Thursday, August 18, 2011

Taming the Wolff by Dell Robertson

Publisher:            Intaglio Publications

Kris Wolff rules the seas from her ship the Wolfbane as one of the most feared pirate captains. Her ruthless reputation is well earned and she is extremely successful at taking ships and making her crew wealthy. If her crew knew that she was a woman, though, she would be in danger, because, despite her ability, they would surely kill her.
Everything is thrown into disarray when she attacks a ship on its way to the Spanish Americas and kidnaps Duchess DeVale and her two daughters. Her intention is to hold them for ransom, however, the oldest daughter, Alexis, proves a complication. Alexis is headstrong, daring and beautiful and Kris isn’t quite sure how to deal with her. The fact that they are drawn to each other doesn’t make matters any easier because Alexis thinks Kris is a man.
Unfortunately, Alexis is doing everything she can to undermine the pirates’ plans while winning the captain’s trust. She succeeds in having her mother and sister escape, but when Kris is wounded, she feels compelled to help her. While she is nursing Kris, Alexis discovers she is a woman which sends Alexis reeling. Alexis finds herself being both drawn to and repulsed by the idea of a relationship with Kris as she is drawn deeper into the adventurous life of the pirates. 

Perhaps, if she could make Kris settle down, something might be possible between them, but forces are working against them. There is a traitor in the crew who is trying to betray them to Captain Jackson, the captain of the ship from which the DeVale family was kidnapped and the man who is hunting them. Sword fights, sinking ships and political intrigue swirl around them as Kris and Alexis try to decide if there is a place in the world for them, providing they survive.

Dell Robertson has scored a winner in her first novel. She has a story that is full of adventure, action, drama and romance, which means she can appeal to almost any reader. The story is extremely well written with good character development and the pace is set at exactly the right speed. Robertson effectively captures the feel of the times and the conditions of life at sea, though, like any work of fiction, a certain amount of reality has to be suspended. There might be a question as to how long a woman could hide her sexuality from a crew of men on a ship when quarters were so tight and privacy nearly impossible, but the idea of a female pirate captain certainly comes directly from history.

The reader will care about Kris and Alexis and probably will be inclined to hope there is a sequel for their story. One of the interesting parts of the plot is seeing how Alexis comes to the realization that she’s interested in another woman and how she struggles with the social and religious implications of that. Taming the Wolff is one of those books that you won’t want to put down until you finish it and you’ll wish it was longer so that you could enjoy it more.

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