You’ve probably never heard of Luke Ryan. You probably didn’t know that Benjamin Franklin had his own private navy during American War of Independence and yet Ryan - Franklin’s most dangerous privateer - did more damage to British shipping than any other commander, including the great John Paul Jones.
This is an extraordinary, little-known story of selfless heroism, love, intrigue and betrayal. It is a bold story about bold men, about rough Irish mariners who in the beginning of their adventure sail for money but later find themselves fighting for a new nation’s struggle for liberty, becoming true American patriots along the way.
- 1781 -
With the help of French duplicity, the British finally capture Ryan, bringing his two-year reign of terror abruptly to an end. Ryan is taken in chains to Newgate Prison in London to stand trial for treason and felony piracy on the high seas in the same court where the infamous Captain William Kidd was convicted 80 years earlier. When Ryan is found guilty and sentenced to death an admirer, Queen Marie Antoinette of France, implores King George III to spare Ryan’s life and with a royal nod the king commutes Ryan’s sentence to life imprisonment. But later, as the war comes to a close and a more tolerant Parliament takes power, the English release their American prisoners of war, including Ryan. The young Irishman returns to France but he has no ships, no men and no money. Ryan’s prospects seem grim until he meets a man named Joseph Bonaparte, a promising entrepreneur who likes to dabble in smuggling, and his younger brother, a brilliant major in the French Army, a man on the rise who is hungry for fame and glory - his name: Napoleon Bonaparte…
Mark lives in the Atlanta, Georgia area and enjoys writing.