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Authors: Dudley Pope

Tags: #brethren, #jamaica, #spanish main, #ned yorke, #king, #charles ii, #dudley pope, #buccaneer, #galleon, #spain


Copyright & Information



First published in 1986

Copyright: Kay Pope; House of Stratus 1986-2010


All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise), without the prior permission of the publisher. Any person who does any unauthorised act in relation to this publication may be liable to criminal prosecution and civil claims for damages.


The right of Dudley Pope to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted.


This edition published in 2010 by House of Stratus, an imprint of

Stratus Books Ltd., 21 Beeching Park, Kelly Bray,

Cornwall, PL17 8QS, UK.


Typeset by House of Stratus.


A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library and the Library of Congress.




This is a fictional work and all characters are drawn from the author’s imagination.

Any resemblance or similarities to persons either living or dead are entirely coincidental.


About the Author


Dudley Bernard Egerton Pope
was born in Ashford, Kent on 29 December 1925. When at the tender age of fourteen World War II broke out and Dudley attempted to join the Home Guard by concealing his age. At sixteen, once again using a ruse, he joined the merchant navy a year early, signing papers as a cadet with the Silver Line. They sailed between Liverpool and West Africa, carrying groundnut oil.

Before long, his ship was torpedoed in the Atlantic and a few survivors, including Dudley, spent two weeks in a lifeboat prior to being rescued. His injuries were severe and because of them he was invalided out of the merchant service and refused entry into the Royal Navy when officially called up for active service aged eighteen.

Turning to journalism, he set about ‘getting on with the rest of his life’, as the Naval Review Board had advised him. He graduated to being Naval and Defence correspondent with the London Evening News in 1944. The call of the sea, however, was never far away and by the late 1940’s he had managed to acquire his first boat. In it, he took part in cross-channel races and also sailed off to Denmark, where he created something of a stir, his being one of the first yachts to visit the country since the war.

In 1953 he met Kay, whom he married in 1954, and together they formed a lifelong partnership in pursuit of scholarly adventure on the sea. From 1959 they were based in Porto Santo Stefano in Italy for a few years, wintering on land and living aboard during the summer. They traded up boats wherever possible, so as to provide more living space, and Kay Pope states:


‘In September 1963, we returned to England where we had bought the 53 foot cutter
Golden Dragon
and moved on board where she lay on the east coast. In July 1965, we cruised down the coasts of Spain and Portugal, to Gibraltar, and then to the Canary Islands. Early November of the same year we then sailed across the Atlantic to Barbados and Grenada, where we stayed three years.

Our daughter, Victoria was 4 months old when we left the UK and 10 months when we arrived in Barbados. In April 1968, we moved on board
in St Thomas, US Virgin Islands and lost our mainmast off St Croix, when attempting to return to Grenada.’


The couple spent the next nine years cruising between the British Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, before going to Antigua in 1977 and finally St.Martin in 1979.

The sea was clearly in Pope’s blood, his family having originated in Padstow, Cornwall and later owning a shipyard in Plymouth. His great-grandfather had actually preceded him to the West Indies when in 1823, after a spell in Canada, he went to St.Vincent as a Methodist missionary, before returning to the family business in Devon.

In later life, Dudley Pope was forced to move ashore because of vertigo and other difficulties caused by injuries sustained during the war. He died in St.Martin in 1997, where Kay now lives. Their daughter, Victoria, has in turn inherited a love of the sea and lives on a sloop, as well as practising her father's initial profession of journalism.

As an experienced seaman, talented journalist and historian, it was a natural progression for Pope to write authoritative accounts of naval battles and his first book,
Flag 4: The Battle of Coastal Forces in the Mediterranean
, was published in 1954. This was followed in 1956 by the
Battle of the River Plate
, which remains the most accurate and meticulously researched account of this first turning point for Britain in World War II. Many more followed, including the biography of Sir Henry Morgan, (
Harry Morgan’s Way
) which has one won wide acclaim as being both scholarly and thoroughly readable. It portrays the history of Britain’s early Caribbean settlement and describes the Buccaneer’s bases and refuges, the way they lived, their ships and the raids they made on the coast of central America and the Spain Main, including the sack of Panama.

Recognising Pope’s talent and eye for detail, C.S. Forrester (the creator of the
Hornblower Series
) encouraged him to try his hand at fiction. The result, in 1965, was the appearance of the first of the
novels, followed by a further seventeen culminating with
Ramage and the Dido
which was published in 1989. These follow the career and exploits of a young naval officer, Nicholas Ramage, who was clearly named after Pope’s yacht. He also published the ‘
Ned Yorke
’ series of novels, which commences as would be expected in the Caribbean, in the seventeenth century, but culminates in
with a Ned Yorke of the same family many generations on fighting the Battle of the Atlantic.

All of Dudley Pope’s works are renowned for their level of detail and accuracy, as well as managing to bring to the modern reader an authentic feeling of the atmosphere of the times in which they are set.


‘Expert knowledge of naval history’ — Guardian


“An author who really knows Nelson’s navy” — Observer


‘The best of Hornblower’s successors’ — Sunday Times


‘All the verve and expertise of Forrester’ — Observer





For Alex and Harry Jonas

who were in Marigot when it happened


Marigot Village



Chapter One

Aurelia examined the inked lines portraying the new house, drawn with geometric precision on the parchment scroll, and then looked round once again at the rough field on the top of the cliff where it was to be built. No matter how hard she tried, she found it impossible to picture the thin, insubstantial lines as a stone house standing four-square, proof against hurricanes, marauding pirates and tropical downpours.

However, Ned had chosen the perfect position. From seaward a lazy swell rolling in from the north thundered to its death against the cliffs below, the breaking water slipping white lace collars round each rock.

Inland the mountains stretched like folded pastry, alternate crests and valleys rising and falling and eventually disappearing in a distant blue haze. From the northern sea horizon to the farthest mountains in the south she could see three distinct broad ribbons of colour: the almost unbelievably vivid purplish-blue of the sea, the green merging into parched brown of the grass and bushes where they were standing, and the blue-grey of the mountains, a colour which she wished could be produced on cloth.

She waved the parchment. “I can’t believe we’ll ever see this house built and actually live here, Ned. Just imagine, those rollers lulling us to sleep, and then we wake up in the morning and look out to sea… Something dreadful will happen to spoil it all.”

Ned shrugged his shoulders. Aurelia seemed able to look into the misty future at will, yet sometimes the view alarmed her. As a rule, he reflected, she accepted life as they all accepted the Trade wind clouds parading past in neat lines of white cotton balls – they were there on most days of the year, and if they vanished it heralded a change in the weather.

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