A Roving Commission by G. A. Henty

A Roving Commission

Plot: Our hero’s story begins several months before the insurrection on the island of Hayti, on a ship anchored in Hayti. Nathaniel, known to all as Nat, because he dislikes his full name, goes ashore to see the town. In the course of the visiting the town, he rides out into the countryside. Several miles from the town, Nat hears a scream and cries for help, jumping from his mount he runs to the voice. Nat sees a large dog mauling a young girl, without a thought, he jumps at it and after a short brawl, kills it with his sailor’s dirk. The girl’s parents take Nat into their home while he recovers from his large injuries.

After a month or so with the small family, Nat returns to his ship.

Aboard with his shipmates once more, Nat sets out on another adventure, this one including pirates. The captain informs Nat that they have orders to sail around the islands, and see if any pirates are about.

Thanks to Nat’s keen eyesight, the ship notices a pirate hold deep within an island. They attack this and capture the entire hold. Unexpectedly, among their plunder, are about two hundred slaves. These they feed and cloth properly; following a sharp fight with the surviving pirates and islanders, the ship sails home with the freed slaves and other cargo.

Relieving themselves of the slaves, and leaving them to others care, Nat’s ship sets out once more to survey the various islands for pirates. Once more, thanks to Nat’s keen eyesight, they discover a small pirate hold hidden well on an island. Finding the opening small and well guarded, the captain sends a small force ashore to take down the guards so the ship could sail through cleanly. Nat goes with the small party, and they take down the pirate guards before they know what hit them. A short, intense fight ensues, killing all the pirates and giving the sailors great plunder from a large warehouse.

The ship returns victorious to their harbor and unloads its precious cargo. The captain rewards Nat’s outstanding bravery from the last battle, with leave for a few days to visit the family whose daughter he had saved. He is there few days before the slaves around the island revolt against the white rule. Providentially, Nat, the girl he saved, and her mother, are warned in time and are able to leave the house before the slaves come to kill them and burn the house. Now, on the run for their lives, Nat must protect the woman and find a way back to the town.

Positive: Our hero, Nat, is full of honor, courage and good brains (excuse the expression) as always. Something that is lacking in many of our hero’s in modern day books, especially the good brains part.

The battles are well written and engaging, a very big plus for me.

Mr. Henty does an excellent job of portraying the events of the black insurrection of Hayti. He draws you into the historical event with the story, with our’s hero help of course.

Negative: I cannot say many negatives about this book, in fact I cannot think of one!

Overall: The books that Mr. Henty writes are what first drew me to history, aside from my natural wish to learn more of it, he made me find it fascinating. Mr. Henty does a wonderful job keeping your nose in the book and interested in our hero’s tale, yet, at the same time, filling the reader’s mind with history.

I highly recommend this book to people of all ages; it is well written and finely told.


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