Taylor Caldwell read the news and saw the future.
In Captains and the Kings, she tells the story of a boy who came to America to escape the Irish famine in the early 1850s.
By the time he arrived, he was 12, an orphan with a younger brother and infant sister to care for, and America didn’t want any more Irish.
Both honest and ruthless, as “Joe Francis” teenage Joseph Francis Xavier Armagh outsmarted and outworked men twice his age.
Brains and discipline put him in the way of luck.
Friends were unwaveringly loyal to him.
Women fell for him.
His children loved him, though he did nothing to win their love.
What makes Captains and the Kings an unusual historical novel is that Caldwell puts Joseph into situations where wealthy men behind the scenes plot how to quite literally take over the world.
Their plan includes the establishment of income taxes in every country in the world, extermination of the middle class via taxation, and “prudently scheduled” wars around the world “to absorb the products of our growing industrial and technological society.”
Captains and the Kings has an exciting plot interwoven with a powerful message for readers with the guts to take it in.
Captains and the Kings by Taylor Caldwell
Doubleday, 1972. Book Club Edition. 695 p.
1972 bestseller #7. My grade: A
© 2018 Linda Gorton Aragoni