Thieves of Mercy: A Novel of the Civil War at Sea

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Harper Collins, Oct 13, 2009 - Fiction - 480 pages
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Having survived the bloody Battle of New Orleans and the loss of their ironclad Yazoo River, captain Samuel Bowater, engineer Hieronymus Taylor, and the survivors of their crew are given new orders -- take command of an ironclad warship being built in Memphis, Tennessee.

Bowater and his men take passage upriver from "Mississippi" Mike Sullivan, one of the wild, undisciplined captains of the River Defense Squadron, only to find, on their arrival, that their ship is not even half built and the enemy is closing fast.

Against their better judgment, Bowater and crew join forces with the mercurial Sullivan on board his ad hoc river gunship the General Page. Outnumbered and outgunned, the Confederates once again fling themselves bravely at the overwhelming power of the Yankee invaders. The deadly back-and-forth fight along the Mississippi ends at last in the massive naval battle of Memphis, and the near-suicidal attempt by the Confederates to hold back the Northern flood.

Filled with wild characters and heart-pounding action, and set against the bold backdrop of the Civil War, Thieves of Mercy is a worthy successor to the W. Y. Boyd Award-winning novel Glory in the Name, the book Bernard Cornwell lauded as "by far, the best Civil War novel I've read."

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THIEVES OF MERCY: A Novel of the Civil War at Sea

User Review  - Kirkus

Confederate naval action on the Mississippi in a sequel to Glory in the Name (2003).Nelson's hero, Confederate Lt. Samuel Bowater, lost his ship when the Union forces seized New Orleans, sealing off ... Read full review

Thieves of mercy: a novel of the Civil War at sea

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

This is the exciting and well-written sequel to Nelson's Civil War novel, Glory in the Name . Once again, Capt. Samuel Bowater needs a ship to command after a series of Confederate reverses, and he ... Read full review


Section 1
Section 2
Section 3
Section 4
Section 5
Section 6
Section 7
Section 8
Section 26
Section 27
Section 28
Section 29
Section 30
Section 31
Section 32
Section 33

Section 9
Section 10
Section 11
Section 12
Section 13
Section 14
Section 15
Section 16
Section 17
Section 18
Section 19
Section 20
Section 21
Section 22
Section 23
Section 24
Section 25
Section 34
Section 35
Section 36
Section 37
Section 38
Section 39
Section 40
Section 41
Section 42
Section 43
Section 44
Section 45
Section 46
Section 47
Section 48
Section 49

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Page 230 - I have heard That guilty creatures, sitting at a play, Have by the very cunning of the scene Been struck so to the soul that presently They have proclaim'd their malefactions; For murder, though it have no tongue, will speak With most miraculous organ.
Page 303 - It was now 7 o'clock in the evening, and this unexpected information rendered prompt measures necessary for the safety of the Virginia. The pilots had assured me that they could take the ship, with a draft of 18 feet, to within 40 miles.
Page 151 - Point yesterday, mainly with the view of ascertaining the practicability of landing a body of troops thereabouts. The Merrimack came out, but was even more cautious than ever. The Monitor was kept well in advance, and so that the Merrimack could have engaged her without difficulty had she been so disposed, but she declined to do it, and soon returned and anchored under Sewall's Point.
Page 9 - ... when we consider the extent of the valley of the Mississippi ; nor are those formed from the sterile basins of the great rivers of Siberia, the lofty plateaus of Central Asia, or the mighty sweep of the swampy Amazon more adequate. Latitude, elevation, and rainfall all combine to render every part of the Mississippi Valley capable of supporting a dense population. As a dwelling-place for civilized man it is by far the first upon our globe.
Page 3 - Shirly is regarded as highly important to the defenses of the Mississippi. One of them at Columbus would have enabled you to complete the annihilation of the enemy.
Page 118 - SIR : I have the honor to inform the department that yesterday morning a little after seven o'clock the rebel squadron, consisting of eight iron-clad steamers, four of them, I believe, fitted as rams, came around the point at the bend above Fort Pillow and steamed gallantly up the river, fully prepared for a regular engagement.
Page 206 - It. .lones and J. Pembroke Jones. The opinion was unanimous that the Virginia was then employed to the best advantage and that she should continue for the present to protect Norfolk, and thus afford time to remove the public property. On the next day, at...
Page 20 - Unable to govern themselves, and unwilling to be governed by others, their almost total want 01 system, vigilance, and discipline, rendered them useless and helpless, when the enemy finally dashed upon them suddenly in a dark night. I regret very much that the department did not think it advisable to grant my request to place some competent head in charge of these steamers.

About the author (2009)

James L. Nelson has served as a seaman, rigger, boatswain, and officer on a number of sailing vessels. He is the author of By Force of Arms, The Maddest Idea, The Continental Risque, Lords of the Ocean, and All the Brave Fellows -- the five books of his Revolution at Sea Saga. -- as well as The Guardship: Book One of the Brethren of the Coast. He lives with his wife and children in Harpswell, Maine.

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