Saturday 21 September 2019

#BookReview — The Brotherhood of the Black Flag: A Novel of the Golden Age of Piracy by Ian Nathaniel Cohen #HistoricalFiction #Pirates @INCspotlight

The Brotherhood of the Black Flag
A Novel of the Golden Age of Piracy
By Ian Nathaniel Cohen

Michael McNamara has one last chance to fight for king and country.

His once-promising career in tatters, McNamara leaves the newly-United Kingdom behind in search of a new life. With no other skills but the sword, he joins forces with a pirate turned pirate hunter determined to rid the Caribbean of the Brotherhood of the Black Flag once and for all.

Eager for the adventure and a worthy cause to fight for, McNamara pits himself against treacherous seas and battle-hardened buccaneers...and uncovers an international conspiracy that threatens thousands of lives.

The Golden Age of Piracy is about to end...but not without one final reckoning.

"Everything you've heard about Captain Reynard is true..."

Michael McNamara should have paid more attention.

 But everyone says Stephen Reynard, Captain of The Predator has seen the error of his ways. It seems that the love of a good woman can change even the most unscrupulous of characters. There is also a rumour that this once infamous pirate has made a deal with the English Crown. 

It is true that one must set a thief to catch a thief — the same can be said for pirates. Charged with bringing an end, once and for all, to the illegal and barbaric practices of piracy, Reynard wastes no time in hunting down his prey. And although he already has a loyal crew, there is always room for one more.

Having left the British Navy under a cloud of disgrace, and having lost his job as a smallswords instructor, McNamara seeks new opportunities in Jamaica. But never in his wildest of dreams could McNamara have imagined that he would sail under the command of Captain Reynard. Despite what he has heard, McNamara likes this reformed pirate. He respects Reynard. He trusts him. And five hundred pieces of eight is enough to turn any man's head. One voyage with Captain Reynard and McNamara could set up a business of his own. It would be madness to refuse...

From the relative safety of the Salle des Armes in Bath to the High Seas of the Caribbean, The Brotherhood of the Black Flag: A Novel of the Golden Age of Piracy by Ian Nathaniel Cohen is a book rich in heroism, love, hate, retribution, as well as valour in the face of a horrifying evil.

Powerfully imaginative and with a keen eye on the entertaining, Cohen has penned a book that is not only an enthralling epic adventure set during the Golden Age of Piracy but one that is also witty and inspired. I loved everything about this story. The vivacious storytelling and the fast-paced narrative swept me away.

The story is told, for the most part, from the perspective of Michael McNamara. McNamara is a very moral man. He will stand up for injustice, no matter what that costs him. McNamara is also charismatic and extremely amiable. McNamara judges a man by what he sees, and not by reputation, which at times can make him seem incredibly naive. However, McNamara is the kind of character that a reader can really connect with. He is wonderfully portrayed — a true protagonist in this tale of cut-throats and crime.

With a sense of the theatrical, Stephen Reynard is everything a respectable captain should be. He is kind, compassionate, and more importantly reformed. Reynard is a man who is easy to admire, and just as easy to love — he is a classical romantic, a diamond in the rough. With his charismatic personality, it was very easy to see why Catalinina fell in love with him and why McNamara respects him so much. Cohen has presented his readers with this incredible, enigmatic anti-hero. Many times, I found myself chuckling at not only the things Reynard said but also, as one would expect from a great showman, how he said them. I was thoroughly entertained by Reynard's character from start to finish. Reynard is a very complex character who hides behind a mask of good humour and good intention. His character drove this story forward, and it made this book not only swashbucklingly compelling but next to impossible to put down.

Cohen's attention to historical detailing was beautiful to behold. And his adaptation of life on board a former pirate ship and the crew that comes with it was sublime. Very realistic and absolutely effortless to read. Kudos, Mr Cohen.

There is a hint of romance in this book, and of course, there is the all-consuming passion of the High Sea, but what Cohen does not romanticise is the realities of piracy and how truly awful these men were. Accuracy in depicting this era and these men were obviously at the forefront of Cohen's mind while he penned this book. The pirates in The Brotherhood of the Black Flag are cruel, vicious, and unmerciful. They thrive on misery and suffering. They take what isn't theirs, and damn the consequences. This was a ruthless era and a dangerous one. The Brotherhood of the Black Flag does not gloss over the facts. This is what pirates were like, and this is why they were feared.

If you love a good pirate adventure with a huge plot twist, then The Brotherhood of the Black Flag: A Novel of the Golden Age of Piracy is the book you have been looking for.

I Highly Recommend.

Review by Mary Anne Yarde.
The Coffee Pot Book Club. 

Pick up your copy of
The Brotherhood of the Black Flag

Ian Nathaniel Cohen

Ian Nathaniel Cohen is a native of Miami, Florida, where he grew up immersing himself in swashbuckler literature and film. He graduated from the University of Central Florida in 2003 with a BA in Radio/Television Production and a Minor's Certificate in Applied Computer Science. He also received his MA in Asian Studies from Florida International University in 2006, where he teaches the course Asia Through Film as an adjunct lecturer. In 2010, his essay "Heroes & Villains of the East", analyzing the evolving depiction of the Japanese in Chinese and Hong Kong martial arts cinema, was published in FIU's Japan Studies Journal.

He also writes a review blog, the INCspotlight, focusing on classic films, comic books, and video games.

Connect with Ian:  Twitter • Goodreads.

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See you on your next coffee break!
Take Care,
Mary Anne xxx