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The Guardship (The Brethren of the Coast #1)

3.98  ·  Rating Details ·  290 Ratings  ·  26 Reviews
Book One of the Brethren of the Coast trilogy, featuring Thomas Marlowe

With the bounty from his years as a pirate - a life he intends to renounce and keep forever secret - Thomas Marlowe purchases a fine Virginia plantation from a beautiful young widow, Elizabeth Tinling. Soon afterwards, while defending her honour, he kills the favourite son of one of the colony's most po
Published February 1st 2001 by Corgi (first published January 1st 2000)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Jul 14, 2013 Phillip rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I went into this novel with a pre-cemented love of all things pirates, particularly Captain Blood, by Raphael Sabatini. The only pirate novel that has disappointed me is Tim Powers' On Stranger Tides, which was confusing, slow at times, and too "other-worldly" for a pirate novel. Here, Nelson has concocted a group of characters are are all interesting and engaging, and thrust them into an adventurous tale of a man's desire to escape his villainous past and start over again in the New World. For ...more
Jun 18, 2016 Aeseyman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Oh, what a fun story! Swashbuckling pirates and ladies in distress, set in the English colony of Virginia at the start of the 18th century. Fully believable, relatable characters involved in a suspenseful story that kept my attention all the way through. I especially loved the description of the psychological warfare of vaporing employed by the pirates. No historical notes at the back of this book, unfortunately. And what's with the author's choice of names for his main characters' right-hand-m ...more
♞ Pat Gent
Aug 19, 2014 ♞ Pat Gent rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: series-1
This was a pretty fun, light romance, very swash-buckling adventure tale. Sort of formulaic, but a good read in spite of that.

I don't usually go for the adventure books, and almost never for the romances, but this one wasn't too sappy-drippy with the love story, and who doesn't love a pirate that is trying to remake himself into a gentleman?

I'll probably read the next book in the series, just because I want to see how things end up for Elizabeth and Marlowe.

T. Kozumplik
Jan 08, 2017 T. Kozumplik rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
another heave ho yo ho ho ripping yarn. Great swashbuckler!
Jun 27, 2010 Elron rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nautical-fiction
Entertaining nautical fiction, but practically a romance novel.
This is the first of James Nelson's three novel series entitled the Brethren of the Coast (a name given to pirates who worked the coast of the southern English colonies. The hero of the series is Thomas Marlowe, a wealthy individual who arrived in Williamsburg, the new capital of the colony of Virginia, just two years prior to the setting of this novel, which is 1701. Marlowe quickly entered the society of the colony, buying a tobacco plantation and setting himself as one of the wealthier plante ...more
Sep 14, 2011 Paul rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I like novels with heroes (not really the right word for Thomas Marlowe, but he is the main protagonist) with a dark history. I also can't resist a story which takes me to places I can't physically travel to, i.e. the past.
With The Guardship, James Nelson introduces the reader to a character filled with angst and turmoil, looking for a new start. Life doesn't work that way. Thomas's past catches up with him, much to his benefit, as he endeavours to defend his home colony from pirates who have mo
Jan 07, 2012 Hyeronimus rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Hyeronimus by: nessuno
Un bellissimo libro di avventure marinaresche!
Qui non c'è un'approfondita introspezione psicologica dei personaggi, ma l'azione è sempre protagonista, non c'è un attimo di tregua, non ci sono cadute di tensione, l'adrenalina è costantemente sopra il livello di guardia e costa fatica abbandonare la lettura.
Non ho ancora letto nessun libro di Patrick O'Brian, altro scrittore di avventure marinaresche, peraltro più famoso di Nelson, e non posso pertanto fare paragoni, ma posso affermare con sinceri
Jun 29, 2016 Alyse rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Though not my normal genre, but I was given this book due to my love of pirate lore and agreed to read it. Somewhere around word three, I was hooked, and I sucked the entirety of the book down during a week at the beach. I love Marlowe and his complicated conscious, LeRois and his tenuous grip on sanity, Bickerstaff and Middleton and Rakestraw and Elizabeth in their entirety. Beyond being captivated by the story, I found myself immersed in these characters' worlds and their ships. I cannot wait ...more
Steve Haywood
Jan 08, 2012 Steve Haywood rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A really rather good historical fiction novel set in colonial America (Virginia) around 1700. Easy to read, not too heavy on the detail it grips you from the outset and doesn't let up. Some reviewers describe this as maritime fiction, but the characters are on land as much as they are on ship which I found to be a good thing. Definitely recommend - I read all 450 pages in the space of 4 days which is as quick as I've read a book in a long time.
C J Wolfe
Jun 16, 2016 C J Wolfe rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a let's try someone new pick.. It's book one in the Brethren of the Coast series featuring Thomas Marlowe. It's a swashbuckling, bodice ripping adventure that takes place on land & sea. Some very interesting historical details about sailing, slavery, piracy, early Virginian laws, and society. Most of the characters are somewhat flawed & even at times a bit dodgy but very interesting nonetheless. Enjoyed it thoroughly! ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ of 5 ...more
Apr 26, 2009 Kevin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
In the early 18th Century, Thomas Marlowe fights a duel over a woman's honor and gains the enmity of a powerful family in Williamsburg, Virginia. He is awarded the captaincy of the guardship, a man-of-war defending Williamsburg against pirates.
This swashbuckling adventure should be next to "Treasure Island" on your shelf. Loved it! Loved it! Loved it!

