CUBA AND THE AMERICAN CIVIL WAR
Book Launch: Harbor of Spies: A Novel of Historic Havana
Harbor of Spies: A Novel of Historic Havana is an historical thriller set in Cuba at the height of the Civil War when Havana harbor was alive with blockade runners, spies and slave traders. Robin Lloyd will be speaking about the history behind his new seafaring novel and explain why he was inspired to write it. He will explain why Havana was one of the most important foreign ports for the Confederacy. His talk will feature a power point presentation filled with period paintings, lithographs, and photographs of Havana harbor, the city of old Havana and the ships that formed the Naval blockade in the Gulf of Mexico as well as those vessels that dared to try to pass through it. His talk will explain why most of the hundreds of sailing schooners leaving Havana harbor were able to evade Union steamships despite the real disadvantage of relying on the wind.
Robin Lloyd has worked in television journalism for over 40 years. As a former foreign correspondent for NBC News, he reported from conflict zones in Latin America, Africa and the Middle East. He won an Overseas Press Award for his coverage of the wars in Central America, and four regional Emmys for his documentary work as an independent news producer. Robin Lloyd’s knowledge of maritime history brings to life a forgotten epoch when colonial Havana was flush with sugar wealth and filled with signs of the American Civil War.
The story begins in 1863. The Civil War arrived in Havana harbor in the form of hundreds of ships, bringing intrigue and treachery to this Spanish colonial port. Scores of sailors, former soldiers, spies, rogue adventurers and confederates joined the ranks of Havana’s profiteering merchants to run contraband in past the Union Navy’s blockading ships. A young American ship captain, Everett Townsend gets drawn into danger after rescuing an escaped English prisoner. Blackmailed into smuggling cargo through the Union blockade, Townsend gathers a crew and follows his assignment while pondering his moral quandary. The shipboard action intertwines with a British diplomat’s unresolved murder and a mystery involving Townsend’s late Cuban mother. Beyond the portrayal of blockade running and the role of Havana in the Civil War, the novel is also about a young man coming to terms with the unpleasant secrets within his own family even as he uncovers the dark details and reasons behind a man’s murder.