Friday, July 15, 2011

Review: Pirate Code

Pirate Code (Sea Witch Voyages - Book 2) by Helen Hollick

Publication Date: June 2011
Publisher: Silverwood Books
Genre: Historical Fiction
Pages: Paperback, 302pp
ISBN-13: 9781906236632

(Received for an honest review from Samantha Trott)

Purchase: Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, IndieBound

Helen Hollick on the WEB: website, blog, facebook, twitter

Excerpt from Pirate Code
Book Trailer:


Ex pirate, Captain Jesamiah Acorne, is in trouble. Big Trouble. All he wants is to marry his girl, Tiola Oldstagh, and live contented aboard his ship, Sea Witch. But her husband refuses to grant a divorce unless Jesamiah agrees to retrieve some barrels of indigo and smuggle them out of the Spanish-held Caribbean island of Hispaniola.

The Governor of Nassau wants Jesamiah to go there too, to help incite a rebellion, and Captain Henry Jennings wants him to find a lost spy. To cap it all, Commodore Vernon of the Royal Navy wants to expand his fleet and craves the Sea Witch for himself.

As Jesamiah’s hopes for a quiet life tumble about him, the onset of war with Spain scuppers everyone’s plans. Hispaniola is governed by a tyrant who has promised to hang, draw and quarter Jesamiah if ever he sets foot there again, while the lovely widow, Senora Francesca Escudero would prefer to seduce him.


Author Helen Hollick's second novel in the Sea Witch Voyages series takes the idea of the pirate code to new heights. Pirate Code continues the story of pirate Jesamiah Acorne and his love, the white witch Tiola. Hollick fans are used to her in depth research and her love of the Golden Age of Piracy. New readers to her work will find her writing very descriptive and full of adventure and intrigue. Lovers of all things pirate will fall in love with this great summer read!

Jesamiah Acorne has been pardoned for his pirate crimes, but he still isn't out of the woods. Tiola, his lover is still married to the wicked Dutchmen who refuses to grant her a divorce unless Jesamiah sails to Hispaniola to smuggles out an Indigo shipment. But that isn't the only problem facing Jesamiah. The Royal Navy wishes to commandeer his ship, the Sea Witch to fight in the war between England and Spain. On top of everything else, sailing to Hispaniola isn't exactly Jesamiah's first choice since he is part Spanish and the Spaniards are intent on hanging him for his crimes. But he'll do just about anything for Tiola even if it means sailing into danger. Add a missing spy to the mix, along with family secrets and political intrigue and you've got a recipe for adventure.

Helen Hollick has an affinity for description. Her research for the Sea Witch Voyages series is evident in the way she writes. Her descriptions of everything from the running of the ship to the code that the pirates adhere to, comes across and authentic and believable. Hollick's pirates are typical of what real pirates are expected to be. Hard men, who spent more time perfecting their sword play than attending to their hygiene. They are ruthless and somewhat blood thirsty. But they are also men who understand their place in the scheme of things and Jesamiah Acorne is the epitome of what a pirate should be.

It is obvious that Hollick really loves Jesamiah's character. She has made him the ultimate pirate. He is handsome, articulate, and very intelligent. He understands the risks of his profession and is still able to command the loyalty of his crew. But Jesamiah is not without faults. He has fallen in love with a woman that challenges him on every level. Tiola is his true love, but she is also a thorn in his side in some respects. He is willing to give up everything for her, but he still finds himself in the same perilous situations. That's not to say that we as readers don't like it that way. It provides adventure, intrigue and lots of circumstances for Jesamiah to show off his pirate prowess. Readers who fell in love with Jesamiah in the first book, will find him even more appealing in Pirate Code.

The overall premise of the book is to continue Jesamiah's story, but it also to introduce the reader to the infamous pirate code. The code that pirates live by. I thought it was interesting that the author was able to convey that the code is not universal to all pirates. Each ship and each crew has it's own code and what goes for one, may not go for all. One of the aspects that is different on the Sea Witch is the fact that Jesamiah cannot be voted out as captain. He is captain and there will be no other on his ship. It showed the command and the loyalty that Jesamiah carries with his crew. I found it somewhat interesting that Jesamiah commanded that kind of respect. I'm not sure it would be considered common among thieves and pirates. But it worked for this book.

It seems that Jesamiah is always getting himself into a fix. Whether it's with the government or one of the many women who seem helpless against his charm. Hollick is able to give readers the sense that Jesamiah has some dark family secrets as well as some pirate issues that have not come to light yet. I think the Pirate Code is sort of a transition book. We are introduced to Jesamiah in the Sea Witch, and in Pirate Code we learn a little more about him, but there seems to be a lot left to tell in his story. I'm looking forward to seeing where Hollick will take our favorite pirate in the books to come.

I will have to say that I enjoyed this book as much or more than the first book in the series. The action of the story is related more to the sea than in the first book and the characters seem to have more at stake. I thought Hollick did a fantastic job of making the story come alive for the reader. He gives them a non-typical hero, a very fast paced plot and just the right amount of romance to make this a really good book. I recommend it to historical fiction fans, romance readers and even those who like their books with a bent toward fantasy, as Tiola's "Craft" is somewhat supernatural. It's a great summer read that won't leave you wanting in the adventure department!

Pirate Code is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.

I'm giving this one 5 out of 5 apples from my book bag!

Helen Hollick lives on the outskirts of London UK with her husband and adult daughter - and a variety of pets. She has been passionate about books and writing all her life. Her first employment was in a local library, where she discovered the history behind the legends of King Arthur, which eventually led to the writing of her Pendragon's Banner Trilogy, the first of her historical novels. She especially enjoys encouraging new writers to achieve their dream of writing a novel. Her main advice "to finish, you have to start."


Helen Hollick said...

I was apprehensive at the start of this Sea Witch Blog Tour, because I realised I could be heading into becalmed waters. "What if no one likes the stories - or worse still, they do not fall for my Jesamiah?" I knew I would be devastated. As resolute as a pirate on a Chase I went ahead, however .... and I'm thrilled to say that all my silly concerns were mere spray in the wind!
Thank you for a lovely review. I should have more faith in my pirate shouldn't I! *laugh*

mamabunny13 said...

I think Helen is my new BFF for writing these books! :)
I've heard nothing but great reviews and I can't wait to read them all.

justpeachy36 said...

Thanks for stopping by Helen. Jesamiah is such a great character and I know a lot of people are looking forward to reading more about him....