The Man Who Saved Henry Morgan

The Man Who Saved Henry Morgan

The Sisters Brothers meets Master and Commander in Robert Hough’s rollicking and raucous new historical novel.The year is 1664, and Benny Wand, a young thief and board game hustler, is arrested in London for illegal gaming. Deported to the city of Port Royal, Jamaica, known as “the wickedest city on earth,” Wand is forced by his depleted circumstances to join a raid on the...

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Title:The Man Who Saved Henry Morgan
Author:Robert Hough
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Edition Language:English

The Man Who Saved Henry Morgan Reviews

  • Susan

    A hilarious, horrifying, sad, emotional, frightening and fun story of the real pirates of the Caribbean. It wasn't all rum drinking and pillaging! The writing in this book transported me right to the dirty streets of Port Royal. I still don't know what the "wigglies" were but I could feel them crawling over my feet. Were they guinea pigs? This book definitely isn't PG with lots of cussing, sex, horrific violence and torture and general sordidness which is exactly what I suspect Port Royal was a

    A hilarious, horrifying, sad, emotional, frightening and fun story of the real pirates of the Caribbean. It wasn't all rum drinking and pillaging! The writing in this book transported me right to the dirty streets of Port Royal. I still don't know what the "wigglies" were but I could feel them crawling over my feet. Were they guinea pigs? This book definitely isn't PG with lots of cussing, sex, horrific violence and torture and general sordidness which is exactly what I suspect Port Royal was actually like during this time. As far as I'm concerned with historical fiction I want to become completely immersed in the time and place that I'm reading and this book achieved that with flying colours!

    What the impoverished men and women of this time had to do to survive is heartbreaking. I wasn't sure about Benny at first since he was a hustler and a criminal but he ended up being a surprisingly likable character. Right from the beginning he made me laugh and I knew that I was going to end up cheering for him. He was very believable as a hidden genius and it made sense to me that his abilities at chess would make him the perfect military strategist. In this story there are no real bad guys, except maybe the ignorant nobles back in England. There are also no true heroes although there are heroic actions performed. All of the main characters are complex and not at all one-dimensional. My feelings for many of them developed throughout the story as I would alternately pity them, despise them and laugh along with them.

    Captain Morgan is such an interesting figure and I really didn't know that much about him. I knew him as the swashbuckling hero who liked a good party, mostly from the advertising from the rum brand that bears his name. I also know that those in the areas he decimated see him as an absolute butcher. This story really shows him as both and his struggle with his conscience over what he is forced to do. I definitely pitied him in his downfall.

    I learned a lot about who the pirates were and why they chose to live that life, or were forced into it as the case may be. I also learned that apparently pirates lined their eyes with charcoal to deflect the sun. I thought the guyliner was just a Johnny Depp pirate thing!

    While this story was incredibly sad I didn't finish the book feeling sad at all but rather hopeful. The adventure and humour stuck with me much more than the torture and despair. I wouldn't call this book uplifting but it is a lot more fun than it sounds! There's drinking, singing, gambling, whoring and everything you expect from pirates but it is also very thoughtful and philosophical.

    I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads. Thank you!

  • Jean-Pierre

    First, I'll admit: I am a fan. So, with this out of the way, let's talk about this great story. It is the story of Benny Wand, a hustler, who decides to go to Jamaica instead of prison for his crime. He ends up in Port Royal, the "wickedest city on Earth". To earn a living, he enrolls to be a privateer, as a member of captain Henry Morgan's crew. The first part of the book takes us through his adventures and his becoming part of Morgan's inner circle. The second part takes us through his struggl

    First, I'll admit: I am a fan. So, with this out of the way, let's talk about this great story. It is the story of Benny Wand, a hustler, who decides to go to Jamaica instead of prison for his crime. He ends up in Port Royal, the "wickedest city on Earth". To earn a living, he enrolls to be a privateer, as a member of captain Henry Morgan's crew. The first part of the book takes us through his adventures and his becoming part of Morgan's inner circle. The second part takes us through his struggles in a life after privateering.

    What makes this book a real pleasure to read is Hough's ability to tell a fantastic story, and his ability to create characters that are fascinating.The relationship between Wand and Morgan develops throughout the book, with their passion for the game of chess, and the struggle they're going through from their lives as privateers.

    The book takes you through wonderful places and difficult times. And an ending I did not see coming.

    Highly recommended.

