The Black Count by Tom Reiss

The Black Count by Tom Reiss

The Black Count: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, and the Real Count of Monte Cristo

by Tom Reiss

Here is the remarkable true story of the real Count of Monte Cristo—a stunning feat of historical sleuthing that brings to life the forgotten hero who inspired such classics as The Count of Monte Cristo and The Three Musketeers.

The real-life protagonist of The Black Count, General Alex Dumas, is a man almost unknown today yet with a story that is strikingly familiar, because his son, the novelist Alexandre Dumas, used it to create some of the best loved heroes of literature.

Yet, hidden behind these swashbuckling adventures was an even more incredible secret: the real hero was the son of a black slave—who rose higher in the white world than any man of his race would before our own time.

Born in Saint-Domingue (now Haiti), Alex Dumas was briefly sold into bondage but made his way to Paris where he was schooled as a sword-fighting member of the French aristocracy. Enlisting as a private, he rose to command armies at the height of the Revolution, in an audacious campaign across Europe and the Middle East—until he met an implacable enemy he could not defeat.

The Black Count is simultaneously a riveting adventure story, a lushly textured evocation of 18th-century France, and a window into the modern world’s first multi-racial society. But it is also a heartbreaking story of the enduring bonds of love between a father and son.

If a Pirate I Must Be… by Richard Sanders

If a Pirate I Must Be… by Richard Sanders

If a Pirate I Must Be...: The True Story of Black Bart, King of the Caribbean Pirates

by Richard Sanders

In a page-turning tale brimming with adventure, author Richard Sanders tells of the remarkable exploits of Bartholomew Roberts (better known as Black Bart), the greatest of the Caribbean pirates. He drank tea instead of rum. He banned women and gambling on his ships. He never made his prisoners walk the plank, instead inviting them into his cabin for a friendly chat. And during the course of his extraordinary two-and-a-half-year career as a pirate captain, he captured four hundred prizes and brought trade in the eastern Caribbean to a standstill.

In If a Pirate I Must Be…, Richard Sanders tells the larger-than-life story of Bartholomew Roberts, aka Black Bart. Born in a rural town, Roberts rose from third mate on a slave ship to pirate captain in a matter of months. Before long, his combination of audaciousness and cunning won him fame and fortune from the fisheries of Newfoundland to the slave ports of West Africa. Sanders brings to life a fascinating world of theater and ritual, where men (a third of whom were black) lived a close-knit, egalitarian life, democratically electing their officers and sharing their spoils. They were highly (if surreptitiously) popular with many merchants, with whom they struck incredibly lucrative deals. Yet with a fierce team of Royal Navy pirate hunters tracking his every move, Roberts’ heyday would prove a brief one, and with his capture, the Golden Age of pirates would pass into the lore and legend of books and movies. Based on historical records, journals and letters from pirates under Roberts’ command, and on writings by Roberts himself, If a Pirate I Must Be… is the true story of the greatest pirate ever to sail the Caribbean.

Into the Silence by Wade Davis

Into the Silence by Wade Davis

Into the Silence: The Great War, Mallory, and the Conquest of Everest

by Wade Davis

A magnificent work of history, biography, and adventure.

If the quest for Mount Everest began as a grand imperial gesture, as redemption for an empire of explorers that had lost the race to the Poles, it ended as a mission of regeneration for a country and a people bled white by war. Of the twenty-six British climbers who, on three expeditions (1921-24), walked 400 miles off the map to find and assault the highest mountain on Earth, twenty had seen the worst of the fighting. Six had been severely wounded, two others nearly died of disease at the Front, one was hospitalized twice with shell shock. Three as army surgeons dealt for the duration with the agonies of the dying. Two lost brothers, killed in action. All had endured the slaughter, the coughing of the guns, the bones and barbed wire, the white faces of the dead.

In a monumental work of history and adventure, ten years in the writing, Wade Davis asks not whether George Mallory was the first to reach the summit of Everest, but rather why he kept on climbing on that fateful day. His answer lies in a single phrase uttered by one of the survivors as they retreated from the mountain: “The price of life is death.” Mallory walked on because for him, as for all of his generation, death was but “a frail barrier that men crossed, smiling and gallant, every day.” As climbers they accepted a degree of risk unimaginable before the war. They were not cavalier, but death was no stranger. They had seen so much of it that it had no hold on them. What mattered was how one lived, the moments of being alive.

For all of them Everest had become an exalted radiance, a sentinel in the sky, a symbol of hope in a world gone mad.

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