Avast, ye landlubbers! In case you didn’t get enough pirate fun yesterday during International Talk Like a Pirate Day, today is my stop on the blog tour of Alex Bledsoe’s “The Wake of the Bloody Angel.” The tour is hosted by TLC Book Tours, and I received a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review… you know the drill. I’m also counting it toward the R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril VII event, as this book has such delightful ghosts and sea monsters.
“The Wake of the Bloody Angel” is technically the fourth book in the Eddie LaCrosse series, but the books are self-contained mysteries, so it isn’t important to have read the earlier stories to understand this one. I haven’t read any of them and still enjoyed this segment; there were a couple allusions to earlier events, but nothing major. This book makes me want to jump back in and read some of the earlier books, because the idea of a detective novel set in a fantasy world is awesome and allows for a lot of intriguing possibilities.
Eddie LaCrosse is a sword jockey; he’s basically a cross between a mercenary and a private investigator. One of his close friends, the lovely barmaid Angelina, hires him to track down her former love interest, a reputable pirate named Black Edward Tew. Of course, Angelina hasn’t heard from him in more than twenty years, and his disappearance and treasure have already become engrained in pirate lore. Enlisting the aid of a pirate-queen-turned-pirate-hunter named Jane, Eddie sets sail to pick up an impossibly cold trail. It will take all of his considerable skills to solve this one!
I enjoyed the fact that Eddie has a conscience. Part of the reason why he’s a mercenary is so that he can set his own rules and not do anything terribly unethical. Basically, he only kills the bad guys, making him the type of hero that you can root for. Sometimes I do enjoy antiheroes, but in this case, Eddie’s moral compass is a major theme throughout the story, and he’s unequivocally the good guy.
Jane was easily my favorite character. She’s the kind of kickass heroine that I wish showed up in more books; she’s competent, self-possessed, and ruthless.
One of the things that I found interesting about the book is that it features a middle-aged protagonist. Eddie LaCrosse is in his forties, and he’s quite clearly not as young and spry as used to be. It’s a mature sort of adventure, and that’s a good thing. As many of the characters were older, there was a recurring idea of figuring out what you want from life and what makes you happy, regardless of societal pressure to do things differently. Both Eddie and Jane’s love lives reflected this. Neither of their relationships are truly conventional, but they suit the characters well.
I’d definitely recommend this one if you’re looking for a swashbucklingly good read. If you’re interested in trying it out for yourself, the publishers at TOR are letting me give away a copy. The giveaway is limited to folks in the US and Canada. Just leave a comment to enter, and I’ll pull names out of a hat on Thursday, September 27, which is a week from today.by