  • Ron Thompson

    This book is evocative of its times, well researched and, most importantly, richly imagined. Chess sharp, thief and grifter Benny Wand is transported from an English prison to Port Royal in Jamaica. With no trade or means of survival, he signs on as a privateer with Captain Henry Morgan, who leads a series of bloody if lucrative raids on the Spanish Main. Morgan, it turns out, is a chess player, and takes an interest in Wand, and Wand is flattered, even besotted, by the great man. You could read

    This book is evocative of its times, well researched and, most importantly, richly imagined. Chess sharp, thief and grifter Benny Wand is transported from an English prison to Port Royal in Jamaica. With no trade or means of survival, he signs on as a privateer with Captain Henry Morgan, who leads a series of bloody if lucrative raids on the Spanish Main. Morgan, it turns out, is a chess player, and takes an interest in Wand, and Wand is flattered, even besotted, by the great man. You could read this entertaining novel as a simple swashbuckler but it is also a sly and serious commentary on morality. I found it interesting to follow Benny’s development and growth against Morgan’s simultaneous moral decline.

  • Stacey Robertson

    I really enjoyed this book. Hough is a great story teller.

    Fight for the new world, chess and pirates!

    no, you don't have to enjoy or know anything about Chess to enjoy this book, but it does add to the enjoyment. And don't worry, its a back story, a hobby of the main character, not the main focus.

  • Christine

    I really enjoyed this book. It's really funny, creepy, and heart wrenching. I couldn't put it down. Robert Hough describes everything so thoroughly that you can feel as if you're truly there. Put down those rose tinted glasses because this book is realistic. You don't just get the adventure, you also get the dirty and the gritty bits, the bits that will make you turn away and question mankind.

  • H Peter Ji

    First, what an exciting book. Well, till it wasn’t! But I did enjoy reading this book. Well, to the last 50-70 pages of the book. I’ll get to that in a moment but for now I must confess that I didn’t know any significance of Henry Morgan or his achievement in history. Besides the fact that it is fiction, it never crossed my mind that Benny Wand was a fictional character created around Morgan’s life. I bet everything was condensed toward the end of his life to fit in Wand’s story around him. Fasc

    First, what an exciting book. Well, till it wasn’t! But I did enjoy reading this book. Well, to the last 50-70 pages of the book. I’ll get to that in a moment but for now I must confess that I didn’t know any significance of Henry Morgan or his achievement in history. Besides the fact that it is fiction, it never crossed my mind that Benny Wand was a fictional character created around Morgan’s life. I bet everything was condensed toward the end of his life to fit in Wand’s story around him. Fascinating story for sure, from a privateer’s point of view.

    I was excited throughout the whole time, again, except for the last 50-70 pages, that the story unfolded around adventures, mishaps, risk taking and most of all camaraderie that these English captains and expat-turned-privateers on Port Royal against the Spanish territories. It was different from what I had read in the past, and it was quite a nice change.

    The story is about Brenny Wand, who had cheated people for money with his almost Godsend chess skills, ended up in Port Royal, and because of lack of money and food, he joined Henry Morgan’s attacks on the Spanish territories and brought swags back as rewards. Along the way, him being an excellent chess player, he identified the danger and risks of the battle but also helped Morgan take over the targets. Although it will never happen in real life, the author makes a very compelling case for Wand, and eventually Morgan and Wand develop a great relationship over playing chess.

    I won’t give away the whole story nor do I have time to write all about it. But if you’re interested in adventures, history, in particular, the war between the English and the Spanish around the Caribbean for the world domination in the late 17th century, and how a fictional story was woven into the historic settings and developed around the such a prolific historic figure, which I learned as I was reading, thanks to Wikipedia, then you’ll love this book.

    The only reason why I was rather bothered by the ending was, although it is how the author chose to have Wand to ‘save’ Morgan, to me it seemed a bit hasty and simply a justification riddled with the words that these two characters exchanged to the unavoidable ending. To me it was a bit of let down. But I’m not the only reader in this world, and many will find this ending quite suited.

  • Doug Summers

    DOUG'S PICK

    Cabin again for Book Club. This book averaged 3.5 stars.

    Wade: 3.25 stars

    p. 331 "I told you I'd beat you one day .... We'd been playing a game all along, Morgan and I, even since he got back from London, only I'd been too tick to realize it. I was his endgame. I was his escape. He knew the trap he was in and the beast he's become - there's nothing for it but the grave, Wand - and so he strung me along. He stole my livelihood, he murdered my friends, he showed me a fat sparkling reward

    DOUG'S PICK

    Cabin again for Book Club. This book averaged 3.5 stars.

