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The Pirates of Alnari (The Scions of War Book 1) Kindle Edition
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|Length: 309 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||
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The story revolves around two young noblemen, Martyn and Arycke. The book begins with them having just participated in something horrible and violent, but the details are left hidden to the reader - this is important, because the mystery of what happened will be slowly revealed throughout the book. Needless to say, there is more than one side to the story. The two young men feel that they need to flee the country, and so travel to the nearest port city and book passage on the first ship that'll get them away. Their ship is the Selene, an Isalian navy frigate willing to take on a few passengers during her voyage. Martyn and Arycke have never taken a sea voyage before, and the experience is new and exciting - even more so, when a beautiful young woman is brought on board as another passenger, along with her ever-watchful grandfather. Arycke, who has an ever-roving eye, immediately begins pursuing the young woman, much to Martyn's annoyance.
The sea voyage quickly turns deadly serious, however, when the ship encounters a pirate vessel. Being a Navy frigate, it is the Selene's duty to deal with pirates wherever they are found. But the battle against the pirates turns into a much more brutal affair than first expected, and the Selene is badly damaged. The ship is eventually lost on a reef during a storm, and the survivors - about a hundred of the ship's crew and the passengers - are stranded along a foreign coast.
Unfortunately for the survivors, the coast they're now inhabiting is claimed by pirates. A whole city of pirates.
I don't want to give away any more of the plot. However, what progresses from this point on is a whirlwind of battles and intrigue, murder and revenge, plot and counter-plot. Characters have multiple agendas and not everyone is as they seem. The survivors of the shipwreck must struggle to avoid capture or death at the hands of different pirate factions, as well as the threat of mutiny among their own number. The pirates constantly maneuver against each other for dominance over Alnari, using any means - violence, sex, money, political influence - at their disposal.
The author holds the works of George R. R. Martin, especially his Song of Ice and Fire series, in high regard, and its influence on the book is evident by both the complex relationships among the characters, and the stark brutality of the combat sequences. The author is well-versed in swordsmanship and medieval combat, and this comes through in the many swordfights throughout the book. Limbs are sheared away, heads roll, guts spill, and blood is drawn by the bucketful. Not only are the battles violent and well-scripted, but it is clear from early on that no character is safe from the author's killing stroke.
Also evident is the author's knowledge of the Age of Sail. There are many details regarding ship navigation and operation, as well as the day to day lives of those aboard ships, and the organization of sailing navies and their military exploits. Although the setting is analogous to the 1400s and early 1500s, the maritime aspects of the book seem to carry the influence of master maritime novelist Patrick O'Brian, whose Napoleonic naval adventures are second to none. Fans of O'Brian's Aubrey and Maturin novels will feel right at home in this book, despite the otherworldly setting.
Overall, The Pirates of Alnari is a strong, exciting adventure and displays the author's skill as a storyteller. While this is Dan Eldredge's first published novel, I know we'll see more works from him in the years to come, and I look forward to reading them.
Spoilers (general theme)
This tale is set in medieval time and as the title suggests, is all about pirates. The main story follows two cousins, Martyn and Arycke, young noblemen who are seeking adventure. They become involved with an 'incident' early on and flee on a ship for distant lands. Their escape is thwarted then their ship is first attacked by pirates and then finished off by a severe ocean storm. And thus unfolds the main tale.
Some thoughts on "The Pirates of Alnari"...
1.) well written by an author with a good command of prose.
2.) a nice sense of pace and timing... with a very balanced action vs drama ratio.
3.) told from several different individual points of view. In fact, each chapter followed one characters and his/her interaction with others. This technique led to some interesting character development.
4.) several thrilling and graphically described encounters.
5.) important characters that can be seriously injured or killed. Adding a sense of realism to a pirate-action tale.
6.) map... much appreciated for those of us that like to follow the action along. Nice to get a sense of distance and topography.
7.) cover art... colorful and eye-catching... it reflects a scene from the story.
1.) the product description on the amazon page states... 'combining the cutthroat political intrigue of George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire'. This was obviously someones' subjective opinion of this work and it significantly influenced my decision to read this novel. But having finished this book, I feel it's not quite in the same league as "A Game of Thrones".
I have no objections to anyone making such a statement in writing a review of a book, but when it's found in the product description section on the amazon.com page I have concerns.
2.) and finally, a personal subjective opinion. I find that tales that involve young heroes, tend to naturally dwell on their interest in the opposite sex. So combined with the author's natural skills in telling a riveting tale along with describing many intriguing encounters we have elements that make the story reminiscent of Young Adult (YA) novel. But this is not really a YA story (at least it's not described as such), but their age and some of their actions/dialogues lend a hint of annoying adolescent immaturity to an other wise intriguing adult oriented tale.
Well written and deftly told... but a few concerns.
As it is... 3 1/2 Stars.
Now, jumping into the story you have two cousins whom are minor nobility (though related to ruling King of a country; think someone who is in the late teens to 20s in line for the throne related), who have to flee 1 country because of something they did (it is revealed over the course of the novel, so I will not elaborate it). They wind up through a series of events to be right in the middle of a Alnari (think Tortuga in Pirates of Caribbean) during a struggle between Pirate Noble Families for control and outside invasion for revenge. It has a great mix of romance, coming of age, action (both sea & land), revenge/double cross, and world building details.
Most recent customer reviews
I learned more about the age of sail from this novel than I ever thought I would want to know.Read more