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The History of Maritime Piracy

Cindy Vallar, Editor & Reviewer
P.O. Box 425, Keller, TX  76244-0425


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          The Pirate Lord
The Pirate Lord
By Vanda Vadas
Random House Australia, 2015, e-Book ISBN 9780857989185, AUD $4.99 / US $3.40 / CAN $3.46 / £1.99

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To escape the persistent Duke of Arlington, who wishes to wed her, Lady Eloise Blakely steps outside for fresh air. The party to celebrate her twentieth birthday should be festive, but the evening is also the tenth anniversary of her parents’ death. Guilt continues to gnaw at her, for she believes herself responsible because she pleaded with her father to save her beloved horse from the blazing barn. Although her brother, Julian, has encouraged Gareth Fenton’s pursuit, she has no wish to marry for convenience. Hers must be a marriage of true love, just as their parents’ was. She is grateful to Gareth for saving Julian’s life the night of the fire, but she regards the duke as no more than a second brother.
When a masked man, dressed all in black to blend with the night, emerges from the shadows, she should raise the alarm. Instead she confronts him, and before bidding adieu, he steals a kiss and leaves. Even though it would be better to alert her brother – especially since a thief has taken some of the thoroughbred horses that he raises – she pursues the masked intruder alone and falls, hitting her head and blacking out. She regains consciousness the next morning, only to discover she is blind.

For ten years, Miles Zachary Fenton has lived in exile, a fugitive in England. His half-brother, Gareth, killed their father and blamed Miles for that death as well as for the fire that killed Eloise’s parents. He has spent the intervening years living as a pirate named Zach, whom even the brethren of the coast fear, and plotting retribution so one day he can reclaim his rightful place in society. He is but one step away from achieving his goal when he happens upon Eloise, and their kiss awakens a part of him he thought long dead. But he has worked too hard and too long to forsake his plans for a lusty kiss. While his accomplice heads to London to finalize the last stages of his revenge, Miles dons the guise of a highwayman to rob his brother.

Gareth escorts Eloise to an eye specialist to determine whether her blindness is temporary or permanent. Rather than face the impending bankruptcy, brought about by his passion for gambling and whoring, he takes the opportunity to renew his pursuit of her. He has loved her for years, and her dowry will provide him access to her wealth so he can prevent the scandal threatening him. The appearance of the masked robber thwarts those plans. He steals Gareth’s ducal ring as well as Eloise.

While Julian pursues her kidnapper and delves into the mysterious theft of his horses, Eloise finds herself falling in love with Zach. No matter how he feels about her, Miles refuses to allow legal authorities to deal with the wrongs his brother has committed. He will mete out his own justice, even if it means losing Eloise in the process.

This historical romance is set in 1744 and takes place in England and the Caribbean. Although a portion takes place at sea, The Pirate Lord is not a typical pirate story and the plundering is done off stage. Some details of Miles’ life as a pirate and privateer are revealed, but the nautical events pertain more to life aboard his ship and a fierce storm that involves a riveting rescue. The character’s habit of exclaiming “Sail the stars!” sometimes encroaches into several scenes, and may pull the reader out of the story. The plot and subplots are easily followed and quite plausible. The only intrusion occurs in chapter twenty-one, where Eloise’s mistrust, reactions, and willingness to believe others rather than her own eyes and heart are difficult to believe this late in the book. Readers who overlook this minor flaw, however, will find The Pirate Lord a captivating tale of intrigue, betrayal, and love filled with lots of swashbuckling adventure.
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Review Copyrighted ©2015 Cindy Vallar
   
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