The early years of the new United States serves as the setting for William C. Hammond’s For Love of Country. The second in a series, through its pages the reader continues a sea-going adventure with the Cutlers, a merchant family from Hingham, Massachusetts. Richard Cutler captains the family’s newest vessel, Falcon. Like other shipping companies of the time, American vessels are contending with piracy in the Mediterranean. On Falcon’s maiden voyage, Cutler is charged with meeting the Dey of Algiers to pay the tribute required to free one of the Cutler’s merchant crews to include his younger brother, Caleb Cutler. When negotiations go awry, Falcon sails for France, and must fight pirates along the way.
Cutler is well received in France and meets with both John Paul Jones and the soon to be Secretary of State, Thomas Jefferson. Both warn him of the trials and tribulations of the brewing French Revolution. Cutler fears for his former love, Anne-Marie Helvetian, but is able to sneak she and her daughters out of France to the United States.
For Love of Country is a delightful read for anyone who enjoys historical fiction or novels about the sea. The political scene in the United States and France is well researched. Upon completing this book, any reader will anxiously await the next installment.
Reviewed by: Stephen Phillips (2011)
The novel opens with the capture of the Cutler merchant brig Eagle by Barbary pirates. Young Caleb Cutler and his shipmates are taken as prisoners to Algiers. Richard Cutler is sent to North Africa to pay the ransom demanded by the Dey of Algiers to free his brother and the others. After the dey rejects the ransom, Richard must defend his family's fortune from Algerian pirates who try to take it by force. Victorious in a fierce battle at sea, Richard travels to Paris to report to John Paul Jones, his former naval commander, who will serve as America's emissary to the Barbary States. In Paris, amid the tumult of the French Revolution, Richard engages in a desperate attempt to save his former lover, the beautiful Anne-Marie Helvetian, and her two young daughters from the guillotine.