Friday, February 22, 2013

New Review: Cordia Byers’s PIRATE ROYALE – Absorbing 17th Century Pirate Story

A classic tale of adventure and love, first published in 1986, it is set in the late 17th century and featuring (as a character) the pirate and privateer Henry Morgan and his buccaneers who successfully attacked the Spanish settlements of Puerto Principe in Cuba and Porto Bello (in what is today Panama).

She was John Carrington’s daughter, and as such, Royale Carrington commanded the respect of the seamen who served under her when she dressed as a man and wielded a sword with fierce expertise. As captain of her own ship, she was prepared to fight King Charles II’s wardship and refusal to grant her a letter of marque and took to the sea as a pirate robbing the Spanish of their gold. But on the night before they were to set sail, Royale was kidnapped by men who sailed under the pirate El Diablo thinking she’d make a fine offering for their mysterious captain. El Diablo asks for a kiss to release her but then takes her innocence instead (seduction, not rape). He decides to keep her, but she has other plans.

One of the things I loved about this story was that Royale got away from the pirate who captured her. I just love it when the feisty heroine outsmarts the arrogant male who thinks he will have his way. El Diablo (who is really Sir Bran Langston on a mission for King Charles) soon realizes that the young virgin he has deflowered is the ward of the King he has been sent to protect.

This is a well-written tale with lots of action—a classic tale of pirates and love in the Caribbean as the British fight the Spanish for control. Byer does a wonderful job of integrating the real history of Henry Morgan’s escapades and his personality into the story. I loved the heroine who was strong, smart yet very feminine. And the hero, while certainly not perfect, was at least consistent in his pursuit of the elusive female pirate who takes her revenge by seizing ships in El Diablo’s name. If you like pirate romance and tales in the Caribbean I recommend this one, though you’ll have to buy it in paperback, used as I did.

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