MacHugh and the Faithless Pirate

Written by William S. Schaill
Review by Susan McDuffie

Old New York, 1694: Robert MacHugh, a wine merchant and smuggler, takes on a dangerous assignment at the request of his powerful patron. MacHugh must pursue and capture the infamous pirate, William Archer. If MacHugh fails, his own younger brother, held captive by the Grand Moghul of India, will die. Of course our hero accepts the challenge and pursues Archer throughout the Caribbean in this swashbuckling tale.

MacHugh’s exploits sail along at a crisp pace. Schaill writes well. His descriptions grip the reader and bring the 17th-century Caribbean ocean and islands vividly to life. The partners in this enterprise, the crew, and the secondary characters are all well-drawn and engaging. MacHugh’s venture takes him first to Bermuda, then further south to the Bahamas and other islands in the region. A map of old New York is provided, but I would have appreciated one of the Caribbean as well, so I could follow the route of the journey.

Schaill provides no shortage of nautical detail. The author evidently knows seafaring and ships, so lovers of nautical stories may particularly savor this read. However others who enjoy a vivid adventure, spiced with pirates, smuggling, and just a whiff of romance, will also enjoy MacHugh’s expedition. I certainly did.