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At Drake's Command

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  91 ratings  ·  33 reviews
It was as fine a day to be whipped as any he’d ever seen but the good weather didn’t make Peregrine James any happier with the situation he was in. Unfairly convicted of a crime he had not committed, the young cook was strung from the whipping post on the Plymouth quay side when he caught the eye of Francis Drake and managed to convince the charismatic sea captain to accep ...more
Paperback, 424 pages
Published November 15th 2012 by Temurlone Press
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3.95  · 
Rating details
 ·  91 ratings  ·  33 reviews

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Dec 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
This is a beautiful, beautiful novel. I must admit I was a bit hesitant reading it since it's a “modern” book and I'm more accustomed with classics. I also am not really familiar with Drake except with his reputation as excellent captain and renown pirate. But, I read it all the same, because I am fond of sea adventures.

It's the story of Peregrine James, or called Perry James, a cook from Plymouth. After having been sentenced for stealing, he joins the Pelican, one of Drake's ship in his famous
Meg - A Bookish Affair
Nov 11, 2012 rated it really liked it
"At Drake's Command" is a fascinating Historical Fiction novel about the infamous sea captain Francis Drake. I had never read a fictional book about Drake so I was very interested to see Hill's take on Francis Drake. I think the captain and his life as well as his various expeditions are fascinating. Told from the perspective of Peregrine James, a young cook that begs to become part of Drake's command after being accused of a crime that he did not commit, this book is a fascinating look at the l ...more
May 24, 2013 rated it really liked it
I have to say this is one of the best pieces of nautical historical fiction I have read. I wish I could have read this before the C.S. Forester, or Patrick O'Brien novels, not least because the book takes place some three hundred years prior to the Napoleonic Wars. The way in which the technology and terminology are explained to the reader is the best I have ever seen, it would have saved me quite a bit of research regarding the parts of sailing ships, and their function. The research for this b ...more
Dec 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I love historical fiction and really enjoyed this book. The main character is Peregrine James, a 20-year-old cook who gets into trouble over a girl, endures a whipping for a crime he didn’t commit, and ends up signing on to work for Francis Drake as an assistant to the ship’s cook. Perry knows nothing about exploration or sailing, but soon learns that on a ship, everyone’s expected to help with everything.

The writing is really detailed, especially the attention paid to geography and shipboard l
Larry B Gray
Feb 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
One of my favorite historical characters was Sir Francis Drake. David Wesley Hill, in his book At Drake’s Command, has captured the spirit of adventure to sail under Drake’s command at sea. This is an excellent historical fiction with plenty of action and adventure.

The storyline is based loosely on the actual records of Drake’s voyages and this adds to the realism of the story. The story is well defined and easy to follow. The various twist and turns in story make the adventure more exciting. I
Sep 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I had the chance to review this book before it came out, and I really enjoyed it. You can read my full review here:
Lord Horatio Hornblower
Nov 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
Can hardly wait to get the book, I read the excerpt, and as usual it stops at an exciting moment!

Just finished reading the book!!!! Very suspenseful ending. I can hardly wait for the next book
David Hill
Aug 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
Being the author of At Drake's Command, I am, of course, biased as to its qualities. However, I believe I can safely assure you that it's an entertaining story and a book well worth reading.
Jan 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing

Book Review of At Drake's Command by David Wesley Hill

"About the Book
It was as fine a day to be whipped as any he'd ever seen but the good weather didn't make Peregrine James any happier with the situation he was in. Unfairly convicted of a crime he had not committed, the young cook was strung from the whipping post on the Plymouth quayside when he caught the eye of the charismatic sea captain Francis Drake, who agreed to accept Perry among his crew despite
Jun 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
At Drake’s Command: The Adventures of Peregrine James During the Second Circumnavigation of the World, written by David Wesley Hill, was an enjoyable and extremely satisfying read. Although Amazon indicates a print length of 426 pages for the book, it went much quicker than I expected. I read an average of 50 pages an hour when I’m focused, and this novel took me somewhere between 4-5 hours to read. Overall, it left me wanting more, but it didn’t leave me with a feeling that the story was incomp ...more
Feb 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
At Drake’s Command, by David Wesley Hill, is a godsend to readers just embarking on maritime historical fiction or those boggled by Patrick O’Brien’s rich nautical vocabulary.

