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Corsair (Hector Lynch #1)

3.39 of 5 stars 3.39  ·  rating details  ·  323 ratings  ·  38 reviews
1677, on a late summer’s evening two ships lurk off the coast of southwest Ireland. They are Barbary corsairs from North Africa, slave catchers. As soon as it is dark, their landing parties row ashore to raid a small fishing village - on the hunt for fresh prey . . .

In the village, seventeen-year-old Hector Lynch wakes to the sound of a pistol shot. Moments later he and hi
Hardcover, 347 pages
Published June 1st 2007 by MacMillan (first published May 22nd 2007)
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Nick Brett
Other reviewers have pointed this out, but Corsair is an unusual historical novel. The norm is to have a story set in a historical period which provides an engaging backdrop to the narrative. Here the narrative seems to take second place to excessive information about the era. The balance just doesn’t work.

The hero of the story is Hector Lynch, an Irishman taken as a teen by slavers. He is both too clever and too lucky, each time he gets himself into a situation there is an easy out, and he also
What a miserable disappointment.
I want to leave a review of this book, but I am afraid that what I have to say is 100% negative and who wants to give or receive so many negatives in their life? Not me, and probably not you.
All I'll say is that this book didn't appeal to me and I gave up on it with only 100 pages to go. I rarely give up with so little to go.
And in with one comment, I say a thousand words.
Ireland, 1677. Hector Lynch and his sister Elizabeth are kidnapped by corsairs. Hector is separated from his sister and sold into slavery. Corsair is the story of his adventures and his quest to discover what happened to his sister.

I listened to the audio version of this book, read by Rupert Farley, who is easily the best narrator I have had the pleasure of listening to. This book had so many character accents: Irish, English, French, Turkish, Spanish, and he did them flawlessly. While I enjoye
Martin Belcher
Set in the late 1670's and early 1680's, Corsair is real adventure tale set on the high seas, the Mediterranean, North Africa, deserts and coast. Wonderfully descriptive, full of adventure, intrigue, history, pain, suffering and joy. Hector Lynch the hero and main protagonist of the the story lives in a small isolated Irish village and his life is quite uneventful until one fearful night the village is raided by Barbary corsairs and Hector and his sister and a group of young men and women from t ...more
Corsair is a series of events without much character development. By the time I got to the end, I didn't care what happened to the hero, or any other character.
I found it hard to rate this book as I have been, since my first addiction to books, a lover of historical fiction. As such I think that maybe I have come to expect a higher standard from this genre than any other; comparing them to those who so inspired me to read - Cornwall, Scarrow et. al. As a result I am torn between giving two stars or three, and thus this two stars is actually a 2.5 Stars .

I put this "low" rating down to the plot line and the characterisation. The plot was not bad, and
Jorgen Schäfer
Tim Severin’s Corsair starts out with a raid by a Turkish slave trader on a city at the Atlantic coast of Ireland, where Hector Lynch and his sister Elizabeth are taken prisoner and brought to the Africa to be sold as slaves. Before they arrive, though, they are separated, and Hector starts on a long journey to find his sister.

The book is set in the 16th century and is able to both draw the reader into a fascinating and fast-paced story, as well as to relay a very accurate historical view of tho
John Speight
I was rather dissapointed in this book after reading the Viking series that came before. While those had vikings actually going a viking, Corsair actually has almost no piracy in it aside from the opening raid and a few pages of drifting in the Mediterranean. Mostly its actually about how Hector is now a slave, but so very many people just look at him and decide that he is just so frikken cool and they need to be really nice to him and totally undermine the whole slave experience. The author see ...more
A little bit Enid Blyton I'm afraid, with innocent and young Hector and his new black friend, both in a spot of bother with pirates and slavers. Gets better towards the end.
As much as I complained about Severin writing the Viking series in the first person, I think he should have stuck to it, third person is a awkward and confusing in this book.
This book was really disappointing - the story and pacing was very slooooow, the main protagonist was under-developed and not a particularly interesting character, and the ending was extremely lack-luster.

It was also VERY annoying that the main character, Hector Lynch, always managed to find someone who could help him out of whatever predicament he and his companions were in, so he was never really in that much trouble and there was never any real drama. Also the whole resolving of Hector findi
I found this in a charity shop. I think it would probably appeal more to me if I was a bit younger, as it's that kind of rollicking adventure that appeals to us so much more as teenage boys, especially since the hero of the story is a teenage lad himself. However, since I'm willing to admit that my guilty pleasure is cheesy adventure novels almost exactly like this (Wilbur Smith and Clive Cussler for example) I thought this was a great find. As a big history buff, the research and attention to p ...more
Si hay algo que reconocer de Severin es su apego a la historia y su capacidad de tramar una historia manteniéndola enlazada. No es la historia en general, sino los detalles, las anécdotas y hasta las curiosidades. Ya iremos por "Buccanner" y "Sea Robber"
Set in the 1670s, the hero Hector is kidnapped from County Cork by pirates and becomes a slave in what now would be Algeria and so begin his adventures. This book is excellent, Severin is an accomplished sailor so there's lots of detail about day to day life on the sea. A lot of the characters in the book actually existed and I really enjoyed the author's observations of Irish society which was very divided at the time and his presentation of the 2 superpowers of the time in "The Eternal War" (c ...more
After a promising start thanks to an interesting character -- an elderly Ottoman admiral in Algiers -- the story becomes increasingly improbable, cliché-driven, and, ultimately, boring.
not terrible, but a bit like a meal that needed more courses, more pan ache, more .... just more really. this had so much potential with interesting characters but the plot was hum drum and a bit predictable. I found myself being able to guess successfully what was going to happen well in advance, and that even little humble me could have made this more interesting. as a record of history, tim severin obviously did his research but lacked the spark to make something magical out of it. Some books ...more
Gary Pellis
Tend to agree with a lot of the comments here. Corsair didn't really want me to read more however I do have the second Buccaneer and am finding this one better so far.

