1/series. Deservedly praised by Patrick O’Brian, author Nelson creates the world of early colonial-era Chesapeake Bay in this sailing/pirate yarn starring Thomas Marlowe, a wealthy tobacco planter with a mysterious past. Marlowe’s head-to-head with the favorite son of the ruling Wilkenson clan thrusts him into a quickly-growing confrontation with the clan’s imperious head, Jacob, and Jacob’s remaining son George. As Marlowe’s attraction for beautiful Elizabeth Tinling (another mysterious past!), the dreaded pirates plot mayhem, murder, and all the things they do best. Lovely start to a series about America's Colonial past. The sailing ship action can't be beat for authenticity, not at all surprising when you learn the author has spent a lot of time on tall ships. And the depiction of the life of a pirate crew is spot-on. No wonder they were so feared. A 5.