5 STAR Review
Amber Wake: Gabriel Falling, The Razor’s Adventures Pirate Tales is an historical adventure novel written by P.S. Bartlett and Ronovan Hester. Captain Gabriel Wallace had no idea that his presence in a tavern filled with Royal Navy men and sailors relaxing with their companions would lead to his court martial and expulsion from the Royal Navy. When his lieutenant and good friend, Miles Jacobs, mentioned that there was a problem in the upper level of the tavern involving Admiral Hawthorne’s wife, Wallace had no choice but to intervene. The outraged Admiral was ready to shoot the miscreant who had been with his wife right then and there, and he was oblivious to any attempts made to reason with him. In the fray, the Admiral was stabbed and later died, and Wallace was charged with interfering with the Admiral’s attempts to defend himself. While Wallace escaped imprisonment or the noose, his enemies, particularly the corrupt Admiral Chambers were not through with their vendetta. However, Wallace did not sit idle during the month he spent awaiting trial. He had been busy following the trail of evidence against those who had long wished his family harm, and he had made a few plans of his own.
P.S. Bartlett and Ronovan Hester’s historical adventure novel, Amber Wake: Gabriel Falling, The Razor’s Adventures Pirate Tales, is an exciting and fast-paced story set in the early eighteenth century. As I read of Captain Wallace’s trial and expulsion from the Royal Navy and his decision to turn to piracy, I was reminded of Sabatini’s classic pirate adventure tale, Captain Blood. The action scenes in this novel are vivid and filled with sounds and images, and the plot is compelling and complex. The authors’ characters are marvelously portrayed, especially that of Miles Jacobs, whose loyalty and concern for his friend prompts him to put everything at risk. Amber Wake is well-written and the plot is a delight. Anyone who’s ever enjoyed a good pirate movie (and who hasn’t?) or found themselves wrapped up in a classic adventure novel will have a grand time reading this authentic and suspenseful tale. It’s highly recommended.
Amber Wake: Gabriel Falling
By P. S. Bartlett and Ronovan Hester
CreateSpace, 2016, ISBN 978-1523721252, $12.99
Also available as an e-book, $2.99
Miles and another lieutenant rescue Gabriel and his brother and, having nowhere else to turn, they head for the Majesty’s Venture, Gabriel’s former vessel. While others see the crew as hard-headed and undisciplined, Gabriel realizes just how loyal his men are when they decide to “retire” from the navy and abscond with their ship. First, though, they have to escape the harbor and the naval vessel pursuing them.
Never one for idleness, Gabriel didn’t waste his time after being relieved of his command and waiting for his trial. He uncovered interesting details about the admiral and his friends, hypocritical men who claimed allegiance to the Crown but stole from it to line their own purses. He and his crew become pirates with a purpose – to bring about the downfall of his enemies and reveal their secrets. His insistence on keeping his plans to himself, rather than sharing them with Miles, puts a strain on their friendship. Sooner or later, Miles must decide whether to stand with Gabriel or not, and Gabriel is uncertain which way Miles will go.
Like undulating waves, Amber’s Wake is a tale of non-stop action and heart-thudding thrills: storms at sea, pirates, and narrow escapes from their hunters (former friends and colleagues). The characters are well-drawn and, although the reasons behind Miles’s hesitancy and Gabriel’s reluctance to share could be stronger, they quickly snare readers into caring about what happens to them. Readers familiar with the other books in the Razor’s Adventures Pirate Tales series will enjoy this one, which explores Rasmus Bergman’s past, and look forward to future exploits with Gabriel and his men.
Since I was a bit occupied with my day job, my family, editing, beta reader feedback changes, rewrites, more editing, more rewrites and then even more editing, as well as formatting for both Kindle and Paperback, then uploading, rechecking errors, fixing errors and re-uploading AMBER WAKE, I didn’t really have much time to build a blog tour. (Poor pitiful me, right? LOL)
Therefore, I give you a blog tour in a loot bag, right here on my own blog! This is my first installment.
Ready the guns lads!
First, in true pirate fashion, I’ve stolen a few of the same questions my co-author of Amber Wake answered, just for fun and to see how our answers differ.
What is your book about?
Amber Wake is about Gabriel Wallace; a young, honorable Captain in the Royal Navy in 1705 London. He’s thrust unwittingly into a delicate and ultimately dangerous situation when an Admiral’s young and lovely (as well as untamed) wife is caught carousing with a young, dashing lieutenant, who just happens to be the newest officer on Gabriel’s crew. As a result of the young Captain’s innocent involvement, he is implicated in the murder of the Admiral and court-marshaled. However, he isn’t about to take this, nor the more intimate retaliation against him lying down. He’s prepared for a fight he’s been waiting for and in a navy filled with sheep, he’s a lion about to roar.
