Review: Act of Pardon

Rating: Yay

Genre: Historical Romance

I don’t often get a Historical Romance in my review bin and when I do it’s a special treat because this is by far my favorite genre to read. It’s also a genre I’m super critical of because I want the ultimate experience.

Sookoo provides a good blend of action, romance, and sensuality which created a great environment for a Historical tale. Also, the environs aren’t England based and instead we find our hero and heroine navigating the Caribbean, Spanish settlements, and exotic ports for this story. I enjoyed being transported to somewhere outside of Europe and found the book easy to become immersed in. Sookoo also does a fine job of portraying a pirates life and the challenges of living by a different moral code then can be found in civilian life.

As to character development both hero, heroine, and a group of pirate secondary characters are completely three dimensional, with well established motivations, goals, and ultimately sweet, sweet conflict. Sarah is definitely a conundrum because she has to come to terms with killing, even though she was raised by a preacher and missionary. How do you justify violence and death when being taught there are better ways to solve problems? For Sarah it’s a matter of finding a way to accept our hero, Captain Adrian Westerbrooke, even if he kills men who attack his ship and whips those who don’t follow his orders. For me this is some pretty deep and tough conflict, and the resolution isn’t easy or cut and dry- just the way I like it.

One word of caution there is a violence, death of a child, and a minor moment where our heroine encounters a cat o’nine. If you’re not one to enjoy a bit of action or capable of reading a few painful, yet tastefully handled, moments this may be a book you should avoid.

 

Finally, my only challenge with this story was the formatting in the eBook. The Kindle version has some grievous formatting errors and I believe I missed multiple pages of the story because of it. Luckily, I was still able to follow the story with the pages present and I hope the author is able to revise the uploaded version in the near future.

 

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This Week’s Read: Act of Pardon

act of pardonRetribution and sorrow can bring redemption and salvation if you look hard enough.

The year is 1814 and piracy is drawing to an end in the Caribbean yet Sarah Covington, a disenchanted missionary’s daughter, has a plan to kill the pirate who murdered her father and fiancé. When the assassination attempt goes horribly wrong, she’s taken aboard the Lady Catherine as prisoner. Though she’s forced to embrace a life of degradation and subservience by the very pirate she tried to kill, he stirs passions she never knew she harbored.

Adrian Westerbrooke captains the Lady Catherine but not by choice. Officially a privateer under England’s protection, he has his own agenda and will take down targets for the highest bidder. The only problem is the beautifully flawed Sarah. He’ll try everything in his power to break her spirit and make her bow before his. At sea, his word is law, no matter how much she intrigues his mind and inflames his body.

Yet Sarah possesses a stubbornness that matches his own, on deck and in the bedroom, and a battle of wills begins. As trust grows, so does their desire–whether they can survive the threats at sea while working through their differences is up to faith… and perhaps love.

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Author Interview: Freebooter’s Chris Turner

We’re happy to have Chris Turner here to talk more about Freebooter and his fantasy series.

1. Baus is definitely the king of anti-hero’s, what were your inspirations for writing the character?

While reading a lot of different fantasy, I noted it was always those characters who were off the wall that got under my skin, i.e. the ones with mischievous natures and a grey area built up around them.  The more these qualities they had, the more they fascinated me…The concept of the anti-hero is a dangerous area for any author to explore, especially in any longer work.  Over the years I’ve had a healthy inspiration of Jack Vance, Alexander Dumas and Fritz Leiber as well as Andy Kaufman in the comedy arena…

2. I really liked the character of Valere, are there any plans for his story in the future? 

Yes.  Other readers have expressed that they too liked Valere.  He develops in Book II, Freebooter as a character rich in experience and stability.  He ends up being a major player in this series, actually as a foil to Baus.  There exists a bond between him and Baus, the main character, that is sometimes very intense, yet always supportive, even though the two are really rogues.  Both are comrades in exile—Valere is the older and somewhat veteran vagabond outlaw of the party, who many times serves as the seasoned voice that stops Baus from completely going off into deep water. Like other characters in the story, the twain’s past history is less important than their ongoing deeds and the situations they get themselves embroiled in.

3. What research did you do for this book and did you find the world building difficult or easy? 

I have always been a fan of medieval fantasy.  As a result, I’ve soaked up a lot of old world facts and figures, similarly no small amount of historical fiction. I researched a lot of old ships for Book II—caravels, windjammers and whatnot, tales of pirates, finding out what weapons they used, how they fought, what was important to them, and how hellish it was to be on those majestic ships sailing for weeks on end, with the law close on their heels.  Oddly enough, a lot of the magical powers that come into play by Book III were derived from descriptions of yogic ‘siddhis’, though more as a dark parody, best evidenced by Aurimag the magician.

