– by Katherine Bone, author of Duke by Day, Rogue by Night
Avast! Pirates are coming! And when that happens … people take notice. Why? Because pirates harbor a hint of independence, mischief, a sense of nonconformity and rejection of authority, and perhaps even a tad of the old Robin Hood ethic. Except, in this instance, pirates don’t give to the poor, unless it can be said that pirates are poor.
Most people assume that piracy ended its heyday in The Golden Age of Piracy, the haunt of Captain Jack Sparrow and the mid-late 1770’s. But what has eluded attention is that piracy in Europe didn’t end until after 1833, the year Benito De Soto’s luck ran out when his ship, the Black Joke, ran aground and he and his crew were recognized in Cadiz, captured and hanged. At the same time, the Cornish coast was being overrun by smuggling during the wars between France and Spain. Communities like Polperro, Talland Bay, Fowey, and Coverack, being one of the most successful operations, compensated for their meager earnings by joining in this brotherhood of pilfering and secrecy.
Why take such risks? No doubt, piracy and smuggling were lucrative business tactics. As an example in 1833, Coverack records show 525 cargo tubs of brandy had been pilfered in 5 weeks’ time and 7,000 ankers of brandy in twelve months. Even an added Coast Guard Station could not quell the activity. It did not help that buyers could be found for this stolen merchandise in mining communities across the Cornwall Coast. One such benefactor was Zephaniah Job, who developed his family business in Polperro. His legacy lasted from 1770-1822 when his nephew, Ananiah, took over. The Job family’s outreach was pivotal in ensuring that smuggling survived in a time when industrialization and war brought cataclysmic change to society.
Interesting, isn’t it? I thought so. While researching my Nelson’s Tea series, I found this little known smuggling conclave fascinating. Piracy during the greatest era in England? Little known facts that could be woven into stories of epic proportion? It was a treasure trove of story fodder in the making. Adding in a hint of Master & Commander and The Scarlet Pimpernel to pad the senses, I hope has created a wonderful reading delight.
I’m happy to announce that Crimson Romance is publishing my first book in the Nelson’s Tea Series, Duke by Day, Rogue by Night. You see, Admiral Nelson was never without his tea. And what if Nelson’s tea was code for mercenaries he employed and what if those men were first sons from every walk of life, men no one would suspect of serving in such a capacity? Piracy, smuggling, war, officers, noblemen, damsels in distress and damsels who try to outwit the system, and the ton–this series has it all.
In Duke by Day, Rogue by Night, Percival Avery, Marques Stanton, future 7th Duke of Blendingham and member of Nelson’s Tea, has his mind set on avenging his sister’s death, but a fated pirate attack forces him to choose between his mission and saving the life of his commander’s niece, Lady Constance Danbury. What ensues is an adventurous romp as Percy seeks to do what his conscience tells him to do without risking the loss of his lady love. Will he succeed as a Duke by Day or a Rogue by Night?