Jack Stannard has grown up around an amazing amount of violence. His father beat him regularly to demand obedience, believing he will always be inferior to his late other son. It’s the 16th century, and King Henry VIII has left the Catholic Church and made himself head of the Church of England. In the process, his minions have destroyed the Catholic Church in Jack’s hometown of Dunwich and stolen its treasures. Now King Henry is setting out to war against Scotland and France, and Jack has assumed the role of commander of the Dunwich fleet supporting the King’s Navy. A former monk and faithful friend, Ryman, fights by his side. A jealous neighbor has committed treachery to destroy Jack Stannard, but it backfires eventually.
Jack, like his father, is the inheritor of merchant status, trading well-needed supplies in support of the wars. The story is replete with numerous naval battles where Jack’s intelligent and quick-witted skills make them survive even the fiercest and bloodiest attacks. This is a complex plot with multiple issues with ever-present, engaging conflict and tension. Change is constant in this story. Henry VIII’s actions against the Catholic Church, the changes in military battle from simple weapons to mass destruction from cannons, and personalities made and destroyed keep the reader’s attention and tension constantly shifting. Commanding a fleet requires both the best and worst skills in a man. If you love naval battles, treachery, bravery, cowardice, faith, love, and survival, this is your next gripping adventure tale, and fine historical fiction.