Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Black Caesar's Clan : A Florida Mystery Story

If you follow my @jshbookclub account on Twitter, you're already aware that I regularly highlight old, musty, dusty, forgotten books from the Project Gutenberg site. I was surfing its cobwebbed corridors today and made a nice find - it's Black Caesar's Clan : A Florida Mystery Story by Albert Payson Terhune.

Now, Black Caesar, you may recall, is a legendary Florida figure who was one of the very first subjects discussed here when I started this blog in the summer of 2013.

(To recap, Black Caesar was an 18th-century African pirate who served as one of Blackbeard's right-hand-men aboard the pirate ship Queen Anne's Revenge. Caesar was one of the surviving members of Blackbeard's crew following his Captain's death during battle in 1718, although his loyalty to Blackbeard in the end proved his undoing. Exciting as his legendary exploits are, he wasn't one of the nicer pirates. Some accounts tell of a harem of at least 100 women which he kept on an island called Caesar's Rock. He allegedly left the island to go out a-pirating, got held up in traffic, and many of his prisoners starved to death.)

Terhune's book was published in 1922, and makes for some swift, action-packed reading. Sure enough, Caesar's Rock figures into the story, and if you have even the slightest enthusiasm for pirate lore and/or Florida quasi-history I suggest you check it out.

I love the conclusion to his foreword, which is such a succinct presentation of the JSH Book Club philosophy I think I'm going to steal it:

Understand, please, that this book is rank melodrama. It has scant literary quality. It is not planned to edify. Its only mission is to entertain you and,—if you belong to the action-loving majority, to give you an occasional thrill.

Perhaps you will like it. Perhaps you will not. But I do not think you will go to sleep over it.

Terhune, pictured above, is often confused by people as being the creator of Lassie; in fact, he authored a series of novels about a collie named Lad.

No comments:

Post a Comment