Cindy Vallar, Editor & Reviewer
P.O. Box 425, Keller, TX 76244-0425
Books for Pirate Apprentices and Young Adults
This exciting young adult fantasy plucks a boy from the present day back to the Age of Pirates. Actually, this Age of Pirates is mostly in an alternate reality where magical powers are wielded as weapons and other powers abound.
The author uses excellent descriptions that provide vivid mental pictures of places and sights the protagonists experience throughout the story. The magical places in Simon’s alternate reality are both fascinating to behold and believable enough as you go on this adventure.
In the Prologue, set in 1715, we meet Jonathan Every aboard a ship bound for London. He’s trying to escape the dreaded pirate, Jem Slayer, but senses his nearing presence. Before Jonathan can convince the ship’s captain of this, Slayer and his ship appear and come alongside. Despite offering no resistance, the captain is murdered. Slayer has a flaming sword and to do battle with him Jonathan draws his own flaming blade from a sword-shaped mark on his body. But Slayer and his magic are too much for Jonathan. Rather than lose the power of his sword to Slayer he drives it into his own stomach. Before dying Every tells Slayer he hopes an ancestor will be strong enough to defeat him someday.
The story begins in present-day California. On the first page we meet Sam Every and get to know him through his inner voice. As the story unfolds his thoughts, emotions, memories, and dreams are shared with the reader as a silent narrator. As for Sam, he thinks of himself as a thirteen-year-old “skinny violin-playing orchestra nerd.”(1) He’s definitely not the hero type. But he does have a large birthmark on his back that looks like a sword!
Imagine his surprise as things start happening that point to his being the “Chosen One” to save some kidnapped children and the fate of the world as he knows it. A girl named Sarah has come to bring him back in time to defeat Jem Slayer. Despite his doubts and fears Sam consents to leave everything and everyone behind and face his dangerous legacy!
They arrive at New Providence in 1718. Although once a lawless settlement of pirates and merchants, now it is home to Governor Woodes Rogers, British soldiers, planters, and those former pirates who took the King’s Pardon. Around the harbor are signs of recent damage and mournful souls.
Sarah explains that Slayer, aboard the Reaper, attacked the town and took the children. She then tells Sam about a dangerous mythical sword Slayer may have located and how he needs to sacrifice twenty innocent children to control the sword. Sarah also tells Sam how a Chosen One with the mark of the sword will come and is the only one who can defeat Slayer. When Sam expresses his disbelief that he could be this Chosen One, Sarah insists he has strong magic he must learn to use.
Thus begins the perilous quest to locate the mythical sword and defeat Slayer. Along the way they meet and travel with a mysteriously helpful man named Thaddeus Milan. Together they encounter Captain Charles Vane with his crew of cutthroats and the reformed pirate Captain Benjamin Hornigold with his crew of pirate hunters aboard the Ranger. Both captains are lavishly dressed and well-armed, as you would expect. They also have a run-in with Slayer that destroys the boat they’re using.
All through the book the Age of Piracy is brought to life. The pardoned pirates on New Providence stagger out of taverns still holding their drinks while others cry after Slayer’s attack. A sailor calls another a “scurvy dog.” Vane’s crewmen are drinking when they should be on lookout and even the now-honorable Ben Hornigold can’t resist playing a prank to entertain his crew.
The different dangers Sam and Sarah encounter help Sam learn about the powers of his sword and how to use his magic. More importantly, they give Sam the opportunity to change from an “orchestra nerd” to a stronger, braver person prepared to face the challenges ahead.
Events pick up speed once they near the location of the mythical sword. The things revealed during the final confrontation with Slayer and the outcome of the battle itself leave readers shocked, surprised, and hooked to read the next book in the series.
Read Darren Simon's article about writing The Dangerous Legacy
Review Copyrighted ©2016 Irwin Bryan
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