Scotland's Admiral - ebook
A biography of a great historical seaman - a critic's view
Widely thought of as Scotland's Nelson, Admiral Sir Andrew Wood "was unquestionably the first of a pantheon of naval heroes who would ensure that Britannia ruled the waves for nearly three hundred years," as the book's Foreword states.
This was already known, but much else about him has been the subject of centuries of supposition, speculation and sheer guesswork, as any internet search today bears witness. But now we learn who really were his ancestors, his family, his companions, and quite a lot about how people conducted their lives in those distant times. Here we are told, often by graphic descriptions of his battles at sea, that "as Admiral to the Scottish monarchs James III and James IV, it was his infectious courage, his inherent powers of leadership and diplomacy, and those scores of embarrassing successes against marauding privateers and the best fleets England could throw at him that helped finally to induce the Tudor kings Henry VII and VIII to launch a standing navy that would, in time, establish Great Britain as a world power."
He served kings James III, IV and V, whose turbulent and uncertain times are the setting of this true tale of conspicuous valour, bloody political intrigue and familial love.
This book should therefore prove to be a boon to all students of the tempestuous years of Renaissance Scotland between about 1450 and 1520, while it is specifically a biographical account of the exciting life and adventures of Sir Andrew Wood (circa 1455-1515), the seagoing merchant of Leith by Edinburgh who prospered as he fought off buccaneers and the fleets of foreign governments till his reputation for mastery of the seas brought him the feudal barony of Largo in Fife and the rank of Admiral of Scotland.
Throughout, the book develops the often colourful personalities of the principal and historical characters. By his sure lightness of touch, the author does not require us to suspend disbelief as he deftly closes gaps in factual detail left to us by a lack of surviving contemporary records even about kings and queens of the period.
Just one warning, however: The Forward again, with its intriguing story of how an ancient, dust-covered document was recently discovered in a municipal county archive, turns out to be the one section of the book meant to be read as fiction - the author's self-indulgence, perhaps! And why not? But the enjoyable writing is too convincing. It lulled me into thinking it was part of the biography. Chapter One quickly put me right! H Merchand
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All this amounts to a thoroughly fascinating and thrilling tale that you can read on your PC, laptop, tablet or smartphone. If you prefer a paper version, you can always print it out.
The ebook can be purchased for £3.95. Simply click on The Clan Shop in the Menu.