Historian and novelist Margaret Muir responded gallantly to my implicit challenge for readers to produce their own "Ten Best Books of 2014" list.
She warns us that they might not appeal to all, but here they are:
A slather of works by Rafael Sabotini, all available free online -- Scaramouche, Captain Blood, The Sea Hawk, The Snare, The Sword of Islam and a Collection of his other works.
Far from the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy (free online: hit the link)
'Bounty' (Captain Bligh's) Log book.
'Narrative of the most extraordinary ....' by Owen Chase (Chase's actual narrative of the sinking of the whaleship 'Essex' which inspired the story of Moby Dick).