Sea Robber

Written by Tim Severin
Review by Mike Ashworth

The book opens with Hector Lynch, pirate and fugitive, working for a slave trader on the Guinea Coast, West Africa. While waiting for his employer to return from a slaving expedition, Hector is ambushed by a gang of sea robbers and forced to navigate them around Cape Horn. Abandoned in Peru, along with his group of close companions, Hector learns that Maria, the woman who stole his heart, is now living on the remote Thief Islands on the far side of the Pacific. He persuades a group of marauding buccaneers to sail to the remote islands with promises of unlimited gold and plunder. The voyage to reach her brings him face to face with a Japanese warlord and a Stone Age tribe whose boats can outpace the fastest galleon.

The characters are well drawn and the plot believable, but I would recommend reading the first two instalments in the series first. Although Sea Robber is the third in the Hector Lynch series it is the first that I have read and I found myself at a distinct disadvantage. References to previous adventures help to move the plot along but do not clarify how and why Hector and his companions have got to where they are. The world of 17th-century sailing with dangers of shipwreck, scurvy and casual deadly violence is effectively portrayed.