book cover of Harbor of Spies

Harbor of Spies

(2018)
A novel by

 
 
HARBOR OF SPIES is an historical novel set in Havana in 1863 during the American Civil War, when the Spanish colonial city was alive with intrigue and war related espionage. The protagonist - a young American ship captain by the name of Everett Townsend - is pulled into the war, not as a Naval Academy midshipman, as he had once hoped, but as the captain of a Havana-based blockade-running schooner. Even as Townsend gets entangled in the war effort, he also finds himself being pulled into the dangerous investigation of a murdered English diplomat which threatens his own life.

Townsend becomes ensnared in the investigation of the Backhouse murder by rescuing a man from the sea, who turns out to be a prison escapee from El Morro Castle. That good deed to help this stranger condemns the protagonist himself to a Spanish prison, and sets in motion a plot where Townsend struggles to maintain his own sense of identity. He falls into the clutches of a Spanish merchant, who is making money off the American war, who introduces him to a world of spies, slave traders, and Spanish seductresses. From the bars, to the docks, to the dance halls, Townsend takes us into colonial Havana and then to the slave plantations in the interior even as he prepares his ship to run the blockade.

The protagonist's trouble-ridden experience leads him to become emotionally involved with the daughter of an American innkeeper in Havana. Together they help each other grapple with the uncertain moral terrain of a city caught up in the American war and the growing controversy over slavery. Throughout the novel, Townsend can never shake loose the mystery about the man he helped save. As a foreigner and an outsider, he finds himself trapped by mysterious forces and circumstances beyond his control which ironically help him discover his own family roots in Cuba, and finally convince him to become a spy for the North.

The novel is not only a richly drawn portrait of Spanish colonial Havana in the days when Cuba was flush with sugar wealth, but also provides a realistic look at the blockade runners that helped form the supply line into the South's Gulf ports. A little-known fact about blockade running in the Gulf of Mexico in the early years of the Civil War is the important role that sailing schooners played in bringing arms and ammunition into the shallow harbors, bays and inlets that line the Gulf coast from Florida to Texas.


Genre: Historical

Praise for this book

"Robin Lloyd has written a captivating thriller-at-sea in Harbor of Spies. This book is at once a spy story, a sea story and a love story. The setting is exotic and highly original--Havana in the 1860s. The scenes of battle at sea are beautifully rendered. This second seafaring novel by Robin Lloyd cruises at hull speed." - David Ignatius

"Harbor of Spies is that rare novel with the perfect mix of the magics. There is intrigue and romance combined with history and mystery set in a real time and place--colonial Cuba during the U.S. Civil War. The end result is a page-turning excursion through dangers and delights that will both entertain and enlighten. Enjoy!" - Jim Lehrer


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Used availability for Robin Lloyd's Harbor of Spies

Hardback Editions

March 2018 : USA Hardback
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Title: Harbor of Spies: A Novel of Historic Havana
Author(s): Robin Lloyd
ISBN: 1-4930-3226-7 / 978-1-4930-3226-6 (USA edition)
Publisher: Lyons Press
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   Amazon AU   


Kindle Editions

March 2018 : USA, Australia, Canada, UK Kindle edition
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Title: Harbor of Spies: A Novel of Historic Havana
Author(s): Robin Lloyd
Publisher: Lyons Press
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   Amazon AU