The Sotweed Smuggler

Written by Barbara A. Andrews
Review by John Manhold

This is a tale of sailing, smuggling and the volatile, violent relationships between the English, the Scotsmen and among the latter themselves in the late seventeenth century. William Sherewill, at the reading of his father’s will, discovers he is now the sole owner of his father’s ship. Expecting a fine vessel, he discovers a much smaller, locally well-known smuggling vessel that carries contraband between Devonshire and Scotland. With no experience, and against his ‘proper’ mother’s wishes, he decides to follow his father’s career.

His journey begins as a novice enduring ridicule, a lying first mate, insubordination, storms, pirates, and hostile Scotsmen to eventual maturity and the discovery that his father’s activities also included spying, treachery, border battles and intrigue that led to a position of honor from service to Scotland. The story is well written, with empathetic characters, and it provides an interesting look at a section of history not often explored. The dialogue also tends to conjure up nicely a flavor of the time