Doctor Syn

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The Reverend Doctor Christopher Syn is the smuggler hero of a series of novels by Russell Thorndike. The first book, Doctor Syn: A Tale of the Romney Marsh was published in 1915. The story idea came from smuggling in the 18th century Romney Marsh, where brandy and tobacco were brought in at night by boat from France to avoid high tax. Minor battles were fought, sometimes at night, between gangs of smugglers, such as the Hawkhurst Gang and the Revenue, supported by the army and local militias in the South, Kent and the West, Sussex.

Contents

Character biography

Christopher Syn is portrayed as a brilliant scholar from Queen's College, Oxford, possessing swashbuckling skills such as riding, fencing, and seamanship. He was content to live the quiet life of a country vicar in Dymchurch-under-the-Wall under the patronage of Sir Charles Cobtree, the father of his best friend Anthony Cobtree, until his beautiful young Spanish wife Imogene was seduced by and eloped with Nicholas Tappitt, whom Dr. Syn had considered a close friend.

Christopher Syn set out on a quest for revenge, always managing to reach the eloped pair's destinations ahead of them just in time to terrify them against landing and facing him in a deliberate campaign of terror. While sailing from Spain to America in pursuit, his ship was captured by the pirate ship The Sulphur Pit, commanded by the Negro Captain Satan. In a one-on-one fight, Syn defeated and killed Captain Satan to take command of his ship and crew; among them was Mr. Mipps, a former Royal Navy carpenter with whom Syn had become friends in England after rescuing him from the Customs men. Mipps swore loyalty to Syn from that time onward.

With Mipps at his side, Syn turned to piracy and became a great success. Later, when his crew refused to let Syn leave, Syn and Mipps slipped away in one of the ship's boats; unknown to Syn, Mipps had arranged a convenient "accident" in the ship's powder hold with an exploding barrel of gunpowder, eliminating witnesses of Syn's piratic acts.

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