Fledgling pirate captain Hilary bravely engages in nonpiratical behavior to rescue kidnapped friends and expose chicanery in high places.
The sudden disappearances of freelance pirate Jasper Fletcher, husband of her ex-governess, Eloise Greyson, and aging Enchantress Eugenia Pimm prompt Hilary and her motley crew to set off on a search. They do this in the face of ominous threats from a mysterious band of “Mutineers” and repeated official warnings from the Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates that she’d better shape up (piratically speaking) or lose her cutlass and membership card. Carlson stocks her cast with Disney-style buccaneers (“Arr!” one growls. “Be ye needin’ a hand, matey? I’m afraid I’ve only got the one”), snooty aristocrats, silly police inspectors and like fodder for comical contretemps. She charts for her protagonist a zigzag course from one set piece to the next toward a climactic society ball–cum–pirate melee (totally bloodless). Most of the many inserted letters, documents, gossipy news items and general announcements add little beyond visual variety to the narrative, though passages from the memoirs of Hilary’s vain, talking gargoyle sidekick do supply helpful recaps of the opening episode’s events.
Bland pirate burlesque with plenty of standard-issue buckling of swash—but dead in the water with regard to story arc, in just its second volume. (map) (Fantasy. 10-13)