Reviews -- The Dragons of the Storm

"This historical novel is framed as the story of Jamestown's founding in the early seventeenth century. However, it is much more. While readers gain a detailed knowledge of the Jamestown situation and Captain John Smith himself, the majority of the book actually focuses on Sir Francis Drake. In fact, the book's title, The Dragons of the Storm, is perhaps derived from the Spanish word for dragon, draque.
"The book opens as Jonas Profit, an old mariner who is tending Smith's wound from a stingray, tells about his years serving under Sir Francis Drake. Throughout the book, Profit focuses on Drake's two best-known adventures -- first, his sailing around the world in The Golden Hind. Profit gives incredible detail of the Elizabethan court intrigues and the pressure from the British crown to discover treasures and win out over the Spanish. The second adventure which Profit recounts is the defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1788.
"The Jamestown story takes up less than one third of the book. Minkoff focuses on the hardships that Smith faced and generally conquered -- mutiny, attacks by the natives, illness, lack of food, and an unwillingness to work by many of the settlers. Pocahontas is briefly mentioned in several of the chapters as well.
"The second novel of the 'In the Land of Whispers' trilogy, Minkoff does an excellent job of providing accurate details about early British exploration of America - and offering believable hypotheses in cases where no recorded history is available. This novel went beyond many of the other books on this topic, as it delved into the relationships of the place and period - the relationships between the British and the natives as well as the relationships among the settlers themselves. Minkoff also explored the mystery of Roanoke as well as some of the common beliefs of the time regarding tobacco and alchemy.
"The book is designed for readers with significant interest in the Elizabethan time period. The book is quite detailed, and Minkoff sticks true to Elizabethan language throughout the novel. Since this book focuses on sailing exploration to such a degree, I compare it somewhat to the novels of Patrick O'Brian. The difference is that Minkoff takes us further into the personal relationships of the characters - and the role which power plays in the settlement of America.
"In all, I found The Dragons of the Storm to be a thought-provoking book. It led me to think about what it took for the leaders in the 1600s to stabilize America and compare those leaders to our current ones. How much has really changed?" -- Lynn O'Connell, Reader Views

"Jonas Profit, as George Robert Minkoff’s eyewitness, is an eloquent historian with a rare gift for prose that beggars the imagination. The Dragons of the Storm is the second installment in Minkoff’s In the Land of Whispers trilogy. ...Once into the teeth of the tale, the beauty of the language shook me and the poetic rhythm of Jonas Profit’s rendering of history came alive with a force that left me reeling, reluctant to return to a more mundane present. If only history books were written like this.
"The Dragons of the Storm is a literary banquet best savored slowly like fine wine and just as intoxicating."--J.M. Cornwell, Authorlink

"The Dragons of the Storm is the second book of George Robert Minkoff’s projected trilogy about the founding of the Jamestown colony in Virginia in the first decade of the seventeenth century. As in the first volume, The Weight of Smoke, the author intertwines two narratives, one purporting to be the secret diaries of Captain John Smith (he of Pocahontas fame), the other the tale of Sir Francis Drake as told to Smith by Jonas Profit, a member of the Jamestown company who also sailed with Drake a generation earlier.
"Where The Weight of Smoke gave more or less equal time to both stories, Francis Drake gets by far the lion’s share of attention in Dragons of the Storm, a title that plays on the fact that the Spanish for dragon is draque – and Drake, a legendary mariner, privateer, and warrior, was more than any other Englishman of the Elizabethan era the fire-breathing nemesis of Spain’s empire both in the New World and closer to home. His adventures make for often thrilling reading.
"At the heart of this book are the two towering exploits which made Francis Drake one of the greatest sailors of all time: his three-year circumnavigation of the globe in 1577-80, and his defeat of the Spanish Armada eight years later. The round-the-world voyage combined discovery with plunder; when he and his weary crew finally dropped anchor in Plymouth, the hold of the Golden Hind contained a hoard of Spanish gold worth more than the rest of the Queen’s annual income combined. And when Philip II finally launched his long-expected invasion of England, Drake was the guiding light of the defenders; though nominally only second-in-command, he was effectively the admiral of the makeshift, enormously outnumbered fleet that met and vanquished the Spanish in a running battle up the English Channel, thus ensuring England’s survival and sowing the seeds of empire. Minkoff brings these stories alive, though readers may sometimes doubt that anyone could, some three decades later, recall events in such detail. The author is occasionally constrained by his framing devices, for the diary conceit and the tales-within-tales don’t allow for much exposition on subjects ranging from sixteenth century navigation to the curious mix of private commerce and public diplomacy that characterized Tudor England. In addition, his highly poetical language, while colorful and evocative of the period, is a bit impenetrable at times, though not to the degree of the first volume.
"Historically accurate, inventive in its language, and filled with exciting and epochal event, The Dragons of the Storm is a worthy successor to The Weight of Smoke.--Peyton Moss, ForeWord Magazine
"Captain John Smith, upon his election as president of the Jamestown Colony in the 1620s, wishes to organize the colonists to become self-sufficient and produce their own food to survive the harsh winters of the Virginia coast. Unfortunately, politics and greed play against his desire to make the colony succeed. While on an exploration and trading expedition to the Chesapeake Bay, the ancient mariner Jonas Profit continues his tale of Sir Francis Drake. Years earlier, Drake was forced by the Spanish in the Pacific to circumnavigate the globe. He returned home to England a hero, was knighted by Queen Elizabeth, and then was ordered to lead an English squadron of ships to prevent invasion by the fleet known today as the infamous Spanish Armada. This novel is volume two in the Land of Whispers Trilogy, continuing the saga of both John Smith and Francis Drake. While each man is faced with fighting enemies of the English empire and contends with others who hold wealth and power, both work toward their own visions of a colonial empire.
"This is an extraordinarily well-written series of books. I believe that years from now, critics of fine literature will rank these books with the writings of Patrick O’Brian and Dorothy Dunnett as great historical fiction – thoroughly researched and written with exceptional prose. I am looking forward to reading Mr. Minkoff’s final episode about the Land of Whispers."-- Jeff Westerhoff, Historical Novels Review
"The Dragons of the Storm is a tour de force of sailing literature, focused on Drake's circumnavigation of the world. Embedded in the story of John Smith's Jamestown, it adds remarkable counterpoint and stretches to encompass not just the exploration of North America, but the Age of Exploration as well. Beautiful, riveting, and sweeping."--Walter Bode

"The Dragons of the Storm is as enthralling as The Weight of Smoke. I think John Smith and Francis Drake would rejoice in George Minkoff's lively re-creation of them." -- Edmund Sears Morgan

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