The Pelican Review - USA

I appreciate any book that offers us a tool to use terms to that we can improve on any one persona or another. For the book on hand Breverton, who lives in Wales and has a number of books on Welsh subjects, sought terms and phrases which were in use from the 15th to 18th centuries. But he also adds such proper names of notable and grisly pirates, such as Rock the Brazilian and Montbars the Exterminator.

            I had a lot of fun in throwing the description of these two characters into one of my favourite discussion groups, a living history group dealing with people, like me, who try to recreate the living history, seafaring past. This generated a number of responses from my comrades, their replies centring on if they had adopted a pro or anti Spanish persona. We all realize that the excesses of these two characters in torturing captured Spaniards were in retaliation for the excesses committed by the Spanish when they found some luckless souls on the shores either by design or accident. Those could expect the Inquisition and the resulting auto-da-fe. But life for the period under discussion was also not placid for society in general.

            Current readers with 21st century attitudes might not come to that same conclusion. So Breverton has succeeded in providing the general reader some idea of what it was like to have lived at that time, in addition to providing them terms and phrases that were in use. I commend anyones efforts to assemble the magnitude of words and their origins as the author has done.

            I come away from a book like this with an increased understanding of what seafaring life was like prior to the 19th century. Those who want to write a seafaring novel about any part of the period should consider this an important source.

Western Mail 25th August 2004

The books which lists thousands of nautical terms and expressions explains the origins of such phrases as Pot Calling the Kettle Black, Cock Up, Bite the Bullet as well as Flash in the Pan.

            It also asks why good honest men became pirates, where did they hide and did they, as adventure stories such as Treasure Island would have us believe, really bury their treasure.


Glyndŵr Publishing (Wales Books)