Like everyone else, I was hesitant to read this book. A book by Gene Hackman? Now it's not a great book that will be remembered a 100 years from now and be mandatory reading in college but, I thought it was surprising good. Anybody that likes pirate books will like this book. You can't go wrong.
Starts off a little slow, but gets better and better as you go. I will definitely read Hackman & Lenihan again.
I picked up this book because Id seen it mentioned as a swashbuckling sea adventure with plenty of action and piracy.
However, reading it, I was reminded that when I was a kid I went through a big phase of reading lots of historical nautical books, both fiction and non-fiction. (There were lots of sailors and sea voyages in my family history, which is where the interest stemmed from check out THIS BOOK, it features my distant relative getting cannibalized) So, although I dont know HOW to sail or anything like that, I feel that Ive got a pretty good concept of what life was like on a 19th-century sailing ship. And, in this book, I just wasnt feeling it. I didnt notice many inaccuracies (other than that I found it hard to believe that on a ship of 26 hands, there would be sailors that didnt know each other after any amount of voyaging) but I just wanted more details of shipboard life but, this is a book that doesnt get bogged down in details or verisimilitude it actually, I think, would make a very good movie and Im sure that must have been in Gene Hackmans mind when he was working on it. Its got just about the level of depth and characterization of your average big-budget movie, with plenty of action scenes, local color and exotic locations (all politically-corrected, to a certain degree.)
The story has to do with a young man who takes to the sea after his parents are murdered by a Cuban Count who seizes the family property. He makes friends with another young man, a victim of shipwreck, and together they have seagoing adventures, as he waits for his chance to take revenge The checklist of Things That Happen At Sea occurs, fairly predictably the standout scenes are diving scenes, which (considering that Lenihan is a deep-sea diving expert) seem technically very believable, if contextually very unlikely.
In 1805 Jack O'Reilly sails with his parents from Salem, Massachusetts on the Perdido Star. Jack looks forward to a new life in Cuba, but shortly after arriving, tragedy strikes and in a desperate escape Jack rejoins the Star as a member of the crew. Over the next three years, Jack has many adventures and becomes the leader of a group who call themselves the Right Honourable Brotherhood of The Shipwrecked Men of the Star. He is obsessed with returning to Cuba for revenge. His daring actions make him the talk of men of other vessels who come to know him as Black Jack O'Reilly. Not until Jack fears the loss of his two closest mates and attempts a daring rescue does he finally free himself from the chains of his fury and vindictiveness.
I want a sequel.
Also, I really like that it's written by an underwater archeologist and an actor; that gives the story a little something extra to me.