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Download Empire of Blue Water: Captain Morgan's Great Pirate Army, the Epic Battle for the Americas, and the Catastrophe That Ended the Outlaws' Bloody Reign Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Empire of Blue Water: Captain Morgans Great Pirate Army, the Epic Battle for the Americas, and the Catastrophe That Ended the Outlaws Bloody Reign, by Stephan Talty Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (770 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Stephan Talty Narrator: John H. Mayer Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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He challenged the greatest empire on earth with a ragtag bunch of renegades—and brought it to its knees. Empire of Blue Water is the real story of the pirates of the Caribbean.

Henry Morgan, a twenty-year-old Welshman, crossed the Atlantic in 1655, hell-bent on making his fortune. Over the next three decades, his exploits in the Caribbean in the service of the English became legendary. His daring attacks on the mighty Spanish Empire on land and at sea determined the fates of kings and queens, and his victories helped shape the destiny of the New World.

Morgan gathered disaffected European sailors and soldiers, hard-bitten adventurers, runaway slaves, and vicious cutthroats, and turned them into the most feared army in the Western Hemisphere. Sailing out from the English stronghold of Port Royal, Jamaica, “the wickedest city in the New World,” Morgan and his men terrorized Spanish merchant ships and devastated the cities where great riches in silver, gold, and gems lay waiting. His last raid, a daring assault on the fabled city of Panama, helped break Spain’s hold on the Americas forever. 

Awash with bloody battles, political intrigues, natural disaster, and a cast of characters more compelling, bizarre, and memorable than any found in a Hollywood swashbuckler—including the notorious pirate L’Ollonais, the soul-tortured King Philip IV of Spain, and Thomas Modyford, the crafty English governor of Jamaica—Empire of Blue Water brilliantly re-creates the passions and the violence of the age of exploration and empire.

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Quotes & Awards

  • Reeking of authentic blood and thunder, and as richly detailed as a work of fiction, Empire of Blue Water dramatically evokes the rough-and-tumble age when pirates owned the seas. In Stephan Talty’s hands, the brilliant Captain Morgan, wicked and cutthroat though he was, proves an irresistible hero. A thrilling and fascinating adventure. Caroline Alexander, author of The Endurance and The Bounty
  • Stephan Talty’s new book serves up swashbuckling history at its briny, blood-soaked best, with enough violence and passion to keep the pages flying by. But it’s not only blood and swash: Empire of Blue Water is also a mirror to our own times, showing that attempting globalization against a backdrop of the clash of civilizations is nothing new,and that religious violence is often a thinly veiled cover for greed and personal ambition. Talty's portrait of the legendary privateer Henry Morgan is a marvelous study in contradictions—a man of astounding heroism, brilliance, compassion, and charm, who was also capable of the greatest betrayal. Tom Reiss, author of The Orientalist
  • A wickedly entertaining tale of pirates and the Caribbean seas they once ruled like kings. Epic sea battles, daring adventures, rich history, great villains and heroes alike—it’s a treasure. Neal Bascomb, author of The Perfect Mile and Higher
  • In a riveting history that reads like the best novels, Stephan Talty stylishly extricates the pirates of the Caribbean from the imprecise caricature that so often consumes them. Layer by fascinating layer, Talty peels away the eye patch and theshiver-me-timbers brogue to reveal the raucous, complex and authentic buccaneers
    of the “Brethren of the Coast.” . . . Storytelling and history to be savored.
    Buddy Levy, author of American Legend: The Real-Life Adventures of David Crockett
  • Engrossing . . . a swashbuckling tale of how the history of the Americas was shaped by a small group of daring brigands. Matthew Brzezinski, author of Casino Moscow
  • A fascinating look inside [a] glamorous and gritty world. Les Standiford, author of Last Train to Paradise
  • Exceptionally well-told . . . an exhilarating adventure in reading. Kerry A. Trask, author of Black Hawk
  • Talty’s vigorous history of seventeenth-century pirates of the Caribbean will sate even fickle Jack Sparrow fans. . . . A pleasure to read from bow to stern. Entertainment Weekly
  • A swashbuckling adventure . . . [the] characters leap to life. New York Times Book Review
  • A ripping yarn, worthy of its gaudy subject. Dallas Morning News
  • A sparkling and engrossing adventure narrative. Boston Phoenix
  • Fresh insight into pirates’ dens of old . . . Well-researched nonfiction that reads like a novel. Washington Times
  • Swashbuckling history at its bloody, blood-soaked best, and a mirror to our own times. Tom Reiss, author of The Orientalist
  • Morgan proves an irresistible hero. A thrilling and fascinating adventure. Caroline Alexander, author of The Endurance and The Bounty
  • “Rollicking . . . with style and energy Talty tells a tale of boundless wickedness. William M. Fowler, author of Empires at War

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Joaquin | 2/11/2014

    " Captain Morgan, that jaunty pirate-looking guy of spiced rum. Who'd've thought he was an actual pirate? Pretty neat. Not the most exciting or gripping read in the world, but still, it was pretty understanding-expanding for me. For whatever reason, my knowledge of the 'New' World prior to 1776ish is pretty hazy. So reading this book helped me appreciate the how much New World history there is prior to the Declaration of Independence. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Marty Crandall | 2/11/2014

    " Very interesting history - but some of the storytelling techniques were annoying. The author invented a fictional character to describe the average pirate, I felt that the fiction distracted from the really cool history. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Moira | 2/8/2014

    " I took in the audio version of this book, narrated by a gravelly-throated John H. Mayer. He turned the history into a tale that could've been told at the back of a dim sailor's dive, a place packed with rowdy pirates and privateers and buccaneers all whipped from salt and wind, all with scars, some with missing appendages. Havin read a few pirate romances, I knew reality wouldn't paint them in such a swashbuckling, to-die-for light, and sure enough, they were greedy cutthroats who pillaged and plundered and then went back to Port Royal (home base for the English pirates) and gave it all away to barkeeps and whores. Giving, in that way, I suppose. Still, every profession has its code of conduct. What impressed me was how egalitarian they all were. All got an equal vote, all got a fair share of the booty, right down to the cabin boy. They even had a version of worker's comp for those injured during the course of action. The captain ruled only during times of battle at sea. And if you were a pirate under the command of Captain Morgan you were in safe hands. Oh, but he was a cunning man. Again and again the wiry Welshman outsmarted the dastardly Spanish. The Spanish in this telling are cast as the villains because they won't allow trade on their lands which the English find appalling. The King and his bureaucrats encouraged the pirates and privateers (pirates with official commissions to wreck havoc) until eventually, the English signed a treaty with the Spanish and the highwaymen of the sea were suddenly deemed to be criminals. For you see, pirates, despite all their wild courage and larger-than-life exploits, were, in the end, political pawns. How that all came to be is a well-spun yarn thanks to Mr. Talty and Mr. Mayer. I'll remember you both fondly every time I toss back my shot of Captain Morgan. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Alice | 2/5/2014

    " 3.5 stars. Enjoyed it! A nice popular history (he's not a purist, you guys - he makes up a 'character' to represent the common pirate/seaman...the device was a little cheesy, but I didn't really mind). It's a good story, is the main thing - I didn't know anything about this period/region, and now I do. Whoooooo hoo! "

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