. Later, his skills as a negotiator stand him in good stead as he stands accused of murder and piracy.
An enjoyable romp, even if the description of the journey around the Horn is hurried. Hector Lynch is however an engaging and likeable character and I look forward to his new adventure.