Review of The Privateersman by Andrew Wareham
Overview from www.barnesandnoble.com: In this free historical fiction novel, first published in 2013, Dorset lad Tom Andrews escapes the hangman’s noose only to find himself shanghaied onto a Caribbean-bound privateering ship, before he and crewmate Joseph, flee to America carrying illicit booty. They prosper in the vile corruptness of New York - a town destined to be on the losing side in the Revolutionary War. Betrayed and forced to return to England, they seek riches in the early industrial boom. Tom relishes wealth, but also secretly yearns for love and social acceptance. He hopes that the purchase of a grand country estate will help him fulfil his desires.
I was really looking forward to reading this one since I expected it to be much like the Horatio Hornblower movies that were on A&E a few years ago. In that fact, I was somewhat disappointed.
The story was interesting and had to the potential to be a great one. I saw it in certain parts of the novel where it kept my interest better. One of those was the first chapter where we see Tom running to get away. He was caught doing something illegal and forced to flee.
As we watch him run through the woods and then to the ocean, hoping to get passage out of England, I started thinking 'here's a guy I can root for.' And I continue to feel that way for a while but then the author throws a monkey wrench into the story.
We soon start going in and out of other people's heads, not just seeing them from Tom's perspective. In the beginning we know what Tom thinks and feels but then we start hearing what other people think about him and eventually a host of other subjects. I just didn't understand why were even in the heads of these others. I mean besides the fact that they are not our protagonist (at least that's not what the introduction led me to believe), they just are not that interesting to me.
For example we spend a lot of time inside Joseph's head. I mean its true that he is Tom's partner but I still didn't think he was all that interesting. We learn what Joseph thinks of Tom mostly through this means.
And then there's the part where in the beginning where Tom has decided to sign up to go away on a privateering ship but then is kidnapped by a privateering ship. I mean why kidnap the guy if he's probably willing to go anyway. And furthermore, he accepts his fate calmly. He never even thinks to ask why he is there when he comes to on a strange ship. He is only later told the reason and it seemed like a rather unbelievable one at that.
Also I wondered about the use of words like ain't. I mean did they even use that word back then? But I haven't done the research so I couldn't say for sure.
I am not saying that this is a bad story, just not what I was hoping it would be. And I think it could be a lot better if we didn't do so much head hopping and we knew more about Tom's thinking instead.
Contains: some sexuality and violence