Consumed with vengeful purpose, he goes on a rampage, hell bent on making the Admiral who plotted against him pay in every way possible for his downfall. With his loyal crew, his closest friend Miles Jacobs, and that naughty new lieutenant, Maddox Carbonale, he takes his navy ship, the Majesty’s Venture, on a wild ride into a focused and deliberate maelstrom of payback…the old fashioned way.
What made you start writing it?
Quite simply, my co-author, Ronovan Hester, came to me with an idea for a back story on my character, Rasmus Bergman, who was one of the main characters from DEMONS & PEARLS. I was still writing JADED TIDES at the time and I really liked Ron’s ideas, even though at the time they were still pretty basic but they fit in well with answering the question as to how and why Rasmus got involved with piracy. I ended up working that back story into JADED TIDES when Rasmus finally pours his heart out to Ivory and confesses his past life. I was grateful he’d shared his ideas for AMBER WAKE with me since that was such a game changing chapter of JADED TIDES.
Ron sent me several drafts. I was very distracted at the time, as I was in the editing and publishing stages of JADED TIDES, as well as working on a prequel novella, IVORY DAWN, for DEMONS & PEARLS. I would read some and then along would come another version. However, once the idea had settled in of the basic story and I began the initial stages of working on it, I was beginning to “feel” the tale, which is something I have to do before I will invest my time in something…especially a story I didn’t create. The most important reason I did this was I loved the story. The other reason was because I knew how much Ron had invested in it and how badly he wanted to be published. Before I knew it, I was all the way in and the rest as they say, is historical fiction. 😉
Do you see a possibility of a sequel to your book?
At some point I’d like to continue Rasmus’ story. He’s one of my favorite characters. Most of the apprehension I had of even writing this book with Ron was my attachment to Rasmus. Allowing someone else the privilege of taking one of your beloveds and using them to create a new story is terrifying. I know Rasmus better than anyone. I created him for goodness sake’s and Maddox Carbonale as well. These characters are a part of me. It’s a big line to cross but I knew Ron read my books and was very familiar with both of these characters. I also knew, even if in Ron’s final draft (the one I worked on and beat the crap out of) either of them didn’t feel right or I felt they were too different from the men I created, I’d have the freedom and right to make adjustments and keep them true to who they were in my other books. Gabriel, however, was evolving into Ramus so regardless of who I know Rasmus to be, in the beginning, he was different, as he should have been. It took a series of life altering events to bring Rasmus to the surface.
I must say I also love a few of the characters Ron brought into the story. Adam and Gimby to be specific. I’d also like to get to know William Asperson more. He seems like such a gentle and innocent soul who unfortunately didn’t come into the story until near the end. I’d really like to get to know him better and push his buttons a little. I’m very good at pushing buttons and flinging my characters into situations to see what happens! After all, real people have flaws and faults and are far from perfect. Perfect is boring. Part of my passion for writing is digging out those hidden demons and watching them fly around a bit.
(Now one of my own)
What’s it like to co-write a book? What was your formula?
Having never co-written anything with anyone, there was no formula. As I said above, Ron wrote the bones and guts, and I stitched on the muscle and flesh…kind of like building Frankenstein’s monster and believe me when I tell you, I am not the easiest person to work with. I don’t have much time to write. I have to schedule my writing time around a very and I do mean VERY busy life. I work a full time job. Including myself, there are seven people and a cat living under my roof. Those seven people include three little granddaughters, all under the age of six. I babysit them in the evenings while my daughter teaches dance classes. I cook. I clean. I do the laundry and most evenings I don’t even sit down until 10:00PM. If I’m working on a book and I open my laptop to work, I work. Yes, when I’m in between books, I Facebook, play around online and relax but when I’m in work mode, I’m a force to be reckoned with and I make no apologies for that. I can be very unsympathetic to excuses or nonsense but I am in no way a Diva. When you only have so many hours in a day…most stolen from a night’s sleep, getting down to business is top priority. Unfortunately, sometimes that can translate into other things.
The simple answer is co-writing a book is challenging to say the least unless you know exactly what you’re getting yourself into. Fortunately Ron and I laid out the ground rules from day one. I loved the story but I would absolutely need to make changes. I would need to make revisions based on beta feedback. I would need to inject my voice in order to keep this book in line with my others and above all, since I was handling all of the nuts and bolts of the project, I would have the final say as to those changes. To some it may sound harsh but this is a business, not a hobby. Ron did an excellent job writing this book; the research, the story line and the characters were formed well and the drama was tight. I like to think of it this way: Ron brought the people to the dance floor and I played the music to make them dance. Together, we had one hell of party.
