April 12, 1861. With one jerk of a lanyard, one shell arching into the sky, years of tension explode into civil war. And for those men who do not know in which direction their loyalty calls them, it is a time for decisions. Such a one is Lieutenant Samuel Bowater, an officer of the U.S. Navy and a native of Charleston, South Carolina. Hard-pressed to abandon the oath he swore to the United States, but unable to fight against his home state, Bowater accepts a commission in the nascent Confederate Navy, where captains who once strode the quarterdecks of the world's most powerful ships are now assuming command of paddle wheelers and towboats. Taking charge of the armed tugboat Cape Fear, and then the ironclad Yazoo River, Bowater and his men, against overwhelming odds, engage in the waterborne fight for Southern independence.
Having survived the bloody Battle of New Orleans and the loss of their ironclad Yazoo River, captain Samuel Bowater, engineer Hieronymus Taylor, and the survivors of their crew are given new orders – take command of an ironclad warship being built in Memphis, Tennessee.Bowater and his men take passage upriver from "Mississippi" Mike Sullivan, one of the wild, undisciplined captains of the River Defense Squadron, only to find, on their arrival, that their ship is not even half built and the enemy is closing fast. Against their better judgment, Bowater and crew join forces with the mercurial Sullivan on board his ad hoc river gunship the General Page. Outnumbered and outgunned, the Confederates once again fling themselves bravely at the overwhelming power of the Yankee invaders. The deadly back-and-forth fight along the Mississippi ends at last in the massive naval battle of Memphis, and the near-suicidal attempt by the Confederates to hold back the Northern flood.
In the wake of The Guardship and The Blackbirder comes The Pirate Round, the exciting conclusion to the Brethren of the Coast trilogy and the swashbuckling adventures of former pirate Thomas Marlowe.In 1706, war still rages in Europe, and the tobacco planters of the Virginia colony's Tidewater struggle against shrinking markets and pirates lurking off the coast. But American seafarers have found a new source of wealth: the Indian Ocean and ships carrying fabulous treasure to the great mogul of India.Faced with ruin, Thomas Marlowe is determined to find a way to the riches of the East. Carrying his crop of tobacco in his privateer, Elizabeth Galley, he secretly plans to continue on to the Indian Ocean to hunt the mogul's ships. But Marlowe does not know that he is sailing into a triangle of hatred and vengeance – a rendezvous with two bitter enemies from his past. Ultimately, none will emerge unscathed from the blood and thunder, the treachery and danger, of sailing the Pirate Round.
Shortly after Thomas Marlowe's arrival in Williamsburg, Virginia, all in that newfound capital city are speaking his name. With the bounty from his years as a pirate--a life he intends to renounce and keep forever secret--he purchases a fine plantation from a striking young widow, and soon after kills the favorite son of one of Virginia's most powerful clans while defending her honor. But it is a daring feat of remarkable cunning that truly sets local tongues wagging: a stunning move that wins Marlowe command of Plymouth Prize, the colony's decrepit guardship.But even as the enigmatic Marlowe bravely leads the King's sailors in bloody pitched battle against the cutthroats who infest the waters off Virginia's shores, a threat from his illicit past looms on the horizon that could doom Marlowe and his plans. Jean-Pierre LeRois, captain of the Vengeance--a brigand notorious even among other brigands for his violence and debauchery--plots to seize the colony's wealth, forcing Marlowe to choose between losing all or facing the one man he fears. Only an explosive confrontation on the open sea can determine whether the Chesapeake will be ruled by the crown or the Brethren of the Coast.
In a blind rage, King James, ex-slave and now Marlowe's comrade in arms, slaughters the crew of a slave ship and makes himself the most wanted man in Virginia. The governor gives Marlowe a choice: Hunt James down and bring him back to hang or lose everything Marlowe has built for himself and his wife, Elizabeth.Marlowe sets out in pursuit of the ex-slave turned pirate, struggling to maintain control over his crew -- rough privateers who care only for plunder -- and following James's trail of destruction. But Marlowe is not James's only threat, as factions aboard James's own ship vie for control and betrayal stalks him to the shores of Africa.