Too much historical babble and not enough story development. The story continues to jump and not enough building of what is going on around Hector.

First he is a captive and turned into a slave then he is becoming a Muslim within a chapter. This should have been fleshed out more Asti is a big life changing decision to make. Hector t
Il classico romanzo d'avventura, non brutto, scorrevole e piacevole ma senza troppa incisività.
Tim Severin provides a lot of information about early pirates and Muslim culture with this book. Unfortunately, every character in it is wooden and uninteresting. The protagonist has the rare luck of encountering nothing but people who are willing to help him at every turn. In fact, they are all cardboard cutouts of each other. All are willing to help Henry and explain why and how things need to be done. Not much fun from a reader's viewpoint. The action is quite good however and the author's kn ...more
Corsair is a ripping yarn in the best swashbuckling tradition, however the details that Severin weaves into the tale provide a fascinatingly different perspective on the 17th century, one that is more centered on the North African and Islamic world in both location and outlook.

Actually listened to this from; the reading is brilliantly delivered by Rupert Farley. Highly recommended.

More on this and hand drawn maps(!) at
Our hotel in St. Lucia has a collection of books that travelers have left behind, and I picked this one up when I needed something to read. It was a perfect vacation book, fun and action-packed without being dumb or too poorly-written. Severin clearly did a ton of historical research, and his depiction of the seventeenth-century world of the Mediterranean is interesting and richly detailed. Sometimes a little too detailed, but overall it's a fun ride and you might just learn a little something a ...more
I hadn't read anything by this author and knew nothing about Barbary pirates so I started reading with enthusiasm. The book took me sometime to get into. The first half didn't get me hooked and I was very slow going. It was very interesting factually but the pace was quite slow. When I got to the second half in Morocco I couldn't put the book down and enjoyed it much more! Not sure I will read any more of the adventures of Hector Lynch but this was enjoyable once I persevered and got into it.
I enjoyed reading all about Hector's adventures; history is so much more lively when described in fiction like this than in dry history books.
Martin Gehling
First book in series about young Hector Lynch that gets kidnapped from Ireland and put into slavery in Algeria/Morocco. Working his way out of slavery and trying to escape.
Historical fiction ca. 17th century.
Lots of action but a little thin on the emotional landscape.
Tim Corke
A charming historical tale about Hector Lynch; an Irish citizen kidnapped from his own village by a Barbary corsair. Hector's adventure focusses on his goal of being reunited from his sister, also captured, but on the way bounds from empire to empire with his band of merry men. A great compromise between easy reading and something with a bit of bite.
Superdave Klapwyk
Too much historical info and not enough character development. After reading I know almost nothing about the main character's personality, likes or strengths. I know more about his friends, who seem to be a lot more interesting. By the end I really could care less if Hector Lynch dies, as long as maybe one of his friends continued the story.
Phew! It took me forever to finish this novel of sea-swept slave and pirate adventure! Admittedly it took me ages to get into, but once I did I began to feel like the epic should on much longer. It's a great book for travelling in the mentalscape -- action takes place from Ireland to Turkey to Africa and beyond... Thx Clodagh :)
Pippi Bluestocking
Severin knows a lot about ships but adding all of these into his book gets tiring. I loved his depiction of the historical era, it was fairly accurate and interesting. Characters and plot though were a bit static. It's like a historic adventure pulp, with lots of ships. I liked it, but I would prefer this as a movie.
Background is interesting. The action is set in the late 1600s when the hero is snatched from a small village in Ireland by corsairs and taken into slavery in Algiers. However, his adventures thereafter - he is subsequently enslaved by christian zealots because he became a renegade- are all a bit much.
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Tim Severin is a British explorer, historian and writer. Severin is noted for his work in retracing the legendary journeys of historical figures. Severin was awarded both the Gold Medal of the Royal Geographical Society and the Livingstone Medal of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society. He received the Thomas Cook Travel Book Award for his 1982 book The Sindbad Voyage.

He was born Timothy Severin
More about Tim Severin...

Other Books in the Series

Hector Lynch (4 books)
  • Buccaneer (Hector Lynch, #2)
  • Sea Robber (Hector Lynch, #3)
  • PIRATE: Privateer (Hector Lynch, #4)

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