The Rebel Pirate by Donna Thorland
Book 2 in the Renegades of the Revolution series
Paperback, 417 pages
March 4, 2014
Genre: Historical Fiction
Source: Received from publisher for review and tour
“1775, Boston Harbor. James Sparhawk, Master and Commander in the British Navy, knows trouble when he sees it. The ship he’s boarded is carrying ammunition and gold…into a country on the knife’s edge of war. Sparhawk’s duty is clear: confiscate the cargo, impound the vessel and seize the crew. But when one of the ship’s boys turns out to be a lovely girl, with a loaded pistol and dead-shot aim, Sparhawk finds himself held hostage aboard a Rebel privateer.
Sarah Ward never set out to break the law. Before Boston became a powder keg, she was poised to escape the stigma of being a notorious pirate’s daughter by wedding Micah Wild, one of Salem’s most successful merchants. Then a Patriot mob destroyed her fortune and Wild played her false by marrying her best friend and smuggling a chest of Rebel gold aboard her family’s ship.
Now branded a pirate herself, Sarah will do what she must to secure her family’s safety and her own future. Even if that means taking part in the cat and mouse game unfolding in Boston Harbor, the desperate naval fight between British and Rebel forces for the materiel of war—and pitting herself against James Sparhawk, the one man she cannot resist.”
The Rebel Pirate can be read as a stand-alone book as 99% of the characters are new, it takes place in a different city, and during a slightly earlier time period than The Turncoat. The thing that ties these two books together is that their characters are real ‘renegades’ – spies, pirates, etc.- and they entangle themselves in fascinating experiences. And while you don’t have to read The Turncoat to enjoy The Rebel Pirate, you definitely should read it, it is an awesome book!
The Rebel Pirate grabbed me from the first sentence, “The gold was Spanish, the chest was French, the ship was American, and the captain was dead.” From there, I just had to keep reading and couldn’t put the book down. Thorland knows how to keep a plot moving forward and to keep the reader just off balance enough to not see the twists and turns coming. There were a couple moments where I put the book down and exclaimed “No Way!” or “What!?” actually out loud. It is a great feeling when you can get that into the story being told.
I have never really thought about pirates when thinking about American history, and beyond that, I have never thought of pirates being involved in the Revolution. The impact of ships during the Revolution is not a subject that has been much explored in fiction, but Thorland certainly did some research here and represents it well. I found that there were some very new angles to the Revolution that I had not previously considered.
I loved the characters – they are multi-layered and standout, while still fitting into the historical expectations of the time period. I loved Sparhawk and Sarah. I really appreciated the sort of confusion amongst the populace of Boston about what was happening and who was on what side – people seemed to blend across the lines of rebel and loyalists at this point. I can really imagine this being a time of great confusion.
Overall this was another great book by Thorland and I can’t wait to see what she comes out with in book 3! I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading about the American Revolution.
Author Donna Thorland also has written The Turncoat, the first book in the Renegades of the Revolution series. You can visit Donna’s website for additional information about the book.
My reviews of other books by this author:
Reviews of this book by other bloggers:
I also have the treat of offering some intriguing author interview questions for you all about The Rebel Pirate and about the upcoming book! And a giveaway!
Does a lot of research go into writing a book like The Rebel Pirate? Please explain your process. How difficult or easy is it to make sure that you get the details right?
I have a head start on the research because I worked at a museum with a fabulous 18th century American collection for seven years, so I know how to dig all the way down to primary sources. But the process is still labor intensive and time consuming.
I have a basic understanding of how Americans dressed in the period, what they ate, the rhythms of their day, how they decorated their homes, but if I want to set a scene in a tavern in Charlestown, I need to find out what taverns existed, then dig down and figure out what kinds of people frequented which establishments.
Once I have a real location, I have to make it real for readers. If there’s an estate inventory, I can use that to reconstruct what kinds of chairs the patrons sat in and what kinds of glasses they drank from. If I’m setting a meal there, I want to look at what time of year it is and what foods were available in the market and how the blockade might effect what was reaching the city…sometimes I fall down the research rabbit hole and have to be rescued, but I think it makes for the kind of vivid experience readers appreciate—where you feel like you were really there.
It’s never easy though. I think I’m probably overly fastidious—a bit of a purist, if willing to compromise a point to craft a gripping story—but it’s the nature of the beast that there’s always someone more immersed, or well-versed, in some particular field of interest who wishes I’d handled something slightly differently!
What will the third novel in the Renegades of the Revolution series be about? What elements will be the same as the other two? What will be different?
The third book is called Mistress Firebrand, and the heroine is an actress who gets herself on a British hanging list for writing seditious plays. It takes place in New York in the world of the 18th century theater and the action encompasses the Battle of Saratoga.
I certainly hope my readers can count on another strong heroine, and another complicated, conflicted hero. Anything else is fair game!
Do you want to enter to win a copy of The Rebel Pirate (that’s a dumb question, of course you do!!!)? I have one copy of the book up for grabs for a lucky US resident. Enter through the Rafflecopter below and good luck.
If you visit any of the other blogs on this tour you can find additional giveaways on their blogs as well. Here is the rest of the tour schedule:
- March 3 – Bitten by Books
- March 4 – Fresh Fiction
- March 5 – Book Binge
- March 6 – My Book Addiction and More
- March 10 – Writer Space
- March 11 – Romance Dish
- March 12 – The Royal Review
- March 14 – Savvy Verse and Wit
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