Saturday, August 20, 2011

The Sublime and Spirited Voyage of Original Sin by Colette Moody

Publisher:             Bold Strokes Books

If you like rollicking, funny pirate stories, The Sublime and Spirited Voyage of Original Sin is your book.  The quirky title announces that this book is about more than swashbuckling.

Gayle Malvern finds herself thrust into the position of captain of the pirate ship Original Sin when her father "Madman" Malvern is wounded in a battle.  When she sends members of her crew ashore to find a doctor, the coward hides while his fiancée Celia Pierce, the town seamstress, is kidnapped instead.  For superstitious pirates who aren't used to having one woman aboard, the idea of two is really dangerous for both women.  Celia is assured by Gayle that as soon as possible she'll be put off in a safe port and returned to her family, so she decides to make the best of the situation and treat is as a lark.  She's drawn into a world of adventure, slave-traders, rival pirates, unscrupulous sea captains and frightening battles.  She loves it.  Celia never expected to have so many experiences in her life and she finds it quite exciting.  She also begins to find Gayle quite exciting and comes to understand why she was never really interested in her boring future husband.  As she and Gayle become closer, Celia begins to think of herself less as a captive and more as a member of the crew.  Gayle comes to realize that spending the rest of her life at sea isn't very appealing, but having a life with Celia is, if she can find a way to get them out of the pirate life without anyone hunting for them.  Not easy to do when you command one of the most infamous ships in the Caribbean Sea.

Colette Moody injects a lot of humor into this book and intersperses it with terrific adventure scenes.  Her characters are interesting, even the ones the reader won't particularly like.  These are scoundrels with hearts more than just scoundrels.  The reader will feel the tightrope that Gayle has to walk in order to keep her male crew happy and protect herself and yet not become as ruthless as pirate captains are usually portrayed.   

Celia is the prize in the story though.  She's an unusual mixture of wisdom, naivete and earthiness.  Her character grows the most and is the most entertaining as she goes from the meek daughter accepting a marriage she doesn't want to a woman willing to knock another one out cold to shut her up and keep her away from Gayle.  It's almost too bad the women abandon the sea and settle down.  There is a real feeling that there was a lot more fun and adventure in them.

The Sublime and Spirited Voyage of Original Sin doesn't pretend to be sophisticated or loaded with meaning.  It's a quick, entertaining and fun story to read and well worth setting aside a couple of hours to enjoy it.

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