Harbor of Spies: A Novel of Historic Havana A presentation by Robin Lloyd
Harbor of Spies: A Novel of Historic Havana is an historical suspense novel set in Cuba at the height of the Civil War. Havana, one of the most important foreign ports for the Confederacy, was then alive with blockade runners, spies and slave traders. The protagonist is a deeply conflicted young man who was kicked out of the Naval Academy in the middle of the Civil War and who goes to Cuba to find a way forward. Bitter, resentful and confused, he travels to Cuba, as the first mate and then captain of a merchant ship, looking for answers about his own life and some trace of his recently deceased mother’s past. As soon as he arrives, he rescues a man from the sea outside Havana harbor who turns out to be a prison escapee. This one act of kindness draws him into dangerous matters beyond his control. He gets ensnared in a mystery about an English diplomat who was murdered years earlier in his home in Havana. This murder of George Backhouse in 1855 was real and was never solved.
Robin Lloyd’s illustrated talk with period paintings, lithographs, and photographs will reveal the history and inspiration behind his new seafaring novel, and show period images of old Havana, its harbor, the ships that formed the Naval blockade in the Gulf of Mexico, and those that dared to try to pass through it. The talk will tell the story of Cuba’s role in the American Civil War and reveal why Havana was one of the most important foreign ports supplying the Confederacy.
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. His 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. His first novel, Rough Passage to London, was inspired by the adventures of his seafaring ancestor, Captain Elisha Ely Morgan, who spent thirty years at sea, making more than one hundred voyages across the Atlantic. Lloyd and his wife divide their time between Chevy Chase, Maryland and Camden, Maine.
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Since 2000, the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum has featured many artifacts and stories to share the history of the Santa Barbara Channel with more than 40,000 visitors annually and provides year-round experiential maritime history and marine science education for local youth. Featuring the impressive First-Order Fresnel Lighthouse Lens from Point Conception, SBMM's current exhibits explore the History of Oil in Santa Barbara Channel & Chumash Use of Asphaltum, the Honda Disaster, and Wives and Daughters: Keepers of the Light.
SBMM is located at the historic Santa Barbara Harbor at 113 Harbor Way, Suite 190, Santa Barbara, CA 93109. Visit sbmm.org or call (805) 962-8404 for details