Juan David Morgan

Between Honor and the Sword

Penguin Random House, 2022

London, 1685. Captain Morgan initiates a trial that seeks to clear his name after being defamed by a publication that chronicled his adventures in America. The testimonials go on which becomes the vehicle for the reader to discover how his raids consolidated the conquest of Jamaica and peaked in the taking of Panama. The leader of the English privateers accumulates wealth, recognition and women as he achieves many victories, but success is not always bound to honor and his tactics become questioned by many.

 Sir Henry Morgan not only faced the ravages of war, he also had to deal with the vagaries of English politics, on the one hand making peace treaties with Spain and, on the other, allowing the attacks in the Caribbean in order to seize the rich Spanish treasures.

An extraordinary historical novel based on a true story that portrays a controversial figure and simultaneously leads to a captivating journey through the ports and cities of the Caribbean.


“In this novel, which attracts by its realism and good literary quality, we see the figure of Henry Morgan as an adventurer, a man of action who wants to retire but feels that the desire for much wanted rest pales in comparison to the desire of increasing his assets and defending his nation and its glory. He is also a man who will fight in the courts to defend his honor when he feels that a Dutch writer has denigrated his behavior after his taking of Portobelo and Panama… “


“The author could not leave out romance and readers will appreciate the tender and sometimes torrid scenes Between Henry with his wife Mary Elizabeth, who preferred to make love with her beautiful pale blue eyes wide open to then close them in search of some rest. I wish readers what the privateers wished each other upon setting sail: “Fair winds and good hunting.”

Aristides Royo  – Ex-President of Panama and essayist.  Member of the Panamanian Academy of Language.

“Henry Morgan files a lawsuit for defamation against some editors who published a book of piracy describing the atrocities committed by him in the American seas. A pirate suing booksellers (birds shooting shotguns). Tremendous occurrence, I thought-and an imaginative and bold way to structure a novel for whom, besides being a novelist, is a lawyer. When I asked Juan David how he had found such occurrence, I learned that, once again, reality surpassed fiction, because as they say in the countryside, it happens that the trial actually took place. And the amazing thing is that it was the first trial in the history of England in which an individual sued another individual for defamation before the King’s Court. 

And it is this trial that grabs the reader, not only because the novel begins with the actual process but also because it serves as a vehicle to recreate the life of Henry Morgan. With a witty and entertaining construction, the life of Morgan and the trial move in parallel, intertwined and of equal interest to the reader, so much so that sometimes one wants to hurry up and finish a chapter that narrates the life of our main character to see how the trial is going, and other times one wants to do the same with a chapter about the trial to continue learning about the life of Morgan. 

 Between honor and the sword is at the same time, even though Juan David denies it, a book about piracy, which describes the life, happenings, ambitions, joys, perversions, feelings, frustrations, excesses and loves of these men who sailed the seas in search of fame and fortune. “

Jorge Eduardo Ritter – Lawyer, member of the Panamanian Academy of Language, former Foreign Minister and former Minister of the Canal, Panama 

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