Turning the time machine back to the 17th century, Smith (War Cry, 2017, etc.) shifts the Courtney family saga to Tom Courtney’s battles with the British East India Company.
Tom is persona non grata in England, suspected of murdering his brother Black Billy, but he's done well in exile. Currently he’s trading along the East African coast. It’s perilous, though. Tom must avoid the East India Company, which enforces its monopoly with its own military. There are also dread pirates. In fact, a recent confrontation cost Tom his ship. Now he’s retreated to Cape Town to outfit a new ship, Kestrel. With his brother Dorian and their wives aboard, the Kestrel’s fleet enough to slip into the East India Company’s rich territory. All goes well until a monsoon tosses Tom’s crew into the clutches of a vicious jungle queen. This time he loses Neptune, a sword presented to an ancestor by Sir Francis Drake. Along the way, Tom has discovered two long-lost nephews, one of whom goes rogue while the other joins Tom. Characters other than never-say-die Tom are realistic; but some interesting characters are introduced and immediately disappear. Skimming the surface rather than probing its depth, the story is all sails, swordplay, and sinister betrayal. Descriptions are spare yet proficient: ashore it's mostly monsoon, beastly heat, or cutthroat sultans atop war elephants while aboard ship, sailor-speak livens up the thoroughly cinematic battle scenes. There’s some PG-rated sex, while the fight scenes include multiple dismemberments and a cringe-inspiring method of execution that will become the stuff of nightmares.
A cyclone of nonstop action-adventure with enough swordplay and bodice-ripping to recall the Errol Flynn swashbuckler pirate movies of old.