Excellently-written, engaging story told mostly from the point of view of pirate Captain Crockett. That he loves his adopted daughter, Annalea, is unquestioned, and he would give his life in a heartbeat to save her. The reader quickly gets into the "pirate talk" language used and feels sympathy for the pirates in spite of their fighting and killing. Read this book for an excellent and scary description of the terrible practice of the slave trade and for a gut-wrenching "you are there" experience of what it was like to be a captured slave. It makes you vow that this should never happen again. The pirates and their community of family try to establish a normal life, between pirating escapades, in their community at Nemusmar, but fate is not going to leave them safe. Follow the action as it seems as if they all must perish, and Annalea will lose her life and her "Papa." You'll like the adventure. I wish some of the story would be presented from Annalea's point of view some of the time, but maybe that happens in some of the following books.
Here's an excerpt from the slave-trading section of the story:
"Well, I'll not be asking you to share a confidence you hold with the Lord," the captain remarked. "But share with me, if you would, the experience of your transport to the Americas."
"Even as a sea dog, an' da cap'n of sea dogs, d'aint no ways ya kin know of it," Mam' told the captain. "Mebbe if ya was keelhauled 'cross da ocean ya'd know da mos' of it, but...."
Mam' stopped at that, and sat staring at the table for several moments. Her eyes were fixed, but there was no sign her spirit still was there. The captain wondered if Mam' stopped breathing.
Then, just as suddenly as she stopped talking, she started again–'most as if she was unaware she'd ever stopped. "An when dey drug us down dat hol', it was like da bowels of hell!"
Mam' described how the women were dragged and shoved into the hold of that ship, each one screaming and wailing - probably less from physical pain than from the private fear that tormented each individual mind. As Mam' put it, they were all going to hell, but each one's voyage must be
different and personal, in the mind. Below decks, her visions of hell were confirmed.
The women were being stacked and chained bare-skinned against rough-hewn planks and beams. Every possible space in that great ship's hold was packed tightly with human cargo. Yet again being mishandled like some errant dog, Mam' was being hauled along by the scruff of her neck. The white man carrying her stopped in front of a woman who was
chained lying on her back, with her shoulders lifted and the nape of her neck pressed against the bulkhead . . .
(reviewed 8 days after purchase)