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Books for Adults - Fiction

No Rest for the Wicked                    In Like Flynn

Cover Art:
          No Rest for the Wicked

No Rest for the Wicked
By Lauren Smith
Dragon Media, 2019, ISBN 978-1703660197, US $11.99
Dragon Media, 2019, e-book $2.99


Kidnapped at the age of fourteen and sold to a French pirate, Dominic Greyville has long since buried what might have been and accepted life as a pirate and the fact that he can never go home. Rumors of a rich cargo lure him from Spain to the Caribbean where he seizes an English merchant ship, manned by Royal Navy men. Instead of treasure, he discovers an admiral bound for his new post, his best childhood friend, and two cabin boys who miss the boat taking the captured crew to Port Royal.

Roberta “Robbie” Harcourt craves adventure, a byproduct of being raised by her father who took her to sea after the death of her mother. When pirates attack her ship, she and her maid disguise themselves in boys’ attire. Maintaining the ruse will be difficult indeed, for Lucy is quite unnerved and not nearly as brave as her mistress. But Robbie is intent on living life to the fullest, since this may well be her last opportunity to do so before having to wed and settle down ashore.

The moment he meets Robbie, Dom knows something is odd about the lad. But coming face-to-face with Nicholas Flynn after all these years disturbs him more than he expects. To find his friend clad in the uniform of the enemy further complicates the issue. He throws Nicholas into the brig before going to confront his newest crew members. When he finally realizes the truth, he gives Robbie an ultimatum, but she’s determined to serve as his cabin boy no matter how difficult he makes the task.

What should be fun for Dominic turns out to be at first misery and then extreme danger – not only for him, but also Robbie and Lucy. The familiar pirate ship on the horizon brings with it a French monster, whose rancor has simmered for many years while he waits for the perfect time to unleash his vengeance.

One of my favorite lines in this story is Robbie’s quip, “Had the captain read that from some book entitled How to Infuriate Free and Independent Women? Perhaps he had written it.” (27) It perfectly sums up how women were treated in 1741, and how aggravating the male attitude would be for an individual like Robbie.

Smith deftly weaves pirate and maritime details into a story that brings the characters to life and transports readers back to the waning years of piracy in the Caribbean. Just when you think the romance is resolved, she adds another twist that either sends hearts soaring or plummeting, while twisting emotions into knots as intricate as those found aboard ships. Part of the Pirates of Britannia Connected World series, No Rest for the Wicked is reminiscent of swashbuckling tales of yore. It is adventure not to be missed and – in true piratical fashion – Smith includes an enticing treasure at the end that sets the stage for her next pirate adventure.

Book review Copyright ©2020 by Cindy Vallar

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Cover Art: In Like Flynn
In Like Flynn
by Lauren Smith
Independently Published, 2022, ebook ISBN 978-1-952063-80-0, US $4.99
Print ISBN 978-1-952063-81-7, US $12.99


1721. A shipwrecked galleon on the brink of sinking. An honorable pirate, Thomas Buck and his men go aboard to rescue survivors and claim any treasure. What he finds is unexpected. A newborn babe and a signet ring, the only clue to her parents’ identity. Captivated by the little girl, he vows to raise her as his own and protect her always.

(Fade to black)

1741. Brianna Holland walks the streets of Port Royal, Jamaica, dressed as a man. The disguise is a necessity in a town rife with Royal Marines and Navy men. After all she is a pirate captain and daughter of the most-wanted man in the Caribbean, the Shadow King. Getting supplies should be simple, until she spots a wanted poster bearing the likeness of her companion and a British patrol. Her diversion plan that allows him to escape leads to her own capture by a cruel captain whose eyes promise she will rue the day their paths crossed. Her only saving grace is that he thinks her a young lad named Bryan Holland, but all pirates, regardless of age, face only one outcome when caught – the hangman’s noose.

Since Holland was seen in the company of one of the Shadow King’s men, there’s a good chance the lad can lead the navy to the nefarious pirate’s lair and who better to achieve this goal than Lieutenant Nicholas Flynn? A trusted man. An honest man. A man who knows pirates since his best friend used to be one. Tossed into Holland’s cell as a fellow pirate, Nicholas is on the brink of connecting with the lad when the Marine captain appears, intent on getting information from Holland. Instinct warns Nicholas to protect the lad, which leads to a flogging that even the admiral can’t prevent unless they want their plan to go awry.

During his recovery, Nicholas realizes that Bryan isn’t really a lad, which only strengthens his resolve to protect her. With the admiral’s help, he devises a convincing plan that will allow them to escape. And put as much distance as possible between the Marine captain and Brianna. The only problem is that the more time Nicholas spends in her company the more he questions the wisdom of his assignment.

Brianna owes Flynn her life, but already the gallows awaits them. She nurses him back to health while trying to come up with an escape plan. She can get off the island, but not out of the fortress. Nicholas’s suggestion may work, if she’s willing to trust him. He did sacrifice himself for her, an act few others have done. Perhaps it’s a small enough risk that she can take a chance. After all, once she’s back aboard the Sea Serpent, she can always toss him overboard if he lies.

This second installment in the Pirates of King’s Landing series reunites characters from book one with new characters that further flesh out the Shadow King’s pirate realm. Smith skillfully interlaces humor with solemnity. Unexpected twists, including a mutiny stoked by jealousy and a merciless villain, provide a riveting roller-coaster of love versus duty and trust versus betrayal. Equally compelling is the underlying subplot that explores the enduring bonds between a parent and child. In Like Flynn is a true pirate treasure that combines seductive romance and the pragmatic realities of pirate life.*

Review Copyright ©2022 Cindy Vallar

*In the interest of full disclosure, I read and commented on an early draft of the manuscript. My review, however, is based on the published book, which I did not see or read until after publication.

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