Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Review: Peril on the Sea - Michael Cadnum

Synopsis: It is the summer of 1588 and the privateer Vixen is sailing directly toward the Spanish Armada. At the helm is Brandon Fletcher, one of England's most notorious pirates. On board are the aspiring young author Sherwin Morris and the beautiful noblewoman Katharine Westing. Although most Englishmen are willing to battle the Spanish and defend Queen and country to the death, Captain Fletcher is leading Sherwin and Katharine on a voyage of a more lucrative nature. But when the scores of heavily armed warships of the Spanish Armada sweep in from the Atlantic, every ship and every mariner are pressed into the fight to save England from a foreign invasion. In spite of vowing to avoid the conflict, Fletcher finds his ship, her crew, and himself bracing for battle alongside other English vessels. The fight will be harrowing and bloody, and the unfolding tumult will challenge the character of everyone on board - including Sherwin and Katharine, who are about to discover the deeper meaning of both strife and honor.

Review: This really surprised me. The entire time, I was waiting for Cadnum's trademark blood and gore. When you read a Michael Cadnum book, you automatically expect there to be blood - and lots of it. There was hardly any in Peril on the Sea and I actually felt disappointed. I know, I've always complained about the often excessive blood and gore in his books, but when you're expecting it . . .

Once I got over my surprise, I have to say that I ranked Peril on the Sea as one of Michael Cadnum's best - if not his absolute best. The characters are quite likable, even Sherwin. He flirts quite a bit with Katharine, but he seems quite sincere. Katharine is a brave and bold young woman who doesn't make herself annoying by getting in the way, and by the end of the book, the Reader is left feeling a little sorry for Fletcher - even if he if was pirate. But that is partially the beauty of fiction: pirates are never depicted as horrible and wicked and just downright nasty as they were in real life. And the storyline, while a little aloof at first, is very good once it makes itself apparent.

I will be adding Peril on the Sea to my small collection of Michael Cadnum books.

Overall Rating: 

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