18th century -- fiction

The Requiem Shark

By Nicholas Griffin

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"The Year is 1719. The Golden Age of Piracy is about to end.

"Based on the last voyage of the most successful captain in the history of piracy, The Requiem Shark is the tale of a young recruit, William Williams, and his forced apprenticeship to Bartholomew Roberts, slaver turned pirate captain. Acting as biographer to the captain and fiddler to the crew, Williams sails from West Africa to the Caribbean, recording their conflicts with the mariners, merchants, whores and tribes who populate the ends of the known world.

"Held together by greed and the desire for independence, the crew sways between treachery and allegiance, violence and dreams of redemption as they quest for the Juliette, a treasure ship so wealthy its capture will guarantee all their fortunes."

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The Sweet Trade

By Elizabeth Garrett

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Anne Bonny, a pampered Southern belle, hungers for a life more exciting and dangerous than she knows keeping her father's household together. When she convinces a hapless sailor boy to marry her and take her to Nassau, that seething cauldron of piracy, prostitution and all things wicked, she alters the course of her life forever. . .

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The Silver Touch by Rosalind Laker

This book started to take form when an 18th-century silver spoon washed up on the beach near author Rosalind Laker’s home. It bore the proud mark of a London silversmith—a woman silversmith by the name of Hester Bateman. Fired with curiosity, Ms. Laker researched the fascinating Bateman family. During the Georgian period, the Batemans rose from potential ruin to being leading craftsmen who were known to have that elusive Silver Touch that marks a master workman.

In creating her book—which is equal parts romance and historical novel—the author took the bones of what was known about Hester Bateman and fleshed them out into a passionate story that is rooted in the solid, workaday world of the English craftsmen. 
The woman silversmith begins life as Hester Needham, an orphan of twelve years who is taken in by her uncle and his shrewish wife. For half a dozen years, the pretty girl waits tables at their London tavern. She is careful not to entangle her heart until the day she meets handsome John Bateman. An apprentice goldsmith, he has many months to run on his contract before he can be a free man and do as he pleases.

The King's Coat

By Dewey Lambdin

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In 1780, 17-year-old Alan Lewrie is rebellious and close to being a libertine, so much so that his father believes a bit of naval discipline will turn the boy around. Fresh aboard the king's ship ARIADNE, Midshipman Lewrie heads for the war-torn Americas, finding - rather unexpectedly - that he is a born sailor, equally at home on bawdy shore leave or afloat and in battle at sea.
First of a series.

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The Devil's Own Luck

By David Donachie

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In 1793, privateer Harry Ludlow finds himself aboard the navy's 74-gun Magnanime, with his younger brother James. In command is Oliver Carter, a captain with whom Harry has an unfortunate history. When James is found standing over the body of a dead officer, Harry's feud shifts into the background. But dark secrets start to surface on all sides.
First of the Privateersman series.

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Midshipman Bolitho

By Alexander Kent

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Two novels in one: young Bolitho joins the Gorgon and battles pirates off the coast of Africa; at home, he helps clear the Cornwall coast of smugglers.
Book 1 of the Richard Bolitho novels.

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Kydd: A Novel

By Julian Stockwin

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Thomas Paine Kydd, a young wig-maker from Guildford, is seized and taken across the country to be part of the crew of the ninety-eight-gun line-of-battle ship Duke William. The ship sails immediately and Kydd has to learn the harsh realities of shipboard life fast. First of a series.

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By James A. Michener

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In this epic, the Chesapeake Bay region gets Michener's novel treatment. From Indians to religious pilgrims, from pirates to slave holders, from Quakers to desperate Irish immigrants, the people come in and make their mark on the windy marshes and tidal basins of the Chesapeake Bay.

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The Robber Bridegroom by Eudora Welty

Eudora Welty, a Pulitzer Prize-winning writer hailing from Mississippi’s Delta region, authored The Robber Bridegroom, a steamy and chaotic story set during her home state’s antebellum years. Although loosely based on a fairy tale collected by the Brothers Grimm, this Robber Bridegroom is no murderous Bluebeard. Jamie Lockhart is, however, a handsome scoundrel with no more compunction against relieving pretty ladies of their virtue than their jewels. He meets his match in beautiful Rosamond Musgrove, who goes on everyday errands wearing her one silk gown while singing love ballads.

The Robber Bridegroom is the kind of yarn that gifted story-spinners can make out of loose threads of myth and folk tale wound together with a peculiar variety of language-rich Southern humor. She somehow binds together a jealous and mildly-murderous stepmother, a band of untrustworthy robbers (imagine that!), true love—with flaws, and raucous Mike Fink, legendary bully and “King of the Keel-boaters.”  The story is larger than life—a fantasy, really—and made it onto the Broadway stage as a musical in the 1970s. It’s still showing on the playbills of colleges and dinner theaters around the country.

The Devil's Company by David Liss

Benjamin Weaver, retired prize fighter and now professional thief-taker, is back in action on the streets of 18th-century London. What seemed a simple job—cheating a card cheat—turns nightmarish when Weaver discovers he’s the one who has been rooked in David Liss' The Devil’s Company. The mysterious and wealthy Mr. Jerome Cobb has a very dangerous plan in which Weaver is an essential player. His physical skills, intelligence, connections, and indeed his very character are necessary to make the plan a success.

No one else will do, and in order to secure his cooperation, Cobb and his cronies have drawn a diabolical net around those Weaver holds dear. The Devil's Company referred to in the title is none other than the terrifically wealthy East India Trading Company. Their near monopoly on imports of tea, fabrics, and other luxury items began more than 100 years before this story opens in 1722, and it is this fortress-like institution that Weaver must infiltrate.