    Wade: 3.25 stars

    p. 331 "I told you I'd beat you one day .... We'd been playing a game all along, Morgan and I, even since he got back from London, only I'd been too tick to realize it. I was his endgame. I was his escape. He knew the trap he was in and the beast he's become - there's nothing for it but the grave, Wand - and so he strung me along. He stole my livelihood, he murdered my friends, he showed me a fat sparkling reward - he did everything but put the gun in my hand. He was right. He made me kill him, and by doing so had grounded me."

    Betsy: 3.75 stars

    p. 338 "She just stood there looking at me, like I was someone she'd never seen before. Then she sighed and tilted herself forward, her forehead thudding again my chest. It was funny, that. I'd seen punched there and clubbed there and one frightful East Ender with an ugly imagination once smashed me there with a hot iron. Yet none of it made as much impact as Tessie's little head tap. Yeah, she was saying. I'll come."

    Kathy: 3.5 stars

    p. 102 "Like I said, he was a good player - better than good, even - though no match for someone born with an understanding that on every board there lies a glorious truth and it's your job to reveal it. Fact was, I heard music when I played chess. When I was getting at the truth, it was like birdsong. When I was crapping it, it was rusty pots clanging together. It was a hammer striking metal. It was hippo blowing farts from a sackbut."

    Doug: 3.5 stars

    p. 36 "The fact was, I put boarders in the same category as religion; as far as I could tell, both were invented to keep men in the places, and if that was the case, I saw no reason to fight for whatever country those borders contained, be it England or Spain or France or what have you."

  • Book Club

    DOUG'S PICK

    Cabin Book Club! Average 3.5 stars.

    Wade: 3.25 stars

    p. 331 "I told you I'd beat you one day .... My bones turned cold, but there it was , refusing to go away, that bastard called the truth. We'd been playing a game all along. I was his endgame. I was his escape. He knew the trap he was in and the beast he'd become, and so he strung me along. He stole my livelihood, he murdered my friends, he showed me a fat sparkling reward - he did everything but put the gun in my hand. He was right.

    DOUG'S PICK

    Cabin Book Club! Average 3.5 stars.

    Wade: 3.25 stars

    p. 331 "I told you I'd beat you one day .... My bones turned cold, but there it was , refusing to go away, that bastard called the truth. We'd been playing a game all along. I was his endgame. I was his escape. He knew the trap he was in and the beast he'd become, and so he strung me along. He stole my livelihood, he murdered my friends, he showed me a fat sparkling reward - he did everything but put the gun in my hand. He was right. He made me kill him, and by doing so had trounced me."

    Betsy: 3.75 stars

    p. 338 "She just stood there looking at me, like I was someone she'd never seen before. Then she sighed and tilted herself forward, her forehead thudding against my chest. It was funny, that. I'd been punched there and clubbed there and one frightful East Ender with an ugly imagination once smashed me there with a hot iron. Yet none of it made as much impact as Tessie's little head tap."

    Kathy: 3.5 stars

    p. 102 "Like I said, he was a good player - better than good, even - though no match for someone born with an understanding that on every board there lies a glorious truth and it's your job to reveal it. Fact was, I heard music when I played chess. When I was getting at that truth, it was like birdsong. When I was crapping it, it was rusty pots clanging together. It was a hammer striking metal. It was a hippo blowing farts from a sackbut."

    Doug: 3.5 stars

    "p. 36 "The fact was, I put borders in the same category as religion; as far as I could tell, both were invented to keep men in the places, and if that was the case, I saw no reason to fight for whatever country those borders contained, be it England or Spain or France or what have you."

  • Filippa Depaolo

    I found the book to be a simple tale, with great pace. It really zips along. Learned all about privateering vs. pirates. Henry Morgan was a privateer in the 17th century, which is something I knew little about. A Privateer was any individual granted license by their government to attack shipping belonging to an enemy government, usually during a war. Privateers were like private contractors: They received a Letter of Marque from their nation’s Admiralty, which granted them permission to raid ene

    I found the book to be a simple tale, with great pace. It really zips along. Learned all about privateering vs. pirates. Henry Morgan was a privateer in the 17th century, which is something I knew little about. A Privateer was any individual granted license by their government to attack shipping belonging to an enemy government, usually during a war. Privateers were like private contractors: They received a Letter of Marque from their nation’s Admiralty, which granted them permission to raid enemy ships and keep a percentage of the spoils – so long as they paid a cut of that bounty back to the government. The bearer of the Letter of Marque would then go about hiring his or her own crew and ship at their own expense. A Privateer was operating legally, so long as they have the Letter of Marque. Unlike pirates who were operating illegally. At any rate, the book was an easy read, with interesting details about life during that period.

  • Shannon

    A good beach read with an, unfortunately, predictable ending.

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