Mark Keating

Add to shortlist




Mark Keating was born in North London and has spent most of his life working around the South East selling everything from comic-books to champagne. He now lives and works in Windsor, Berkshire with his partner and son.

For more information about the book, please visit

Latest publication:


1721. A ship from India carries the viceroy of Goa back to Lisbon. Traversing the Indian Ocean, a favoured haunt for pirates, is risky business.

Olivier Levasseur, a pirate known throughout the wrong corners of the world as The Buzzard has captured the Virgin of the Cape, a Portuguese treasure ship. It is the largest pirate haul ever taken on any sea. And the sound of it rings around the earth.

With the fall of the South Sea Company the trade upon the waters has grown thin for pirates and the pirate Devlin knows that more than most. His hand in its fall finally to be paid for.

John Coxon, Devlin's former master and sworn enemy, has been brought out from retirement to hunt him down, and when he finds out that it is the treasure of Levasseur that the pirate is after so much the better.

Cross of Fire tells the true story of the fabled treasure of Olivier Levasseur, a legend which tantalises treasure hunters to this day.

From the secret societies of London to the slave forts of Africa and the mysterious islands of the Indian ocean, Cross of Fire brings Devlin and Coxon full circle and begins Devlin's final journey against the empires and men that would have him dead. 



'The Pirate Devlin is top-quality historical fiction. Mark Keating knows his... period inside-out, and his stylish prose and devilish plot fold it into a gripping read. This is the start of something big.'  Harry Sidebottom, author of the Warrior of Rome series


'Superbly vivid...set to be the SHARPE of the high seas'  Saul David, author of  Zulu Hart


'Keating's pirates are no mere escapees from a Disney thrill ride; they're bloodthirsty, cruel, and sadistic to a man. The author seems hell-bent on restoring the pirate to his formerly fearsome berserker glory. And in this rousing swashbuckler he resoundingly succeeds' Publishers Weekly


“A richly rewarding tale of piracy on the high seas and the pursuit of French treasure,” Books of the Year, Oxford Times


"Keating's latest novel continues his insight into the pirate life with technical seafaring detail, bloody sea battles, treasure hunts and exotic settings. High adventure does not get much better than this." Sunday Canberra Times 

"Devlin is an anti-hero to savour . . . fearless and flawed, ruthless and roguish but with all the endearing honour that traditionally flourishes among fictional thieves." Lancashire Evening Post

"A swashbuckling 18th Century adventure . . . sure to delight both fans of Sharpe and Hornblower" Peterborough Evening Telegraph 


Publication DetailsNotes


Sold by his father for four guineas, Patrick Devlin was working as a servant to Royal Navy Captain John Coxon when he was catpured by pirates. Now, Devlin has himself become one of the most feared pirates in the world - and Coxon his most bitter foe.

But in this thrilling new historical adventure it is not gold that Devlin is chasing, but something even more valuable.

The early 18th Century is obsessed with the flavours of the New World - coffee and chocolate. And only one material enables the kings, queens and rising middle classes of Europe to drink without burning their fingers on the handles of their cups - Chinese porcelain.

In a brilliant conspiracy story reaching from the unknown empires of the East to the restless new colonies of America, a letter has gone missing. In the letter lies the formula for the manufacture of Chinese porcelain, and whoever can find the letter can name his price - and even change the course of history, by enriching the nation that owns the secret.

Valentim Mendes, a Portugese noble who has crossed swords with Devlin before, now seeks to blackmail him into finding the letter. And wherever Devlin goes, his nemesis Coxon is never far behind.



As the great powers of Europe fight over the spoils of slavery, corruption and greed, the golden age of piracy is born.

Sold by his father as a child for four guineas, captain's servant Patrick Devlin knows how cheap a man's life can be.

But his instinct for survival is strong, and when his master's ship by pirates, Devlin makes his choice - to trade his servile existence for a life of dangerous liberty. As he learns to adapt to his brutal new world, he watches men who would once have been his masters fall dead at his feet. Eventually, he finds himself captain of the very ship that took down the vessel of the man he once served - Captain John Coxon - who, disgraced and dissatisfied, hungers to return to the sea and take his revenge.

And when His Majesty's Government and the East India Company hear of the Pirate Devlin, and that he is in pursuit of a secret French cargo of gold bullion, it is Coxon they send to bring his former dog to heel.