I just finished reading the Sea of Grey by Tom Chaffin
. Its a fascinating story about a Confederate raider, whose primary mission was to prey on New England whaling ships during the Civil War. However, the greatest drama occurred once the crew of the Shenandoah realize the War is over and they in effect, become regarded as stateless pirates of the sea. In short order, the raider goes from the hunter to the hunted. In the end however, the ship manages to circumnavigate the globe and stirs up international intrigue.
Oddly enough, I learned about the raider while on a trip to Australia last year. The ship docked in Melbourne for three weeks for repairs and the crew were treated like rock stars during their stay. I believe many Australians viewed the swashbuckling Confederates in the same vein as the iconic "Australian battler," whose English convict origins found them at odds with the British Crown. On the other hand, the ship departed under clouded circumstances as it was believed the crew also signed up recruits for their mission, which was illegal under British law at the time. Moreover, as a native New Englander myself, it has also piqued my interest in visiting the New Bedford Whaling Museum
, which is something I plan to do next time I'm in the area. Ironically, on nearby Martha's Vineyard, there are two tall ships lurking in the waters close to the old New England whaling capital named the Shenandoah and the Alabama
. The Alabama was a legendary Confederate raider until it was sunk off the coast of France. The Shenandoah was commissioned to replace the Alabama, which is another story spy novels are made of.
The book is well-researched and fairly easy to read. There are also accompanying maps and pictures to the text, which is helpful for reference while reading the story. Overall, I would recommend the book to anyone who has an interest in the Civil War or in maritime stories.
On a side note for centennial junkies, one may find Uncommon Carriers by John McPhee
to be of interest. UPS is featured in one of chapters in the text.