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Pearces' Ocean by A J Pearce


Author A J Pearce

Based on the author’s family history and legend

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A well-written, fast-moving rags-to-riches story, set in the turmoil of the eighteenth century through the eyes of a seafaring family, when the only way for ordinary folk to advance was to fight. Stories of smuggling and piracy, heard by the author when a child, woven into a great book.

Simon Pearce, born in poverty on the Isles of Scilly in Cornwall, takes his family on a swashbuckling journey that begins with the worst peacetime shipwreck in Royal Naval history, in 1707, when five ships were lost on the Isles of Scilly. Brought up into a family of smugglers, a twist of fate enables him to rise to the captaincy of a privateer.
He marries the stunningly beautiful Isabella de Mendoza from the Portuguese island of Madeira. They have four children, and after twenty years trading with America, he moves his family to an estate on the Potomac River near the site of the future capital, Washington DC.

Simon finds himself on the side of the American rebels during the American War of Independence, becoming a commander with impeccable credentials, in the fledgling American Revolutionary Navy. After opening up trade links with China, the growing family dynasty founds the first pharmaceuticals company in the United States, and the story culminates with Simon’s grandsons fighting at the Battle of the Nile.

ISBN 978-0-473-18577-0
GENRE Historical fiction, semi-biographical
FORMAT Paperback
No. PAGES 368
DIMENSIONS 229 x 152 x 21 mm
WEIGHT 550 g
RRP $32.50


This is a lovely story, a family saga, but much more.  It has that years-gone-by—I won’t say quaint—flavor to be found in Masterpiece Theatre presentations. Think HMS Defiant, Master and Commander, Two Years Before the Mast, Captains Courageous…even Moby-Dick, and you’ll have an idea of the epic sweep of this tale of a family who lives—and dies—with the sea, whether  they’ve a wish to or not.  Told in language reminiscent of manuscripts written two centuries before,  but old-fashionedly eloquent in its descriptions, this could have been penned by Dickens or Austen.  It’s an ambitious novel,  and rightly so, and one I feel worthy to be on that much-touted New York Best-seller’s list.  I’d even nominate it for the big screen.

Partly biographical,  this straightforward tale of a family and how the sea influenced their lives—and their loves—through five generations, is an epic,  and it begs to have a sequel,  to narrate the story of the following centuries’ generations of the Family Pearce and their affair with the Sea. RATING 5 Stars.
~ Toni V Sweeney, novelist,

... The vivid descriptions of the way of life and the dialogue written in part in the dialect as it was spoken on the Scilly Isles really bring the different characters to life. Even though this is a novel the historical facts are all accurate, as are the details of seagoing life in the
eighteenth century.
I can truly recommend this book, not just for it’s fast-paced, action-packed story, but also for it’s historical background. I certainly learned a lot about this part of the eighteenth century.
~ Marianne Bosman, Boat Books Ltd, Westhaven, Auckland

I thoroughly recommend this book to any reader. Take a grandstand seat and witness the pirate and privateer world of 18th century England and the adventures across the oceans. Fast moving with loveable rogue characters. A great first book of a series and I am eagerly anticipating the next to follow my heroes. Very well written and researched.
~ Rosie Horman

A great read, hard to put down once begun. It is an historical novel based loosely on the author's forebears that I am sure will appeal to a wide range of readers. Good pace and flow as the reader accompanies members of the Pearce family from its early beginnings in Cornwall to its foray into the new world and beyond. The dialogue as written gives a superb feeling of identity to characters portrayed in this journey. The seafaring adventures are well written and accurate in their portrayal of the handling of the craft of the time. I eagerly await the publication of the continuing story of the Pearce family.
~ Brian Smith