In this conclusion to Lambert’s (Bite of the Jackal, 2016, etc.) adventure trilogy, a ship captain’s lost love returns as a deadly spirit seeking revenge against the pirate who tore the couple apart.
Seventeenth-century Capt. Silas Pike, blaming pirate Jackal for the death of his fiancee, Francine Adams, has already destroyed ships aligned with the buccaneer. Seeing holy man Kum beckoning him in dreams, Pike and his crew sail to West Africa, where Kum performs a ritual to aid the captain on his path to vengeance. Francine’s spirit is cast into a wooden figurehead, carved in her likeness and intended to adorn the front of the ship. Bound to Francine are spirit sisters, including a wrathful dark one, while another angry spirit curses Pike. After Francine has helped find Jackal, Pike will be a target. Jackal, meanwhile, fearing Pike’s recent attacks have revealed the location of his treasure, hurries to transport his gold to another hiding spot, keeping an eye out for the captain’s ship, the Avenger. Centuries later, in 2015, Francine’s figurehead, recovered from a Virginia beach, has summoned her love to return to her. But Pike’s spirit is malevolent, putting all mortals aboard the reconstructed Avenger—Evan Taylor and his family—in danger. Though Lambert’s series exhibits an unhurried pace, the action-laden final tale features clanging swords and a startling amount of deaths. It’s also the most somber; there’s a sense of impending doom for many characters, from Pike and Jackal to the people in 2015. Lucid descriptions often reflect this bleakness, like a thick fog arriving shortly before a ship’s crew spots the Avenger: “As if a cloud had dropped all the way down and rested on the water, and they were in the middle of it.” The books truly tell an epic story in three parts. New readers won’t be confused, but the trilogy is best explored in its entirety, particularly the reveal of one character’s identity—shocking only to those familiar with the earlier novels.
A first-rate finale to a gloomy but frequently engrossing seafaring series.