Welcome to the Online World of Paul Devine’s Historical Novel: Impressed!
Boston merchant Edwin Lawrence is en route to Lisbon in October 1811 when the American vessel on which he is a passenger is stopped and boarded by a British frigate. Lawrence is “impressed” and forced to serve “before the mast” as an ordinary seaman facing the dangers of tropical squalls, disease, and battles with the French. Edwin is not forgotten: his wife Prudence uses every social and political contact in Boston and Washington, trying to effect her husband’s release and return.
The United States faces its first hostage crisis with thousands of Americans taken captive by the Royal Navy but with the U.S. militarily and economically unprepared to challenge the superpower that rules the waves. Free trade and sailors’ rights, continued negotiations versus the use of force, sectional differences, slavery and the slave-trade, and the potential conquest of Canada are debated in drawing-rooms, counting-houses, government offices, and below-decks. In the meantime—and in grave danger—Edwin Lawrence and other impressed seamen face the perils of battle, disease, shipwreck, and harsh discipline as Impressed! moves toward its explosive conclusion.
This web-site will:
- introduce you to the principal characters in Impressed!
- describe the Royal Navy’s practice of “impressment,” a major cause of the War of 1812
- let you choose from a “tasting menu” of excerpts from Impressed!
- introduce you to the novel’s author
- give you the opportunity to read your own copy of Impressed!
- let you join an ongoing discussion with readers of Impressed! and others interested in American history during the Federalist period, maritime history, and observances of the bicentennial of the War of 1812.
Copyright© 2011 by Paul Devine