Credited with vividly recreating an early chapter in American history with his first novel, A Matter of Honor, William C. Hammond continues the seafaring adventures of the prominent Cutler family of Massachusetts. Set in the years following the American Revolution, this second novel offers an exciting look at the young republic at a time when America remained a weak nation with no navy to protect its prosperous merchant fleet from Barbary pirates or nations intent on crippling its shipping.
The novel opens with the capture of the Cutler merchant brig Eagle by Barbary pirates. Young Caleb Cutler and his shipmates are taken as prisoners to Algiers, and his brother Richard, the novel's main protagonist, is sent to North Africa to pay ransoms demanded by the Dey of Algiers. But Richard learns of the Dey's intent to reject the ransom, as well as threats from the British and French, and fights a fierce battle in the Mediterranean with two Arab xebecs. Victorious at sea, Richard travels to Paris to report to John Paul Jones, his former naval commander who now serves as American emissary to the Barbary States, and finds himself involved in a desperate race to save the beautiful Anne-Marie Helvétian and her two daughters from the guillotine.
The author's careful historical research and thorough knowledge of sailing and the ways of the sea bring an authenticity to the novel without detracting from the entertaining storyline. Hammond's focus on the American perspective of the Age of Fighting Sail in the years following the American Revolution adds a fresh dimension to historical novels of the period.
William C. Hammond was born in 1947 in Boston, Massachusetts, and grew up in Manchester-by-the-Sea, Massachusetts. An amateur historian and sailing enthusiast, he is the author of the Cutler Family Chronicles, which take place amid the rise of the American Navy. Hammond lives in New Zealand with his wife, Sheree.
A rollicking good read full of battles, glory, and high-seas adventure, all firmly rooted in this nation’s maritime history, which the author knows and portrays well.
Literary agent, amateur historian and sailing enthusiast Hammond sets his sprawling debut novel, the first in a series, in the crucible of the American Revolution. The maritime action follows the adventures of Richard Cutler, a young rebel who signs on as a midshipman aboard the Ranger, a sloop-of-war of the fledgling Continental navy captained by John Paul Jones. Cutler's motives are independence for his country and revenge for his older brother, Will, who was seized from a merchantman and flogged to death by the Royal Navy. Serving alongside Jones on the Ranger and later the Bonhomme Richard, Cutler fights in dramatic sea battles and meets many of the key characters in the Revolution, including Ben Franklin, the Marquis de Lafayette and John Adams. He also shares his romantic interest in British beauty Katherine Hardcastle with a young British naval officer, but his capture off the British coast could mean he misses out on the war and the woman. Drawing on five years of historical research and a lifetime of sailing, Hammond vividly recreates an early chapter in American history.
William Hammond is an impressive author able to breathe life into his characters and envelop his reader's total attention from first page to last. An outstanding continuation of a highly recommended series, How Dark the Night is highly recommended for personal reading lists and community library historical fiction collections. These are the kind of books from which blockbuster movies and award-winning television mini-series are made!
. . . William Hammond sticks with his engaging and award-winning formula of embedding his early 19th-century characters in the culture, people and politics of the time.
High drama on the high seas combined with political intrigue, ships of two navies, pirates, and privateers draws the reader into this compelling tale, well crafted by William Hammond. The growing Cutler family's story brings history to life even as they appear on opposite sides of an international conflict. Another well-told, fast-paced story from the pen of Mr. Hammond that is sure to further endear his readers to the well-portrayed and three-dimensional cast of characters.
How Dark the Night, the fifth volume in the Cutler Chronicles, was a joy to read! Strong enough to stand on its own sea legs, Hammond has written a finely crafted tale of familial and maritime adventure. Hammond's masterful scene-setting places you on the wharves, on board ships, and in family settings so vividly that you feel as if you're eavesdropping on life during the Age of Sail. Best of all, How Dark the Night is a novel whose impact subtly builds to a riveting and wrenchingly emotional climax.
William Hammond spins a captivating tale set against the endeavors of a young nation and a family seeking to find its way in a politically and personally complicated world. How Dark the Night—and the entire Cutler chronicle—shine a glorious light on America's rich maritime history.
Two previous books covered the Cutlers’ naval service during the American Revolution, but The Power and the Glory is a fine stand-alone read. Hammond offers a deft blend of fictional and real characters that range the American coast from Massachusetts to Barbados, as Lt. Richard Cutler rises in the new American Navy. Hammond’s meaty tale climaxes in 1800 with a splendid ship duel between the newly built USS Constellation and La Vengeance. This battle alone is so thrilling that I am now eager to look up Hammond’s previous works, and I heartily recommend The Power and the Glory.
As always, the naval, family, and political threads are woven together in an excellent, well-written, and believable narrative by the author as [Hammond] explores the early history of the young nation. I look forward to reading the next in the series. Recommended.