Sunday, 30 March 2014

Latest Historical Review

Wind Raven by Regan Walker

Reviewed by Nigella


The subheading to this novel ‘Agents of the Crown’ bears the distinct hallmark of a swashbuckling espionage novel. True enough Wind Raven is a well-armed trading vessel. True enough the greater part of the story is set on the high seas. True enough the captain of the Wind Raven is an English-crown spy purportedly on the Prince Regent’s payroll. True enough Captain Powell’s mission is supposedly that of gathering intelligence on the notorious pirate Roberto Cofresi, who was a real-time pirate of the Regency era. It was a pity the espionage aspect turned out as wafer-thin.

That’s not to say the novel is sunk. It is far from sunk. It is a romantic romp on the high seas with an American heiress taking leave of England and destined for home shores. The way she procures passage on the Wind Raven is suspect, which in the era depicted seems most unlikely with a Captain dispatched on a covert mission. But it’s fiction isn’t it? What is more, Tara prefers trousers to frippery of gowns. She’s happiest dancing in the top-rigging of a sailing ship. She is after all from a seafaring family. She flaunts her skills to the crew. No wonder then she becomes a major distraction to Captain Powell. She infuriates him and stirs lustful desires in one breath and verbally cuts him down in the next. And one stolen kiss becomes the catalyst to heightened awareness and hell reigns for both.

Rather than spoil the story I will say there is much in the way of adventure to come out of Captain Powell and Tara’s story. Captain Powell treads dangerous territory and Robert Cofresi challenges Captain Powell’s rights to sail in Cofresi waters. Tara heroically sacrifices freedom to save the crew of the Wind Raven from certain death, fearing she will never see Captain Powell ever again. As with fiction anything is possible and there is a happy ever after. Wind Raven is fiction at its best and Ms Regan spins a fantastical yarn.


Reviewer asides - On balance, is it likely a bloodthirsty pirate who has taken what he wants at every turn in brutal ways will suddenly end up courting a captive American heiress? Would not Tara’s fate have been sealed as that of a ravished captive the minute the vile Cofresi laid his hands on her? I did feel the plot became a little contrived at this point. However, the author note at the end was a riveting read.