Derek Yetman has created a naval tale that fans of C. S. Forester and Patrick O’Brien will undoubtedly enjoy. Mr. 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 Newfoundland 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’, it is decided to keep the name as a ruse, which proves prescient.
The Yankee Privateer of the title is proving troublesome to the British and Squibb and the Independence are a part of a small contingent to protect Britain’s fishing interests in the area, the many small coastal fishing villages and forts in the colony, as well as 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.
There are other sub-plots to The Yankee Privateer such as Squibb’s estranged stepson Ethan is now in the Marines, romance, as the widower Squibb makes tentative steps in courting a Yankee woman detained in St. John’s, as well as plenty of action on land and sea which is 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 the pen of Mr. Yetman.
(This review was based on an Advance Reading Copy provided by Breakwater Books. This review first appeared on the Atlantic Books Today website.)
About the Author
Derek Yetman is a former journalist and editor, and the author of four previous books, including Midshipman Squibb and The Beothuk Expedition (Breakwater Books). His historical novels of Newfoundland have an authenticity that comes from his many years as a sailing skipper and student of Newfoundland history. He has served as a naval reservist, an officer of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment, secretary to the Crow’s Nest Officers’ Club, and communications manager for Canada’s national ship and ocean technology research centre. His debut novel won first prize in the Atlantic Provinces Writing Competition and later books have won widespread praise for their depiction of life and events from the island’s colourful past. He lives and works in St. John’s and Chance Cove, Trinity Bay.
- Publisher : Breakwater Books (March 30 2022)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 208 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1550819232
- ISBN-13 : 978-1550819236
James M. Fisher is the owner and editor-in-chief of The Miramichi Reader. The Miramichi Reader (TMR) —Canada’s best-regarded source for the finest in new literary releases— highlights noteworthy books and authors across Canada from coast to coast to coast (est. 2015). James works and resides in Miramichi, New Brunswick with his wife Diane and their tabby cat Eddie.