Book Review: The Wrath of Brotherhood by Ozgur K. Sahin
Captain Roy Toppings had planned to live a relatively peaceful life plying a small shipping route between England and the Continent, but the murder of his sister by pirates set him on a different course, and now he’s a privateer operating out of Port Royal.
Roy’s quest for the man who he blames for his sister’s death has to be put on hold for the moment. It seems that the Spanish are up to something big, and the Dutch colony of Curaçao is in imminent danger. Can the crew of The Constance and their new-found allies save the day?
This is the first novel by Minnesota writer Ozgur K. Sahin, and the first in a projected “The Brotherhood of the Spanish Main” pirate fiction series. The setting is the Caribbean Sea circa the Restoration of Charles II in the 17th Century.
It’s interesting to compare the character attitudes to earlier pirate-themed works I’ve read. Captain Toppings is remarkably non-sexist and -racist for his time, as well as anti-slavery a good century ahead of most people. He’s hired Ajuban, an African ex-slave, as his first mate, and soon signs on refugee Incan woman Coya as a scout. The crew is rounded out with other quirky characters, most with “nice” personalities. One character is depicted as being more romantically inclined towards Coya than she’s comfortable with, but this is shown entirely from her point of view and as of yet he has confined himself to attempting to talk to her when she doesn’t want to.
The plot breezes by with an acceptable level of coincidence, but the one concern I have is that the crew’s luck is a bit too good–one or two well-timed setbacks would have ratcheted up the tension. Perhaps this will happen in the sequel, since there’s a very obvious hook.
There is talk of torture, and it’s made clear that the privateers will resort to it if they must (there’s a minor character who does this professionally), but none occurs on-stage.
Some use of dialect is genre-appropriate, but I know it ticks off some readers.
That said, although this book was written for adults, it should be okay for pirate-loving junior high readers on up. I like the handsome hardcover edition with endpaper maps, but the perfectly acceptable ebook version is more affordable and will also help keep the author fed.
A good first novel, recommended for fans of pirate tales.