Retribution Plot Summary
In July 1557, following the declaration of war between England and France, French privateers capture the English ship Lionheart and take her Saint Valery sur Somme. The crew is imprisoned, and the cargo confiscated. The Lionheart is one of the armed merchantmen that belongs to John and William Hawkins, sons of William Hawkins, former mayor of Plymouth and Member of Parliament and the mariner that first established triangular maritime trade between England, Guinea, and Brazil. Her loss represents a blow to the prestige of the Hawkins family—and early adopter of the armed merchantman ship for trade and privateer actions.
Francis Drake, a second cousin to John Hawkins, is now 17 years old, and is an apprentice aboard the Tiger, another armed merchantman that jointly belongs to Hawkins and Trelawney. He was taken in by the Hawkins following his family’s plight from the village Tavistock following the start of the Western (Prayer Book) Rebellion.
Drake owes much to the Hawkins family, which is primarily responsible for the start of his maritime career. In response to Hawkins’ indignant statement that this capture will not stand, Drake unhesitatingly volunteers to support the cut out raid and participate in what amounts to pirate action.
Still unsure of his future direction as a mariner, he also observes his life as greatly affected from the outside—his prospects in the rigid social class system, his faith, and in some ways, good or bad luck.
The preparation and planning, as well as the action that is forced by the cutting out raid gives Drake some clarity on what it takes to be successful in the 16th century world.
Role of Retribution in the Historical Fiction Series Adventures of Francis Drake
The historical fiction series Adventures of Francis Drake attempts to fill in the details of the life of Sir Francis Drake, and to paint a fuller and more vivid picture of the personage that is available in the excellent biographies by John Sugden and many others. It is my belief that while history tells us who, what, when, and how, historical fiction lets us experience the why. The series starts with Sic Parvis Magna, which explores Drake’s adolescence, and how the choices made by his family and that of the Hawkins, as well as the key events of the age such as the Western (Prayer Book) Rebellion and the English Catholic restoration, which was followed by Elizabeth’s Religious Settlement transform the life of the poor farm boy and set him on the course that will ultimately make him one of the greatest naval commanders of England, and one of the greatest pirates of the world.
In this short story, Drake’s actions and thoughts will lay a path to his mindset in the novel First Blood, which will explore his raids on the Isthmus of Panama.
Availability of Retribution
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