The ‘outlaw’ archetype has always intrigued me too.  Robin Hood, as a classic example, is almost ‘too good’ a character for where I wanted to take ‘Rogues’.  I wanted a character that was really unpredictable, one who really had no scruples, who also could get away with almost anything and be completely a joker at times, not assessing or caring about the heap of trouble he stirred up.  This was the glue I needed to keep the reader guessing at every step…

As for world-building, I will be the first to admit that it is no easy pastime.  Everything has to be visualized in minute detail.  The setting has to be consistent to the reader, while at the same time integrating with the story and the characters.  The process is so engrossing, that even while working day by day for a lot of years, I must admit that it didn’t really feel like work. I could dwell in those worlds.  I could see the story unfold in greater detail week by week, visualize every seaside cliff, every wild island, gleaming palace, colourful market, prison cell, game and trick played, sea-battle and skirmish, strife and conquest, rivalry and grievance, and weirdly ironic situation.  After throwing in a backdrop of bizarre dialogue, I felt the package complete.  It was a lot of fun (minus the editing!..)

4. As a fantasy writer what is your biggest goal when composing your novels?

To be somewhat original.  This is very challenging in today’s world of wall to wall fantasy numbering in the tens of thousands of titles.  Writing a story that has a lasting impression and is entertaining is a close second.  There may be a lot of readers who will have a double-take reading ‘Rogues’, simply because the style is unorthodox and revolves around an uncharacteristic flamboyance of language, but that is the price to be paid, in my opinion, for a certain flavour of originality.  And after having said this, I would not have done it any another way.

5. Finally, how many books about Baus and his adventures are available and can we expect more? 

Rogues of Bindar is a trilogy consisting of the books: Wolfshead, Freebooter and Redeemer.  The saga is complete by Book III.  An omnibus version exists.  Yes, there is scope for more continuing adventures of Baus, which I hope to write in the future…However, that is a major undertaking and will require more than a few years of planning.

Author Bio:

Visual artist, meditator, writer of fantasy, adventure and SF.

Chris’s books include: The Relic Retriever, The Rogues of Bindar series, Future Destinies, Fantastic Realms and Denibus Ar.

Chris is also a prolific painter, with nearly a thousand oil art works to his name. He has also been involved in extensive studio recording, guitar and keyboard. After graduating from University of Waterloo in Computer Science in the ‘90s he backpacked and biked throughout Europe and Asia before teaching computer programming courses in Ottawa, Canada. Visit Chris at his website

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Review: Freebooter (Rogues of Bindar)- Landra’s Take

Rating: Nay

Genre: Fantasy

I love fantasy and I love anti-heroes. The idea of an outlaw forced into a situation he doesn’t want to be involved (example: Han Solo) is a definite point of interest for me. Unfortunately, Turner’s Baus the Bold didn’t inspire me. He’s a rogue, a thief, and not a nice guy under any circumstances. Baus is also the cause for his own misfortune and any attempt at overcoming his King Douche crown is thwarted by his own personal desires. The character experiences no real growth in the story.

When it comes to other characters, I enjoyed the swarmy, dastardly crew of the Last Laugh ship. My real interest lie in the one character not given much air time, Valere. Somehow this halfway decent guy throws his lot in with Baus and according to the anti-hero, Valere and Baus had a previous misadventure in the first book of this series.

As to the rest, I found barbarians and pirates with little intellect using words too big for their vocabulary. This threw me off as ‘intransigence’ and ‘incongruous’ and an assorted motley crew of descriptors filled the pages. I will say it created an interesting read, but at times too much description made the sentences bloated and more lengthy then needed.

Finally, with fantasy novels comes world building and I have to say the Turner did world build. The world itself was enormous, and I found it a struggle sometime to keep up with all the character names, places, and histories. But I did enjoy the creativity level with the weaponry, ships and the fighting sequences.

Overall, I think this book could’ve used some stiff editing, plot tightening, and a little less descriptive prose. I will say that Turner has a knack for writing pirates and the nitty gritty. There was some bold writing for sure, and while this really wasn’t a fit for me (I’m really picky with my fantasy) other fantasy lovers may be enamored with this story.

This Week’s Read: Freebooter by Chris Turner

_freebooter13.4_kindleGripping rogue action: a controversial anti-hero’s race against time.

Indoctrinated into a pirate cabal notorious on the high seas, a fugitive-outlaw struggles for his life against sea rogues and in ship-to-ship battles against the mighty Arnin, Prince of northern Bindar.

In the thick of the fray, he and his two battle-hardened cronies give aid to the Princess of Sloe, who is fleeing from an unwanted marriage.

The outlaw’s questionable means and illicit magic-wielding arouse dissension in his entourage. The conniver’s destiny unfolds in a struggle of wits and swordplay against formidable forces.

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