Corsair, Buccaneer and Sea Robber

Saturday, 6 August 2011

I'd read and enjoyed the Viking series enough to have grabbed Corsair, the first of the Hector Lynch stories, as soon as I spotted it, but having read it I wasn't in a hurry to catch up with the rest of the series.

The Viking series had worked rather well around Thorgils Leiffson, son of Leif Ericson who spends his early years in Greenland before traversing the Norse world, reaching Constantinople before ending up back in Sweden, where he plays a part in the lead-up to William the Conqueror's invasion of England which in turn signals the end of the Viking world.

Apart from the travels and adventures, given the notion that young Thorgils has inherited his mother's mystical second sight, there's an on-going theme running through the series with the clash between the ancient ways and Old Gods of the Norse peoples and the missionary zeal that's bringing the White Christ into the pagan world.

Unfortunately, at least as far as this reader is concerned, the Hector Lynch stories don't hang together quite as well.


The mysticism and the tug of war between the Old Ways and Christianity gave Severin a framework to move the characters through that isn't there after Hector moves through the slave market of Algiers, where he's separated from his sister. The quest to be reunited with her might form the basis of an on-going series she's hardly likely to be travelling to the furthest ends of the known world, is she?

And if she was, having been sold off in Algiers, you'd guess she'd be moving through the Middle East towards Zanzibar, the Seychelles or Mughal India.

Hector, unable to catch up with Elizabeth, teams up with Dan, a Miskito Indian from Central America, converts to Islam to get out of of the slave pens, serves aboard a Turkish corsair vessel and when it's sunk ends up as a French galley slave before being shipwrecked on the coast of Morocco and making his way down the west African coast to the point where Hector, Dan, and French galley slave Jacques find an abandoned vessel that'll take them across the Atlantic to Dan's homeland.

And that's Corsair.


Buccaneer has the trio and a couple of freed African slaves reaching the Caribbean, where Hector falls into the hands of notorious buccaneer, John Coxon who's under the impression that Hector has family connections that'll turn out to be useful in the on-going politicing between the Governor of Jamaica, Sir Thomas Lynch  and his bitter enemy Sir Henry Morgan.

The failure of things to pan out the way Coxon would have liked has Hector on the run again, falling in love with a girl way beyond his station, and ending up in central America where a hurricane and another shipwreck reunites him with Dan and Jacques in time to join a pirate expedition across the mainland to the Pacific. 

The excursion along the Panama coast turns out to be less lucrative than they'd hoped, though they succeed in capturing a vessel carrying the wife of a high-ranking Spanish official and her attendant, Maria, whose testimony, once Hector has made his way back to England and been arrested for piracy is enough to save him from the gallows.


© Ian Hughes 2012