By making the narrator of his novel the young son of an innkeeper, innocent of all matters regarding the sea and learning at a leisurely pace, the reader is brought comfortably into the world of Elizabethan seamanship without the constant need of a diagram or a specialized dictionary. And there is quite sufficient action an
Sandra Stiles
Mar 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
For those of you who love historical fiction this just might be the book for you. David Wesley Hill has created a character that is very believable. Young Perry James is found at the beginning of the book tied to a whipping post, preparing to be whipped for a crime of which he was innocent. He convinces Sir Francis Drake to take him onboard as a cooks helper. From this point on the adventures for young Perry grow. As the adventures grow we see him mature and grow. The use of metaphors helps pain ...more
Jun 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
So as a fan of historical fiction i was searching for a juicy story that would pull me into the world of one of history most famous commanders, Sir Francis Drake. I wanted something modern and not bound by details of names and dates or too long winded on old writings..
This book is perfect for anyone who likes adventure story's that bring you into the old world in a fun, funny, ride along way. Characters are written very well and you get to know the crew in a familiar way. The places and details
Eric Wright
The Adventures of Peregrine James during the Second Circumnavigation of the World. Peregrine James, fleeing Plymouth, makes an interesting character who tells the story of joins Francis Drake's fleet as a cook's helper. The early parts of the book are overly full of sailing description and low on plot. However, the book is interesting in its depiction of the era, the animosity between Britain and Spain/Portugal--the papists, the challenges of sailing during that period. For my taste there is too ...more
Apr 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Enjoyable read of life at sea!

Because he is a young man and new to sailing and the sea, I loved following the main character, Perry, on his various adventures and learning about a sailor's life and survival during the 1500's.

There's a batch of colorful characters as most sea tales include which make for interesting encounters. How Perry handles himself and lessons he learns in dealings were quite amusing at times.
Sep 21, 2013 rated it really liked it
If you love a sailing yarn and high adventure, you will enjoy this book. I look forward to the sequel entitled Desperate Bankrupt. While it was advertised as Vol. 1, I was disappointed to be left dangling and waiting for Vol. 2. Let's hope that Hill writes it.
Aug 19, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I expected this book to be a bit dry, but it was actually quite engaging. The story was compelling and I enjoyed the historical references. My only disappointment was getting to the end and discovering that the next book is not out yet!
Sep 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I have added my review at
Jul 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book and am looking forward to the next installment of the story.
The Idle Woman
David Wesley Hill’s novel is the first in a planned series, which follows Francis Drake’s circumnavigation of the world through the eyes of the young cook and crew-member Peregrine James. We first meet Perry in Plymouth in November 1577, where he is being publicly whipped for a theft he didn’t commit. Determined to make a better life for himself, he talks his way onto the crew of the Pelican, which under the command of Francis Drake is said to be heading off on a trading voyage to Alexandria. Th ...more
Harold Titus
Oct 09, 2013 rated it liked it
I did not particularly care for David Wesley Hill’s historical novel “At Drake’s Command.” I liked certain aspects of the book, but the farther I got into the book the more annoyed I became with what I considered to be its major flaw – believability.

The story is told by Peregrine James, a fictitious character. He is the twenty-year-old son of deceased parents, owners, and operators of a popular Plymouth tavern. Peregrine learned to cook from his mother and was employed as such by the tavern’s ne
Sep 29, 2012 rated it liked it
When I read the synopsis for At Drake's Command it immediately appealed to me for one major reason: this is the sort of book my dad used to read to me when I was little; a rousing naval adventure, preferably set in the past, with scurvy sea dogs, ship wrecks, pirates and the exotic vista's of lands as yet undiscovered. I've often professed my love for De Scheepsjongens van Bontekoe (Bontekoe's Ship's Boys) by Johan Fabricius, which is set in the time of the Dutch East India Company, but he also ...more
Sep 09, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: lit-general
This nautical adventure is the first chronicle of Peregrine James's adventures as a part of Sir Francis Drake's crew. The book reads like one of the early Horatio Hornblower novels, with an earnest and resourceful young man proving his worth to his superiors, but rather than a promising young midshipman, James acts as the ship's cook. This provides an interesting perspective on the events to follow.

