The Man Who Saved Henry Morgan: A Novel

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9781770899452: The Man Who Saved Henry Morgan: A Novel
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A rollicking tale of friendship and betrayal by critically acclaimed novelist Robert Hough

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 Spanish city of Villahermosa.

The mission is a perilous success, and Wand attracts the attention of the mission’s leader, an up-and-coming Welsh seaman, Captain Henry Morgan, whose raids on Spanish strongholds are funded by the British government.

While embarking on a campaign in the Caribbean, Morgan forms an unlikely friendship with Wand through their shared love of chess. Yet as Morgan becomes morally corrupted by the increasingly sordid attacks, he slowly transforms into Wand’s greatest enemy. To defeat his former ally, Wand embarks on a strategic battle of wits with Morgan, only to discover that if he wants to break free of his friend, he’s going to have to help him in the most savage and unexpected way possible.

Bawdy, philosophical, and darkly humorous, The Man Who Saved Henry Morgan is storytelling at it’s best.

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About the Author:

Robert Hough’s novels have been nominated for numerous awards, including the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize, the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, the Trillium Book Award, and the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize. His most recent novel, Dr. Brinkley’s Tower, was longlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize and was a finalist for the Governor General’s Literary Award. He lives in Toronto.

From School Library Journal:

Twenty-year-old Benny Wand stands before the judge with 10 seconds to decide: Newgate prison or deportment to Jamaica. Jamaica it is, and he is off to the town of Port Royal to start over. Arriving with nothing but the clothes on his back, Benny continues the life that got him arrested: conning money by playing chess. He lives in the back alleys of Port Royal until the infamous privateer Henry Morgan takes him on as a crew member, and they head out on a raid. Surviving high seas, jungle, and heat, Benny perseveres and, at a crucial moment, realizes that their strategy is wrong. The young man attracts the attention of Morgan, and an unlikely friendship ensues as Morgan, an expert chess player himself, compels Benny to join him regularly in a game. Unable to beat Benny, Morgan recognizes him as a master strategist and relies upon him for tactical insight. The protagonist revels in the attention but becomes increasingly concerned as his inherent belief in the goodness of humanity collides with the growing sordidness of their raids and Morgan's deteriorating health and sanity. Sophisticated teens will appreciate this excellent tale. The sights, sounds, and smells of 1600s Jamaica come alive through Benny's eyes. Chess players, privateers, prostitutes, gamblers, and the upper crust create the rich environment in which Benny lives while searching for meaning in his life. VERDICT Chess, history, and the art of the con mingle to create a top-notch tale that many mature teens will enjoy.—Connie Williams, Petaluma High School, CA

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