The Bright Spot – A review of the novel ‘Demons and Pearls’
Author P.S. Bartlett’s novel ‘Demons and Pearls’ follows the adventures of a woman pirate Ivory Shepard and her three cousin sisters as they battle various human demons to secure their safety & freedom. An innocuous night on board a pirate ship, if there was any, soon turns into a life altering event for the cousins after Ivory ends up killing the pirate captain. The consequences are nightmarish and Ivory has to quickly learn all that’s needed to survive in this hellish world. But with a little help from a couple of good men, she soon realizes her purpose and succeeds in securing the release of her cousins.
For years on end the ocean was seen as a male only domain, filled with heroic stories involving sailors and captains. But through this illuminating fictional narrative, author P.S. Bartlett shows the astonishing roles women played in the high adventures on and off the sea. Women have made significant contributions in maritime history but they often had to disguise their gender to work alongside men because of the prejudices prevalent. So while staying well within the framework of a fictional literature, this book without going overboard on a feminist tract still manages to portray some powerful women characters.
Although the plot and the characters are given equal importance, it wouldn’t be wrong to call it a character driven story. And what a wide and colorful array of characters does the book have! Ivory is smart, brave, independent and slick with her fighting skills, yet she imbibes the gentle feminine spirit. Her struggles and travails to attain a level playing field in an area dominated by men is something women everywhere even in today’s times will be able to relate with. Rasmus or Big Red is another equally strong character (literally too!) who stands out from other men because of his genuine masculine spirit and it’s no wonder Ivory falls for him. Theirs is not a standard love-at-first-sight kind of romance and there is more depth to their love story. The secondary characters too stand out for their genuineness and each has been given their own unique voice.
The scene in the cabin with Rasmus cutting Ivory’s hair has to be one of the best planned, conceived and written scenes that I’ve read in a contemporary fictional book in a long time. The gamut of varied emotions that strike you from these pages have to be experienced firsthand and it also shows the wide range and skill of the author.
Though not an out and out pirate thriller, there’s still enough in this book to help you relive the explosive period of pirates and pirate raids. There’s an interesting end to the book and there may well be a sequel in the works.
Paperback: 258 pages
Series: The Razor’s Adventures
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1 edition (April 6, 2015)