I have to admit, that I wasn't really sure what to expect from this book before I started it. I quite like historic fiction and although the Elizabethan era is one that I've studied, I haven't read much fiction set in that period. I was quite keen to give the Butcher's Daughter a go.
The Butcher's Daughter
In an age ruled by iron men, in a world of new discovery and Spanish gold, a young Irishwoman named Mary rises from the ashes of her broken childhood with ships and men-at-arms under her command. She and her loyal crew prowl the Caribbean and prosper in the New World for a time until the ugly past Mary has fled from in the old one finds her.
Across the great ocean to the east, war is coming. The King of Spain is assembling the most powerful armada the world has ever seen – an enormous beast – to invade England and depose the Protestant “heretic queen.” To have any chance against the wealth and might of Spain, England will need every warship, she will need every able captain. To this purpose, Queen Elizabeth spares Mary from the headman’s axe for past sins in exchange for her loyalty, her ships and men.
Based on true historical events, this is an epic story about war, adventure, love and betrayal. This is a timeless story about vengeance. This is a tale of heartbreak…
I think I had perhaps better start by saying that this book opens with a rape scene. It isn't a particularly graphic rape scene, but it's always worth having a bit of a warning for people who might be effected by it. Mary, the Butcher's Daughter of the title, finds herself in command of her own ship and loyal crew. Despite being a woman in a man's world, at a time when many women didn't hold such roles, Mary has their respect and they follow her.
Mary starts to earn her fortune by smuggling, at first around Ireland, but after a run in with a powerful family who are out for Mary for revenge, she moves over to the Caribbean, trading with the Spaniards and other nations that are building the New World over there.
In all honesty, I didn't know how I would get on with a novel about ships and the sea, but I really enjoyed this. It was exciting and interesting and I was looking forward to finding out what was going to happen to Mary and her crew. I thought that the book had a really good feel of the time, I could believe that the characters were of the period. I would really recommend this book, if you're after a read with a bit of excitement and adventure.