Saturday, August 25, 2012

New Review: Lauren Renken’s NIGHT SHADOW – Pirate Adventure on the Spanish Main!

Set in the Caribbean and the Spanish Main (aboard a Spanish Galleon and then in Puerto Bella, Panama), it tells the story of two families with a legacy of treachery, violence and hate, one English and one Spanish. Liandra Ramirez, half sister to El Condor, head of the Spanish fleet, is traveling with her family on the way to see her mother in Puerta Bella when a storm wrecks her ship and sweeps the captain and some of the crew overboard. To save the ship and their lives, she is forced to free the prisoners, one of whom is an English captain, Marcus Drake. Marcus, the second son of a British earl, has a long history as a pirate and he and his brother, Talon, have a price on his head. He lives to rejoin his brother and clear their family name.

Renken tells a complex tale that began with MY LORD PIRATE (about Marcus’ older brother) and finishes with HEART OF THE CONDOR (about Liandra’s brother Gabriel). You probably will want to read all three as they are related though this can be a stand-alone. There’s lots of adventure here with pirates and the Spanish officers hunting them. There are some wonderful secondary characters, including a priest and a Spanish nobleman who is in disguise.

I loved Marcus; he’s a strong though troubled man. Liandra was a bit confusing at times, sometimes strong and clear (she is good with a sword and horses and healing), and at other times she comes across as naïve and a bit muddled in her thinking. (She has some learning disability that keeps her from reading and writing.) Still in all, it is enjoyable and I can recommend it.

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