- Format: Kindle Edition
- File Size: 1348 KB
- Print Length: 252 pages
- Publisher: Endeavour Press (19 Jan. 2017)
- Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
- Language: English
- ASIN: B01MS9K17F
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Average Customer Review: 1 customer review
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #348,561 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Freedom's Pilgrim Kindle Edition
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Top customer reviews
As Emeritus Professor of Medieval History at University College Dublin, James certainly knows his stuff; demonstrating this to us with detailed descriptions of mid-16th century naval warfare and life, the methods and contradictions of the Holy Inquisition, as well as what appears to be a solid understanding of the languages, culture and history of pre-colonial Mexico and South America.
There is enough plot in this novel more than one book and unfortunately the reader is too often rushed from one plot point to the next. Despite wanting to invest in the romantic relationships Miles develops, that are often the cause and result of his adventures, there isn't substantial character development to do so. In addition, Miles himself doesn't feel fully rounded which was disappointing. He gives the author a vehicle through which to lay down the historical events of the novel, but beyond that we don't feel particularly compelled to cheer for him.
There were moments when I hoped James would linger for a while on a scene rather hurrying the plot along. For example, as Miles and some other soldiers are trying desperately to make their way back to civilisation after being dumped ashore by their Captain, they are tracked by a tribe of indigenous warriors who get them to strip and steal their clothes. This is perhaps the first time any of the these men have met an indigenous American and the scene might have proved a useful way of exploring the attitudes and relationships of one group to the other.
Overall, it was the 'literary' quality of the writing is what prevented me from awarding more than 3 stars, but having said that, Freedom's Pilgrim is a fun, plot-driven story about a real and fascinating historical figure searching for his place in the world and his way home.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Philips was a real person. The basis for this book comes from a 40-page historical narrative, in a large, 16th century compilation by Richard Hakluyt, largely intended to romanticize England and her place in the New World. Omitted from the record were any of Philips’ experiences that did not properly glorify England.
Freedom’s Pilgrim is Edward James’ effort to fill in the blanks of Philips’ life with plausible fiction. The story is a compelling adventure. It paints a vivid picture of what life might have been like in New Spain, from silver mines to rancherias to native settlements. You see how easily a person of no means -- on either side of the Atlantic -- could be pressed into military service, forced labor, or outright slavery… and how individuals or targeted minorities could run afoul of the Spanish Inquisition. And, a primary motivation for the Inquisition appeared to be conscription of forced labor!
Having consumed my share of pirate fare, I’m used to following the attacking crew members’ efforts. Here, it was a nice change to be on board with Miles, as his ship and crew twice had to repel boarders and resist takeover. I appreciated the strategies employed, as well as an acknowledgement I might long have expected: “Bringing a ship alongside another and boarding over the gunwales is tricky, a deliberate collision that always damages both vessels.”
I found the beginning of the book to be somewhat confusing. References to St. Juan and San Juan -- one place or two? Puerto Rico? Miles was recovering from an injury sustained in battle at San Juan. The cannon he was firing had exploded. He was drifting in and out of consciousness, remembering his childhood in England, and having flashbacks to events in Africa. Miles came round soon enough, as did my grasp of the story.
Along with the story, I was getting used to some typographical oddities with the Kindle text. Paragraphs are only indented 1 ½ characters, and, single quotation marks are used throughout, where there should be double quotes. The former made the text a bit harder to follow, and the latter made for confusion when encountering contractions or possessives in dialog.
There were other minor errors throughout, including several passages where a smattering of question marks punctuated non-questions.
This book is so good, that I hope not to put off potential readers with mention of problems. But, to the author: Come on! Some cleanup would behoove you. As of this writing, even your own blurb on the Amazon listing tends to muddle the timeline with regard to San Juan, Miles’ dreams, travel from Africa to the West Indies, and more. AND, you’ve misspelled “Philips” by adding an extra “L”, as was done 2 times out of 18, in the book itself.
I apologize, but this book is not what I thought it was. It is my mistake.
However, I want to thank Netgalley and Endeavour Press for forwarding to me a copy of this book to read.
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