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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 6 April 2013
If you enjoyed Hornblower or The Onedin Line then you are going to love At Drake's Command. This book traces the many fates that befall a new young sailor, Peregrine James, on his first sea voyage. His commander is Sir Francis Drake (soon to singe the King of Spain's beard and defeat the Armada), but right now trying to muscle England in on the lucrative trade routes which the Portuguese and Spanish are currently hogging.

Peregrine is taken on as a cook when he catches Drake's eye whilst awaiting a public flogging. Peregine, a sort of 16th Century Jamie Oliver, can cook up a storm but he soon becomes Drake's trusted man which leads him away from his galley stoves and into numerous adventures. He soon learns that he is regarded by his superiors as absolutely expendable and learns many home truths such as honesty is not always regarded as the best policy. Peregrine learns the sorrow of losing a good friend to the deep and the privations of life on a sailing ship in the sixteenth century that has him cooking up such delicacies as `between decks venison', a sort of rat stew. The ship is supposed to be sailing to Alexandria to trade in currants but it soon becomes clear to Peregrine that Drake has his sights set on much bigger prizes than a mere cargo of dried grapes.

This is a right rollicking tale which will keep you guessing all the way to the end, which, of course, is far from being the end. At Drake's Command is the first of a planned series featuring Peregrine Jones and the good Captain Drake so more to look forward to. The story is well told and the pace exciting. There is always something happening to Peregrine! The characters are well drawn from Drake as the larger than life person he must certainly have been, to the shrew like Doughty and the honourable Peregrine himself.

If you love a salty yarn and a fast adventure, you are going to love At Drake's Command.
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on 10 March 2013
Much of the detail of this book is taken from the records of various people who sailed with Francis Drake on the Pelican, and the Elizabeth with a total of 164 men on the second circumnavigation of the world from 1577 to 1580. The story is told from the point of view of Perry James, a young man taken on as a ship's cook after he catches the eye of Sir Francis in Plymouth, where he is about to be whipped as a thief. As his only real crime is to have fallen in love with his master's daughter, Perry is something of an innocent, but he soon learns the seamanship needed to survive and makes friends, and enemies, among the other seamen. At various points of the story he proves he is trustworthy, but he is also often a pawn, used by other men to further their own designs.

The business of sailing is depicted with a sense of the drama of the sea, a precarious business, but there are incidents on land just as full of danger and excitement. Again and again Perry performs beyond the call of duty, but he is often naïve and prone to mistakes of judgement. There is a continuation of the story promised; to be titled 'Desperate Bankrupts'.

I was a little disappointed with the characterisation, particularly when Perry was blamed for matters of which he could only be innocent. The characterisation of Drake was disconcertingly inconsistent - all too ready to mistrust the boy who again and again proved himself true, only to be dismissed on the slimmest of evidence. It seems with all his efforts to prove himself as an adherent to Drake's cause, and with all the evidence of his faithfulness, the dice are cruelly cast against him.
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VINE VOICEon 20 June 2014
This delightful novel tells the story of young Peregrine James, a Plymouth lad who, fleeing from a whipping for a theft he did not commit, is taken on as ship's cook on Sir Francis Drake's ship The Pelican at the start of what later becomes its voyage round the world (though this is not known to anyone on board throughout the novel). He gets into all kinds of scrapes and trouble as they travel on past the Straits of Gibraltar (giving the lie to the voyage's stated purpose of trading in spices in Alexandria), and down along the coast of Africa to the Cape Verde islands, experiencing betrayals, captures and daring escapes, sword fights and doing plenty of cooking along the way, before The Pelican and the Spanish and Portuguese ships it has captured en route set off across the Atlantic at the end of the book. There is a twist in the end for our hero, paving the way for a sequel, which I look forward to reading when it comes out - Perry is a humorous and likeable character, and the rest of the crew and officers from Drake down are all well drawn characters. Excellent stuff.
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on 25 June 2013
I loved this book. I found the historical detail very credible and the imagined adventures of our hero kept me turning the pages. The story was well written and well presented and deserved four or five stars. So why three? Because it's not finished. It ends on a cliff hanger.

This is an increasing trend and it drives me nuts. If you sell me a book, I expect a beginning, a middle and an end. Not the first third or so, with a clear promise of more to come.
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on 1 September 2013
I really like historical fiction and this book gave me an insight into Francis Drake and the way he ran his ships. This story gave me a very interesting insight into the way ship operated between decks and the men who worked there. The vocabulary is from that era and although it takes a little bit of getting used to it makes for an interesting change. I hate it when reviewers let slip with clues on how the book ends so I'll just say that I got to like young Perry and I'm looking forward to more books of the same genre by this author.
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on 7 May 2013
really well written, keeps you tied to the book. well worth it. realistic and action packed with historic accuracy and locations.
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on 26 August 2013
a very good read and difficult to put down. only problem it finishes half way through the story so you will have to hunt down the next volume to see if he gets out of the problem he finds himself in. not going to let anything out of the bag
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on 24 June 2016
Loved this book, it reads very easily and moves along at a great pace. Anyone looking for a fun adventure and some insight into the life's of Privateers, Pirates and the like should definitely enjoy this book. Good for teenagers and above
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on 24 August 2013
So many gastronomical mistakes. I don't think Drake's ships carried pepper, it was a very rare commodity, not used for a voyage. Tongue in cheek adventure with very little substance.
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on 31 May 2013
We are proud to announce that Drake's Command by David Wesley Hill is a B.R.A.G.Medallion Honoree. This tells a reader that this book is well worth their time and money!
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