Mission accomplished I’d say for Captain Wallace – Bergman. Mission accomplished for Ronovan Hester and P.S. Bartlett as well.
“Captain.” Miles nodded in the direction of the York’s Keep’s doctor, who knelt at the side of his lifeless captain and shook his head.
“He’s dead as a result of his own foolishness and any other man who makes the same choice will land at his side. I never lay uncertain hands on a man who aims to kill me,” I said as I leapt onto the plank and started back over to the Majesty’s Venture. I turned back with one last directive, “Mister Jacobs, should any of that crew choose death, it will be by my hand.”
I turned to see Carbonale, eyeing me as he leaned on the gunnel. “That was interesting.”
“Perhaps we’d make better use of our time elsewhere,” Miles said as he stood. I rose to follow him, when the commotion on the stairs stopped us like an unseen wall. A young, dark-haired man leapt down the stairs, his coat in one hand and his open shirt flapping in his wake as he fled the roars of the wrathful man close behind him. I easily identified the young man as Maddox Carbonale, a young lieutenant we’d only yesterday acquired from another ship. His assignment to my patrol galley came with a reputation that I’d been left to sort out—as well as his less-than-obedient temperament.
I’d been repeatedly blessed of late with what the navy labelled as problem seamen and I hadn’t yet had the honor of a formal introduction with this obvious miscreant. According to my command, I was adept at handling hard-heads. I knew better. My men weren’t hard-heads—they were loyal and rugged. I never had to worry about my back. They were rough around the edges, perhaps, but disobedient, never. That was until now.
I was right. Teach offered me the hand of a sweet, yet saucy, black-haired lass who was more my age and speed. Having relinquished any inhibitions in a few tankards of rum, her company was thrilling, although exhausting and brief. I liked it when she called me Big Red and wrapped her thick white thighs around me. I was inspired, to say the least, and the parts of me I thought suppressed by the rum came roaring to the surface beneath her as she rode me like the Assurance in the storm. I’d never been with a whore before but all concern for health or reputation was lost in that tossing black mane of hair as she whipped it about and moaned with pleasure when my hands explored her. She made me feel like the best lover she’d ever had, until I tried to pay her and she winked and told me Blackbeard had covered the debt and told her to show me a good time. Maybe for a few minutes I’d allowed myself to be free and believe it was real. When it was all over, I was thankful that at least I’d enjoyed the show.
I may someday regret my decision but by the time it was all over, regret was a waste of time. Besides, when in good company, not to allow yourself the freedom to drink, laugh and make merry defeats the purpose of being free at all. A few hours spent at behavior you’d normally avoid can lift your spirits and on occasion, those hours spent are worth waking up in the morning as if you’ve slept standing on your head.
“Agatha, I told you to stay—”
“Be quiet, Jeremiah,” the young Agatha Hawthorne said to her husband. “Ordering me around as if I were one of your crew has never worked for you, nor will it…ever!” she said and turned her gaze to the handsome, dark-haired prisoner, who’d ceased his relentless efforts to free himself as their eyes met.
“Agatha—” The Admiral said in an attempt to draw her attention, as well as his embarrassment, away from the young man’s bright green eyes, but she didn’t waver.
“Maddox, I do hope we meet again. If not, I doubt I will find another lover that has your appetites.” She twirled a long, loose curl with the fingers of her left hand and slid the fingernails of her right down the flesh of his exposed chest. She turned gracefully away from him at the shoulders, gazing back one last time before finally cutting a path through the crowd as she walked away. Her expensive scent followed her through the musky tavern, until her dazzling blue eyes acknowledged my presence. “Captain Wallace,” she said and nodded.
Everyone watched as she drifted carefree from the tavern, leaving lustful thoughts and in her wake, revenge.
Reviews are starting to come in:
The book opens with an unfortunate incident leading to Gabriel being court-martialled for murder and subsequently disgraced. Choosing to flee with the support of his loyal crew, he embarked on adventures and survival on the high seas, all the while intent on clearing his name, hell bent on revenge against the men who had accused him of murder and thereby banishing him to the other side of the law. As he faced the challenges of being a reluctant pirate and a leader of men, Gabriel’s baser instincts revealed themselves.
What will he do to redeem himself? What will he do to assuage the fury within? Will he be thwarted by beauty? By his closest confidante? What makes a man with integrity? And who is the little boy of whom he is so protective?
Captain Gabriel Wallace is a man with a moral code that is largely unwavering; a confident man who holds himself with pride yet humble. He epitomizes the romantic hero. Love him!
This is an entirely engaging and enjoyable read!