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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: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: April 2007 ISBN: 9780739341667
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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

  • 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
  • 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

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Donald | 2/19/2014

    " Many other reviewers have stated it, but it is true. This book of history reads more like fiction. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tony | 2/4/2014

    " A well written history of piracy in general and of henry Morgan in particular, "Empire of Blue Water" occasionally seems very dry in reading. It does however, provide a wonderful insight into one of the most famous of all the pirates, and how he managed to survive his own career when so many others were hunted down and hanged. The book seems well documented, though near the end it is stated that Anne Bonny died in prison while Mary Read disappeared, which seems to contradict most research, as well as "A General History of the Robberies and Murders of the most notorious Pyrates". I found the most interesting chapter in the book to be the last, which describes in vivid detail the final destruction of Port Royal by earthquake and tidal wave. All in all, I feel "Empire of Blue Water" to be a necessary read for any pirate enthusiast. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Megan | 1/7/2014

    " I'm not a very avid non-fiction reader, but this book was so engaging I nearly forgot I wasn't reading fiction. That could be due to the fantastical nature of Captain Morgan's exploits, but the author must receive credit for weaving the narrative. Talty creates a character readers can relate to as well as help imagine to travel along with Captain Morgan, which makes it feel more like storytelling and less like fact compilation. Really loved this book, and best of all, I learned a lot, too. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Chad | 11/28/2013

    " Excellent history of the exploits of Henry Morgan, probably the greatest buccaneer in the age of high Piracy (mid-17th century). Morgan captured Several great cities on the Spanish Main including Maricabo, Vera Cruz and Panama City which he burnt to the ground. Definitely the most famous pirate of his time. Talty's account is both packed with information, yet an exciting read, much like an adventure novel. Highly recommended. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Shawn | 11/28/2013

    " Fafnir's beard, this book is a great read. You want action, and historical context and significance of pirates, plus some more action? (And by action I'm talking rum and whores and pirate armies and throat-slitting.) Then read this book. I'll just say that pirates are way cooler than most of us think, and that's pretty cool already. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jeff | 10/29/2013

    " Audio book. It was pretty cool. Captain Morgan and his crew of privateers. There are some pretty cool stories about how he consistently out maneuvered the Spanish. I enjoyed listening to it and would recommend it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ollie | 10/4/2013

    " I liked this book. It protrays an accurate account of the pirateer Henry Morgan. It describes his adventures, disasters, and conflicts. I don't think it would have been as good with the invention of the lowly pirate under Captain Morgan. It depicts the "average" man and his role of pirate. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Carrie | 10/2/2013

    " The real pirates of the caribbean. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sally | 6/2/2013

    " The subject (pirates) was one with which I was unfamiliar. I liked learning more. However, the writing was poor. It was very choppy and he had an imaginary character (in the middle of his non fiction book) and it was just weird. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Stephen | 5/26/2013

    " Good job! Now the distinction between "pirates" and buccanners" is clear. Good narrative, good historical context and snappy writing. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 William Blake | 11/20/2012

    " Extremely readable; probably a four-star book, but I had to pause several times during the reading of it to handle work stuff, and then out-of-town stuff, and as a result, I rather lost any sense of cohesion. I'll probably put this on the shelf to reread this summer when I've more time. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Dave | 11/2/2012

    " Great book on Captain Morgan and his exploits on the high seas. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Bill | 9/17/2012

    " I added this one to my favorites! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Alex Rogers | 7/23/2012

    " I struggled with this book - the subject is fascinating (which boy doesn't like pirates?) and the book well researched, but I kept getting bored and putting it down. I'm pretty distractable at the moment so won't blame it all on Talty - but I was left vaguely disappointed. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Zazzu | 4/20/2012

    " Someone really needs to make a movie of the exploits of Henry Morgan. He's sort of the anti-Jack Sparrow pirate--he gladly went establishment and hunted down former cronies! But his exploits are impressive and the whole book reads like high action fiction. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jeannie | 2/8/2012

    " Not bad in terms of the organization and pacing, but the purple prose was a detractor. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Marty Crandall | 11/5/2011

    " 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 Darren | 2/28/2011

    " Great book covering a lot of history not normally brought up when Pirates or Captain Morgan are brought up. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Bruce | 2/18/2011

    " Fascinating history of the real Captain Morgan, actual Caribbean piracy, and Port Royal in Jamaica (formerly Hispaniola). If you're even a little interested in pirates or some of the events that shaped the world before the birth of America, read this book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Eric | 1/15/2011

    " I had to read the book about my namesake pirate captain...and no not the rum guy. Awesome look at the influence of the pirates in the new world and American history. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Joe | 1/12/2011

    " Interesting in that all most people know about this era comes from Hollywood movies. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Pelle | 1/6/2011

    " Readable and fairly thorough book into the lives and battles of the buccaneers of Port Royal. The author tries hard to create a human face on the pirates and their victims which mostly works well. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Seth | 12/20/2010

    " Good history of the Caribbean and the Spanish Main, centering on Henry Morgan. Interesting read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sally | 10/5/2010

    " The subject (pirates) was one with which I was unfamiliar. I liked learning more. However, the writing was poor. It was very choppy and he had an imaginary character (in the middle of his non fiction book) and it was just weird. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jeannie | 10/4/2010

    " Not bad in terms of the organization and pacing, but the purple prose was a detractor. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 John | 9/30/2010

    " Explains the role that the real pirates of the Caribbean played as mercenaries in the long battle between European empires for the new world. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Emily | 9/4/2010

    " Fascinating. This book gave me a good understanding of what pirate life was like. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Debby | 4/6/2010

    " An interesting perspective on commissions and privatiers as a milatary tool. Sympathetic view of Captain Henry Morgan. He still was ruthless but interesting. Well written story telling of the period. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Dan | 3/12/2010

    " The true story of the pirates of the Caribbean. A must read for history buffs and pirate fans alike. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Neal | 3/10/2010

    " Packed with bits of history I wasn't remotely aware of, this was a great time killer read. Not necessarily a page turner, but definitely worth picking up for a lazy Sunday. "

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