“The de Wolfe of Wharf Street” Inspiration by Elizabeth Ellen Carter

Here at the Pirates of Britannia, we love our pirates – they’re dashing, brave, strong and sexy.

Well, our good guy pirates are. In reality there were some very, very evil pirates. Through popular entertainment we’re aware of the pirates of the Caribbean, the Spanish Main and the Barbary Coast, but there were villainous pirates around England’s shores.

While I was researching Barbary Coast pirates for my Heart of the Corsairs series, I came across the surprising fact that there were European slaves taken to Africa and sold.

Between 1650 and 1830 between 800,000 and 1.2 million Europeans were abducted and sold into slavery. Coastal fishing villages along Greece, Italy, Spain were almost completely depopulated as communities abandoned settlements after frequent raids.

As it was not just on the continent either. These pirates traveled further north and raided the Cornish and Devon and Dorset coasts in England. These pirates even went as far north as Iceland!

The entire population of the fishing village of Boston in Ireland were taken, never to be seen again.

The men were used as galley slaves and laborers, the women were used as maids and in sexual servitude.

In the early 1600s, the threat to England acute, thanks to a pirate called Jan Janszoon. He was a Dutch sailor captured by the Barbary Coast pirates who decided to throw in his lot with his captors and ‘turned Turk’, he was given the name Murat and the title of Admiral along with a fleet and a crew.

From present day Morocco, then called the Republic of Sale (a client state of the Ottoman Empire), Janszoon invaded and occupied a strategically significant island in the Bristol Channel, called Lundy.

Lundy was the ideal place. Its location meant Janszoon and his pirates could pick off ships on their way into or out of port. It was an excellent base of operations for slave raids on England and Ireland and most of all that, once occupied, it was very easy to hold.

Lundy just out four hundred feet out of the sea and there is only one beach for landing and that is overlooked by a castle keep with stone walls marking out a sizable bailey.

Slaves captured on those raids were held on Lundy until they were transported to North Africa.

From this vantage point, Janszoon was very nearly imperious to any kind of direct assault from the English. He held the island for five years.

So this was my jumping off point for my Pirates of Britannia story, The de Wolfe of Wharf Street which also introduces Gabriel Hardacre, an ancestor of my Hearts of Corsairs hero, Kit Hardacre.

Here’s the blurb:

Gabriel Hardacre is one of three orphan brothers with a talent for acrobatics and performing.

It’s how they make their living… mostly. If a few jewels and trinkets make it into their hands from time to time… well, a man has to eat after all. Their haunt is the Wharf Street Tavern at the docks in Barnstaple.

Perspicacity Glenwood, known as Cassie to her friends, is a forthright and determined young woman. She runs a small school that teaches the children of the docks – as well as some of the adults – who want to learn to read and write. 

One of her older students is the handsome Gabriel, but a burgeoning romance between them is thwarted when Cassie receives word that an ailing aunt in Ireland needs her care.

The voyage across the Irish Sea is a short one and ought to be without peril, but the evil Dutch pirate Jan Janszoon controls Lundy Island just outside the Bristol Channel, picking off ships for their bounty of goods – and people to sell as slaves in North Africa.

Gabriel learns from a mysterious man, who simply calls himself de Wolfe, that Cassie’s ship has been taken. The man’s wife is also among the captives and he’s putting together ‘a wolf pack’ to destroy Janszoon’s base of operations for good.

The mission will be hazardous, it will be deadly – and it has to be done within the next two weeks before Cassie and the other captives are taken out of reach forever.

Can Gabriel save the woman he’s fallen in love with?

The de Wolfe of Wharf Street is exclusive to Amazon and free to read if you are a Kindle Unlimited subscriber – https://www.amazon.com/Wolfe-Wharf-Street-Britannia-Connected-ebook/dp/B07QX96ZC2



Elizabeth Ellen Carter is an award-winning historical romance writer who pens richly detailed historical romantic adventures. A former newspaper journalist, Carter ran an award-winning PR agency for 12 years. The author lives in Australia with her husband and two cats.


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