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The Drake Broadside

Book review

(By Susan Jackson who has the largest collection of Drake books, both fact and fiction and memorabillia in private hands.)

Drake in Fiction

There has been more fiction written about Drake than readers tend to realise. Much is not worth reading, since it belongs to the Victorian "Up the Empire" category. Nonetheless, the beautifully bound and lavishly illustrated books are lovely to collect. There are some works that are well worth reading. Unfortunately, most of these titles are out of print, but should be available through inter-library loan. I have read all the books that will be reviewed in The Journal and am fortunate to own most of them. The review will fall into the categories of "adult" or "children." I shall indicate if the book is in print or not.



Armada (hardback by Robert Carter, Michael Joseph, 1988, 89)

Gentlemen of Fortune (paperback by Robert Carter, in print, Sphere Books, 1993)

This is an excellent book, telling the story of the rise of English maritime power through the eyes of the fictional hero Richard Tavistock and the factual hero Francis Drake. Fact and fiction are cleverly interwoven and the characterisation of Drake is superb. There are many memorable scenes and the facts are truly represented. Like the Elizabethans themselves, the book is rumbustious, bawdy, humorous and very moving in parts. Robert Carter has captured the spirit of the era and his eye for background detail is impeccable. Cannon roar, politicians machinate and Drake and Tavistock wisecrack their way across the high-seas.

Members should receive the January edition of the Broadside on the anniversary of Drake’s death and burial. The dead never die, when they are kept alive by the thoughts and actions of the living.

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