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by Alex Bledsoe

Pub Date: July 3rd, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-7653-2745-1
Publisher: Tor

Another independently intelligible outing for freelance sword jockey Eddie LaCrosse, from the author of, most recently, the splendid The Hum and the Shiver (2011).

Imagine a Philip Marlowe-style gumshoe in a familiar-sounding and well-constructed medieval fantasy world, where your clients could be gangsters or pirates threatened by dragons, sea monsters or magic. Eddie’s latest client is Angelina Dirnay, tavern owner—and his landlady, so he feels in no position to refuse her. Twenty years ago, so Angelina relates, she was a barmaid in a harbor town and fell in love with a handsome young sailor whose career choice was piracy. On his first voyage, so rumor has it, he captured a vast treasure but then was wrecked, and no trace of either Black Edward Tew or the treasure was ever found. Angelina, tearfully waiting all these years, now asks Eddie to discover the pirate’s fate. This coldest of cold cases seems hopeless, and Angelina’s clearly not telling all she knows—least of all that she and Edward had a son, as Eddie will soon learn. The one solid clue is that there was a survivor from the wreck, who’s now a feared pirate in his own right. The investigation proceeds in fits and starts, and the plot doesn’t really add up. Still, Bledsoe brings his own brand of tough charm to the proceedings, assisted by a stalwart supporting cast, vivid scenery and rugged bursts of action.

Series fans certainly won’t be disappointed.