Ben Brown and the smugglers

Ben Brown and the smugglers

by William Bertram


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Set in Plymouth in the year of our Lord 1755. A disastrous fire at the Eddystone lighthouse makes the Brown family change their occupation from servicing the lighthouse into working for the Custom and Excise.

Around Plymouth Sound, smugglers and revenue men are waging open warfare; with the smugglers winning the battle for getting contraband goods into Plymouth and South East Cornwall. To put it simply, the Browns now become Revenue men and are now spied upon and treated with suspicion by their neighbours and friends. However, due to his excellent seamanship skills Ben Brown and his son (another Ben), are now given a new cutter and contracted to clear the Smugglers out of Plymouth Sound.

The Smugglers try everything to dissuade the Browns from stopping the flow of contraband including bribery and violence. When eventually all their plans fail to work, they try to arrange a romantic attachment with a daughter of the local smuggler. Nothing seems to work, the Brown's continue to keep true to the Revenue Service, until gunpowder and the sword resolve everything in a momentous sea fight off the coast of Cornwall.

N.B All the places and most of the major events in this story are historically correct, as are some of the characters.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781500579043
Publisher: CreateSpace Publishing
Publication date: 08/17/2014
Pages: 390
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

William Bertram has for the last forty years researched Britain's late 18th and early 19th century Royal Navy; he specialised in the design and performance of wooden warships. Now attending Plymouth University for his degree in Maritime History and Marine Technology, he pursued this specialty further. His dissertation on the sailing qualities of 19th century warships was rapidly accepted and broadcast on Television and Radio as well as being published in the New Scientist and in journals all around the world. During his time at University, he satisfied his academic curiosity and his need to eat, by becoming a guide at Plymouth Naval Base Museum and a receptionist at Fort Bovisand.
The next years were fulfilling as a teacher, but retirement threatened and so William returned to his major academic love, maritime history, luckily he was in a city steeped in the past glories of her relationship with the sea. It was at this point in William's history that he decided to write books based on the history of Plymouth and its seafaring people.
Resolving to write a mixture of factual and fiction books that progress through several generations of the same family, he centered his rags to riches stories around the Brown family. Using factual evidence, he interwove the characters around Plymouth's 18th century history and streets. This clearly involved many long days of research and fact-finding, however, eventually he wrote his first novel and swiftly followed it with two more in rapid succession.
Nevertheless, all three books which William wrote are based on an 18th century Plymouthian family who are clearly fictional, however, this can never be said of the novel's background, here William has meticulously used old maps, drawings and records to build up an historic environment for his characters to exist in. He has even taken photographs of the streets and places mentioned in the stories and these are to be found on his web site, (

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