This book is well-grounded in history, taking place on a historical expedition full of real, named
Last Ranger

Disappointing Voyage.

This book was offered to me by the author for free download in exchange for a fair review. The book promised to be a good one based on my interest in historical non-fiction so I accepted the offer. But my enthusiasm was short lived. I began to get impatient with the narrative early on but stuck with it so I could do the review. The narrator of the story is Peregrine (Perry) James who finds himself employed as a cook on a voyage of exploration under the command of Francis Dra
Jan 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is the rousing tale of the high seas adventure of young Peregrine James, newly assigned to Sir Francis Drake's crew during his second circumnavigation of the world. Based on actual facts, David Hill has given us a glimpse into life as it was led when to rule the seas meant ruling the world. Peregrine's youth and sense of discovery gives us a fresh perspective and adds excitement to the fast paced plot that is filled with intrigue. While I love lots of details, this is not a Patrick O'Brien ...more
Bill Thibadeau
Aug 19, 2014 rated it really liked it
This book is supposedly a historical fiction story as seen through the eyes of a fictional character. Perhaps a unique approach but it does work. The story is well written with compelling characters.

However, the story is not really about Drake. It is an adventure story about his neophyte landlubber cook. The escapades of the cook stretch reality a bit but hover on the plausible.

There is no ending per se. Obviously this is part one of the Peregrine James series. Overall it is a decent and above a
L.   (Nails, Hair, Hips, Heels - I Got None)
Aug 08, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Young readers just getting started in historical fiction
Shelves: historical, adventure
An amiable, light HF. More suitable for a YA audience. Perry James needs to get out of town fast so signs on with the legendary Francis Drake. Too bad it takes nearly 1/3 of the book before Drake actually leaves English waters, but anyway... As an assistant cook onboard Perry must prove his worth, learn the naval way of life, and survive several minor adventures (including abduction, hanging, and a cook-off) before the cliff-hanger ending that author David Wesley Hill hopes will compel you to re ...more
Aug 08, 2013 rated it did not like it
This both looked and sounded like a good book. It in fact gave every intention of being so. Even the opening line was so well written I read on with expectation...only to find too many curse words, characters of questionable morality (especially that of a woman). But the "straw that broke the camel's back" was a conversation with a terrible sexual comment. I read no further. All of the above was only contained in the first chapter - not even that, for I didn't even get through the first chapter ...more
Tom Williams
Jun 25, 2013 rated it liked it
I loved this book. I found the historical detail very credible and the imagined adventures of our hero kept me turning the pages. The story was well written and well presented and deserved four or five stars. So why three? Because it's not finished. It ends on a cliff hanger.

This is an increasing trend and it drives me nuts. If you sell me a book, I expect a beginning, a middle and an end. Not the first third or so, with a clear promise of more to come.
Nov 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
While I'm biased because this was written by my brother, I'm his audience -- I read historical novels pretty regularly. And frankly, good ones are few and far between. This is an excellent one. It is about a ship's boy aboard Drake's ship and his experiences and mishaps and adventures on the voyage. It was meticulously researched, and because my brother was a chef, the food descriptions are particularly 'juicy'. The first novel in a three-part series. Highly recommend it!
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Madison Mega-Mara...: "At Drake's Command" by David Wesley Hill 1 1 Nov 26, 2013 06:19PM  

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David Wesley Hill is an award-winning fiction writer with more than thirty stories published in the U.S. and internationally. In 1997 he was presented with the Golden Bridge award at the International Conference on Science Fiction in Beijing, and in 1999 he placed second in the Writers of the Future contest. In 2007, 2009, and 2011 Mr. Hill was awarded residencies at the Blue Mountain Center, a wr ...more