Aug 25, 2010 Bonsaiforlife rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010, own, nautical
Pirates in Virginia. This book was full of adventure and surprises. Though its story was told more on land than on the open seas. There were a few interesting parts and it kept me reading. I enjoyed the book and will read the next one in the series. I did like the different view since this was based on privateers and the new america, very different than the normal HMS read.
Apr 14, 2013 Annie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not a Pulitzer contender but a really fun read that has tons of cross over appeal, colonial history, pirates, intrigue and just enough of a love story. I haven't been this entertained by just a good yarn in a long time. Smarter then most of the mind candy I run across. I am looking forward the next in the series. Well done James Nelson.
May 08, 2008 Jane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Are they pulitzer contestants? No, but I still love a good yarn about pirates. The Brethren trilogy satisfied my need for blackhearted, scurvy dogs that sailed the seven seas, or in this case a gentrified one trying to make his peace on land. But we all know that plot conivance won't last for long.
christina moore
Feb 26, 2007 christina moore rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Historical Fiction Readers
James Nelson carried the genre of nautical historical fiction to the shores of the United States. Instead of reading about the early history of US history from the Brits, I can now enjoy a new perspective.

Jim's knowledge and experience absolutely shine in his work.
Dec 23, 2014 Eric rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was an immensely entertaining story of a man who captains the Plymouth Prize which patrols the coast for pirates. He gets involved in a damsel in distress, insane pirates and rather nasty plantation owners.
Mar 02, 2012 Jack rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great book, especially fun because it takes place in Colonial Williamsburg.
Dewayne Stark
Ships and naval guns
Mark Mekkes
Feb 14, 2016 Mark Mekkes rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adventure
There aren't a lot of great, swashbuckling pirate adventures, but this is certainly one of them. I'm eager to read the rest of the series!
The Guardship: Book One of the Brethren of the Coast by James L. Nelson (2000)
Steve Goble
This was a pretty good swashbuckling romp.
Elise Williams
May 07, 2011 Elise Williams rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was my first James Nelson book and I found it fast paced and exciting. This is book 1 of his Thomas Marlowe series of pirate books.
Scott Christmas
Scott Christmas rated it it was amazing
Nov 07, 2011
E.W. rated it it was amazing
Apr 16, 2012
Sara rated it really liked it
Feb 21, 2013
Capt-john rated it it was amazing
Jan 06, 2016
Graham rated it it was amazing
Mar 06, 2012
Geoffrey rated it really liked it
Apr 13, 2012
Christopher rated it liked it
Nov 06, 2013
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James L. Nelson (1962-) is an American historical nautical novelist. He was born in Lewiston, Maine. In 1980, Nelson graduated from Lewiston High School. Nelson attended the University of Massachusetts, Amherst for two years, and then transferred to UCLA, with the ambition of becoming a film director. Nelson, his wife, Lisa, and their daughter Betsy lived for two years in Steubenville, Ohio, while ...more
More about James L. Nelson...

Other Books in the Series

The Brethren of the Coast (3 books)
  • The Blackbirder (Thomas Marlowe, #2)
  • The Pirate Round (Thomas Marlowe, #3)

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