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


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Books for Adults - Fiction

Cover Art: The Barbary
        Pirates
The Barbary Pirates
By William Dietrich
Harper, 2010, ISBN 978-0-06-156796-4, US $25.99

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In spite of his best intentions, adventurer and treasure hunter Ethan Gage has a knack for attracting trouble. These entanglements are fraught with serpentine twists and turns, as well as some violence, but he always manages to extricate himself from these tricky encounters, although not necessarily without consequences. This is no less true in Ethanís latest encounter, The Barbary Pirates. This time around his companions are three savants: William Smith, Georges Cuvier, and Robert Fulton.
 
After I trapped three scientists in a fire I set in a brothel, enlisted them in the theft of a stampeding wagon, got them arrested by the French secret police, and then mired them in a mystic mission for Bonaparte, they began to question my judgment.
 
The tale begins in France, but soon voyages to Venice, the Mediterranean, and Tripoli. When Napoleon Bonaparte partakes in a bit of arm twisting, Gage and his friends find themselves corralled into locating an ancient treasure, the Mirror of Archimedes. But the emperor isnít the only one who wants this weapon. Ethanís nemesis and ex-lover, Aurora Somerset, covets the death ray. With the assistance of the Egyptian Rite and Barbary pirates, she orchestrates a plan that soon turns Gageís simple, undercover expedition into a far more complicated and dangerous one. Ultimately, Ethan must decide whether to sacrifice his friends and family or his country. Or is there a way to defeat his enemies, rescue those he cherishes most, and remain a loyal American?
 
This engaging adventure keeps you riveted to the edge of your seat from opening page to the last. At times you shake your head at the overwhelming absurdity of what occurs, but Dietrich never once betrays your trust as a reader. No matter how preposterous the situation, it remains believable. You are alongside Gage and the three savants as they escape from the fire, get trapped in a coffin, are shackled in the depths of a dungeon, or travel underwater in a submarine. You wonder whether youíll escape with your life, even though you sit safely at home in the twenty-first century.

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Review Copyrighted ©2010 Cindy Vallar


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