Jacky Faber must once again fight and flirt her way across land and sea to reach her beloved Jaimy Fletcher in the ninth book of this stirring historical series.
Escaping imprisonment in Australia and the amorous attentions of the female pirate Cheng Shih, Jacky finds her celebrations cut short by a typhoon. Accompanied by young Ravi but separated from her crew, Jacky relies on her musical talent and knack for disguise to get them through Southeast Asia and back to England. Jaimy, however, also proves elusive, having vowed to hunt Jacky’s longtime and odious persecutors, Flashby and Bliffil. Aside from a clever scene involving some strategically placed seaweed, Jacky’s ingenious plans and bravery take a backseat to British political and social intrigue. Famous in England and increasingly unable to pass as a boy, Jacky employs her new dragon tattoo, queue and Asian attire to escape detection. (Though historically accurate, the focus on her acquired exoticism and Ravi’s race and pidgin speech may nevertheless prove jarring to modern readers.) Frequent allusions to Jacky’s earlier adventures make this less of a standalone than Meyer’s (The Wake of the Lorelei Lee, 2010, etc.) usual fare, so newcomers should start with book one.
This resilient and exuberant heroine deserves a stamp of approval. (Historical fiction. 12 & up)