The Dragons of the Storm

Vol. II of In the Land of Whispers

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The Dragons of the Storm continues directly from The Weight of Smoke. When Powhatan forcibly adopted Captain John Smith into his tribe, he declared that after three wounds the river would speak to him. While fishing in the Chesapeake toward the end of a long expedition, Smith is stabbed by a stingray and falls deathly ill. Because he is set to assume the presidency of Jamestown on their return, the fate of the colony may depend upon his recovery. The old alchemist and mariner, Jonas Profit, doctors this second wound, and to ease Smith's suffering starts to tell of the daring circumnavigation of the world by Francis Drake. So begins the second volume of George Robert Minkoff's visionary epic, In the Land of Whispers, revealing the desperate events in the lives of both Drake and Smith that will lead finally to a permanent settlement for the Elizabethans in the New World. John Smith is followed from the initiations of the first volume into a year of unforseen trials and their consequence. While the London Company's aristocrats broker the colony's fate with their wealth and power, the colonists struggle an ocean away merely to survive in an unforgiving land. Famine, contagion, mutiny, and war with Powhatan threaten constantly. And the one man who might save Jamestown from itself, John Smith, will have to confront not only the venality of his enemies, and the legacy of his spiritual fathers, but also the mysteries of his destiny.

Read a sample chapter: Chapter One (PDF)

"At the heart of this book are the two towering exploits which made Francis Drake one of the greatest sailors of all time: his three-year circumnavigation of the globe in 1577-80, and his defeat of the Spanish Armada eight years later. The round-the-world voyage combined discovery with plunder; when he and his weary crew finally dropped anchor in Plymouth, the hold of the Golden Hind contained a hoard of Spanish gold worth more than the rest of the Queen’s annual income combined. And when Philip II finally launched his long-expected invasion of England, Drake was the guiding light of the defenders; though nominally only second-in-command, he was effectively the admiral of the makeshift, enormously outnumbered fleet that met and vanquished the Spanish in a running battle up the English Channel, thus ensuring England’s survival and sowing the seeds of empire. Minkoff brings these stories alive, though readers may sometimes doubt that anyone could, some three decades later, recall events in such detail. The author is occasionally constrained by his framing devices, for the diary conceit and the tales-within-tales don’t allow for much exposition on subjects ranging from sixteenth century navigation to the curious mix of private commerce and public diplomacy that characterized Tudor England . . . Historically accurate, inventive in its language, and filled with exciting and epochal event, The Dragons of the Storm is a worthy successor to The Weight of Smoke."
--Peyton Moss, ForeWord Magazine

"Jonas Profit, as George Robert Minkoff’s eyewitness, is an eloquent historian with a rare gift for prose that beggars the imagination. The Dragons of the Storm is the second installment in Minkoff’s In the Land of Whispers trilogy . . . Once into the teeth of the tale, the beauty of the language shook me and the poetic rhythm of Jonas Profit’s rendering of history came alive with a force that left me reeling, reluctant to return to a more mundane present. If only history books were written like this. The Dragons of the Storm is a literary banquet best savored slowly like fine wine and just as intoxicating."
--J.M. Cornwell, Authorlink

© George R. Minkoff 2011