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Publisher's Summary

From the mid-1650s through the 1660s, Henry Morgan, a pirate and outlaw of legendary viciousness, ruled the Spanish Main. He ravaged the coasts of Cuba and America, striking terror wherever he went. Morgan was obsessive. He had two driving ambitions: to possess the beautiful woman called La Santa Roja and to conquer Panama, the "cup of gold".

Steinbeck's first novel and sole work of historical fiction, Cup of Gold is a lush, lyrical swashbuckling pirate fantasy, and sure to add new dimensions to listeners' perceptions of this all-American writer.

This edition features an introduction by Susan F. Beegel.

©2008 John Steinbeck (P)2015 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

"Narrator Ronan Vibert's bravura performance enhances the poetry and romance of Steinbeck's first book.... He imbues the dialogue with quiet, intense emotion but stays appropriate to the characters and their situations. This restrained passion adds energy and color to the text, and draws the listener in.... Vibert does this minor work in the Steinbeck canon proud, turning the book into a play performed in the intimacy of the listener's mind." (AudioFile)

What listeners say about Cup of Gold

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Not your usual Steinbeck novel

Raw and honest like Tortilla Flats and Cannery Row, but with a distinct romantic style.

An intimate psychological portrait, bordering on the surreal.

Presages authors like William Vollmann and Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

4 people found this helpful

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  • 08-29-15

Good, could have been better

Well told, skips over most of Morgan's pirate career in favor of fictional romance and mystical character exposition.

3 people found this helpful

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Good read but sad and unfulfilling

If you want the happy ending, this is not for you. It is well written and interesting and has fun pirates. The character development is strange and hard to follow towards the end but the writing is beautiful out of context.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Early Steinbeck Magical Realism

This pleasant first Steinbeck is a fictionalization of the historical pirate Henry Morgan. It is quite different than the rest of Steinbeck's fiction...Less stark, with romance and adventure. It is far from my favorite Steinbeck but I nevertheless enjoyed it quite a bit. The prose are excellent if the characters are a bit thin.

The narration was good, but not exceptional.

1 person found this helpful

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Impressive Start, But After That….

I love the first section of the book: the way Steinbeck paints Morgan’s childhood, home life, and relationship to his family and native culture is fantastic. Also, there’s so much mystic energy in this section. I wish the author would have kept this element woven in as the story progressed. Instead it just got darker and darker along the way until the ‘personality’ of Morgan was only just a sketch that was hard to care about. But, all the same, an impressive start for Steinbeck, fun to see how we wrote his first novel, knowing the output that was to come later.

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A different kind of Steinbeck

Some of the writing was little too flowery, but it was an interesting deviation from Steinbeck’s other work. It does make me want to listen to other buccaneer books though!

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Nice story by the early Steinbeck.

A romantic adventure with sad end. Pirates, ships, rum smell and tobacco smoke mixed with love and passions.