NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • “Talty’s vigorous history of seventeenth-century pirates of the Caribbean [is] a pleasure to read from bow to stern.”—Entertainment Weekly
“In Stephan Talty’s hands, the brilliant Captain Morgan, wicked and cutthroat though he was, proves an irresistible hero. . . . A thrilling and fascinating adventure.”—Caroline Alexander, author of The Endurance and The Bounty
The passion and violence of the age of exploration and empire come to vivid life in this story of the legendary pirate who took on the greatest military power on earth with a ragtag bunch of renegades. Awash with bloody battles, political intrigues, natural disaster, and a cast of characters more compelling, bizarre, and memorable than any found in a Hollywood swashbuckler, Empire of Blue Water brilliantly re-creates the life and times of Henry Morgan and the real pirates of the Caribbean.
Journalist Talty (Mulatto America) entertainingly chronicles the life of legendary privateer Capt. Henry Morgan and his crucial role in challenging Spain's hegemony in the New World in this informative popular history. Seeking his fortune, Welshman Morgan arrived in the Caribbean just as British King Charles II decided to challenge Spain by using pirates "as a stick with which to beat ." Morgan accepted a privateer's commission from the British in effect, a license to steal and set out in 1661 to make his fortune. Smart and charismatic, Morgan quickly rose to the rank of captain and became "fabulously rich." His attack on the Spanish stronghold at Portobelo "showed the world that the empire was vulnerable," and his raid on the city of Panama the "greatest raid in the history of buccaneering" forced "the Spanish to renounce their exclusive rights to the New World." Charles II knighted Morgan and appointed him deputy governor of Jamaica, a position that tasked him "the greatest of the buccaneers" with exterminating piracy. Morgan died of the effects of alcohol abuse in 1688 at 53. Talty strips away the legend to recreate a pivotal era in this accessible portrait of the pirates of the Caribbean.