Cindy Vallar, Editor & Reviewer
P.O. Box 425, Keller, TX 76244-0425
Books for Adults - FictionGentlemen and Fortune Bloody Seas
Gentlemen and Fortune
By TS Rhodes
CreateSpace, 2013, ISBN 978-1484162528,
Also available in e-book format
Life as a pirate should be simple – find a ship, attack it, and abscond with its cargo. But sailing aboard the Donnybrook with Scarlet MacGrath and her motley crew of men and women is anything but simple. First, there’s not enough liquor, which leads them to the mainland to trade with the Donnelly brothers. Although she fancies Conner Donnelly, his brothers tend to cause more difficulties than a hurricane sweeping through the Caribbean. And this time they draw Scarlet and her crew into a conflict with Red Ned Doyle, who’s a bloody angry pirate who’d rather shoot you than suffer your existence.
Then there’s the summons from the Governor of Nassau, Henry Avery, the King of the Pirates. Defending the brethren’s empire has become complicated what with the arrival of the new Jamaican governor whose mission is to hunt scurvy rogues who plague the seas. So Avery wishes to enlist the aid of Tortuga’s corrupt governor. The request to deliver a tantalizing bribe seems like an easy-enough request, until Captain Robert Davenport of the Royal Navy bursts in and arrests the governor of Tortuga. Scarlet knows only too well that her disguise as Lady Fitzgerald won’t hold up to scrutiny, and the last thing she wants is to dance the hempen jig. So escaping Davenport’s clutches is her only option – a complicated task since her disguise didn’t allow her to bring her usual sword and pistols.
And if those aren’t sufficient complications, there’s Sam Bellamy’s suggestion of sailing in consort to plunder larger, more heavily-laden prizes. A ship full of kidnapped ailing Irish men, women, and children – not to mention the Catholic priest – bound for the slave market on Martinique isn’t quite the treasure Scarlet and the Donnybrooks were hoping for. Since most of them Irish, their anger is further riled when they learn other kinsmen are soon to be sold. But the pirates can’t very well storm the market and free the Irish slaves.
From the Moskito Coast on the Spanish mainland to the pirate haven at New Providence, Scarlet and her merry men and women unleash not only their guns but also the occasional island conjuring in hopes of living the happy life of pirates. It may be a good one, but there's definitely nothing simple about it. To further spice up this adventure, Rhodes adds dashes of French privateers, an unscrupulous representative of the East India Company, and a native uprising. Her memorable characters sweep readers back to the last decade of the seventeenth century into a world where pirates rule and life is fraught with all kinds of danger. Gentlemen and Fortune is a rollicking swashbuckler, but be forewarned: Ye best be havin' sufficient doubloons to purchase the second book in The Pirate Empire series, if ye dinna wish to be left hangin'.
By TS RhodesCreateSpace, 2013, ISBN 978-1490368290, $9.95
Also available in e-book format
When we left Scarlet MacGrath and the Donnybrooks at the end of Gentlemen and Fortune, our stalwart pirates faced a native uprising on the Moskito Coast. Conner Donnelly blames her for the problem. After all, didn’t they bring the Irish and their priest, who’s erecting a church? Which has the chief and his followers in an uproar. Another complication Scarlet doesn’t need, especially since she’s brought more settlers to the cove.
Once she’s able to resolve those differences – but not before blood is shed – the Donnybrook returns to plundering the Caribbean. Much to the dismay of Captain John of the Alice. While ransacking his cabin, Scarlet discovers Celeste Moreau, a French maid who ran from her employer and whom the captain has been misusing. Always a sucker for the underdog, Scarlet rescues Celeste, who joins the Donnybrooks, and the pirates continue hunting for prey.
What they encounter next, however, is an enemy beyond their wildest imaginings. War canoes with vicious natives, perhaps cannibals, attack another vessel. Rather than draw their attention and possibly become their next victims, the pirates decide to sail away. But the wind dies. Overcoming this terrorizing dilemma requires every iota of outside-the-box thinking Scarlet can muster, but she, her second in command, and several others fall during the attack.
Confined to her bunk, or face the reality of dying, Scarlet allows her crew to attack a new prize without her. But the capture goes awry and the only one who can save the Donnybrooks is Scarlet. Yet she barely has enough strength to load her pistol let alone find her way topside.
A sinking ship, an iron stove, a threat of mutiny, and the approach of a Royal Navy ship add further dashes of spice to the continuing escapades of the pirates in this second installment in the series. The non-stop action, which resembles a roller coaster twisting and turning, ascending and plummeting, barely allows you to catch your breath before the characters face another sticky wicket. Rhodes wonderfully captures pirate life as it truly was, rather than making it appear like the romantic existence Hollywood often does. Be forewarned: You may have trouble waiting for the next installment in Scarlet MacGrath's swashbuckling adventures, but not venturing into the dangerous waters of The Pirate Empire is the mark of a coward.
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