James Fisher Reviews a Naval Tale Fans of CS Forester and Patrick O’Brien Will Undoubtedly Enjoy
The Yankee Privateer
With The Yankee Privateer, Derek Yetman has created a naval tale that fans of CS Forester and Patrick O’Brien will undoubtedly enjoy.
Indeed, Yetman has channelled the best of both authors in creating Jonah Squibb, his main protagonist who, along with his ship the Amelia, gets drafted into the British Navy during the American War of Independence to help protect the small community of St. John’s. (Jonah Squibb made an appearance in The Beothuk Expedition, which was also published by Breakwater Books in 2011 but is now out of print).
What makes The Yankee Privateer unique is the colonial setting of St. John’s as the base of operations, rather than the familiar European side of the Atlantic. Squibb is given command of a prize ship, the schooner Independence, which was recently captured by the British. Rather than change the name to something less revolutionary, the Brits keep the name as a ruse, which proves prescient.
The Yankee privateer of the book’s title is proving troublesome to the British and Squibb and the Independence are a part of a small contingent protecting Britain’s fishing interests in the area, the many small coastal fishing villages and forts in the colony and supply ships coming across the ocean. The mysterious captain of the privateer appears to be experienced and he keeps his crew operating like a well-oiled machine as they take prize after prize from the beleaguered British.
There are other sub-plots to The Yankee Privateer, such as Squibb’s estranged stepson Ethan’s adventures in the Marines and the widower Squibb’s tentative steps in courting a Yankee woman detained in St. John’s. There is plenty of action on land and sea, by turns heart-pounding and heart-wrenching.
Breakwater Books has performed a great service to naval enthusiasts by publishing The Yankee Privateer. One hopes there are more adventures to come from Yetman, as the ending of The Yankee Privateer would lead us to believe.