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Friday, January 22, 2010

Pirate Booty by John Simpson

Pirate Booty by John Simpson
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Historical
Length: Short Story (75 pgs)
Other: M/M, Anal Sex
Rating: 4 Cherries
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

Armed with a royal commission, former Royal Naval officer Captain Blain Stillwater undertakes a new adventure as a privateer in the Caribbean, charged with combating pirates and the Spanish. But while the commission includes a ship—it doesn't include a crew. A search of London's Newgate prison provides Stillwater his crew, but not his officers or a cook. Luckily he discovers Todd Myers, an experienced cook who spends his days in the galley... and his nights in the Captain's cabin. But danger stalks the ship in the form of the Spanish, and life at sea is never smooth sailing.

Pirate Booty takes a reader on a short sea jaunt, relatively speaking, which showcases the realities of a life lived aboard ship for months at a time and the choices one makes to get through it.

The main character is Captain Blain Stillwater. Back in the day, his love preference would have been a death sentence. Mr. Simpson paints an interesting picture of what it would be like if a man were given a chance to do a job he excels at which then enables him to love who and how he loves best.

The build up for the purpose of the story, the matter-of-fact delivery and clear descriptive details of the preparations for the ship’s departure were well done. The story had that strong flavor; it’s a man’s world, harsh and demanding. The writing made it evident and clear. The scene that delivers the promise of action that a reader knows is coming from the beginning of the book was condensed to deliver the goods without going off on a tangent. I enjoyed that section a lot. The hazy part for me as a reader came from not getting a sense of Blain the man. The story hit me as partly narrative in nature without getting a good glimpse at what passions truly drive a man like Blain, other than lust. That being said, Mr. Simpson did allude to the fact that perhaps Captain Stillwater isn’t comfortable or perhaps is not fluent in admitting to the softer emotions like love. Would he recognize it if he felt it?

It seems a small flame of true connection exists within the hale and swarthy Blain because I believe he makes a choice to arrange for an opportunity for its growth. If so, then perhaps there’ll be another installment between Blain and the man who reaches him as no other has before. I’d like to think that there would be a more romantic flavor or tone in the next one. And yes, I’d actually like to read another because of the carrot left dangling called the ‘fate of Billy’.

As it is, Pirate Booty holds the current promise of a hopefully ever after while exploring the joys of physical discovery and open acceptance in a world where it’s usually hidden, not discussed, and socially dangerous. The story moves at a steady pace and kept my interest due mostly to a well constructed tale. Sure, I wanted more from inside Blain’s head but the story told in Pirate Booty was definitely worth reading.

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