Review: Dead Reckoning (Valkyrie Series, Book 2) by K A Perkins

Dead Reckoning PerkinsReviewed by Sandra Scholes

The year is 1671 and after watching his mother suffer brutality at the hands of three of the most feared pirates in history, Leo vows he will avenge her death one day when he is older. Gabriella is a young woman married to Erik, a cruel Dutch slave trader. Erik rules the house with an iron fist. He is an irascible man, prone to violent mood swings and always finds fault with his wife and his slave, Klara. Gabriella lives in fear of Erik and hopes for the day when she and Klara can flee without being found.

One of the interesting parts of the story is at the beginning as Gabriella wants to get away from her cruel husband, while Leo wants to get close to the pirates who killed his mother, and that in turn takes him closer to her husband. Gabriella grows from being a sensitive, downtrodden woman, to being a strong, independent woman who wants to help others, like Klara out of difficult and dangerous situations. She is ill-equipped for life in the jungle of the island of Sayba, but her life is worth nothing if she is caught by either Erik or his men. Leo has seen his mother die at the hands of Tarr’s men, and seeks his revenge, yet he is a decent man, even at sea. He is often fair with his men, and has braved death attempting to kill Tarr, Blake and Hornigold.

The author shows a real grasp of all things pirate, and has clearly researched in depth about what life would have been like on board a ship for both the captain and crew of the Sound of Freedom. The setting and the characters feel right for the time period, and it is easy to switch off from modern life to tune into the story as it seems believable. It is easy to get to the heart of the people involved, and the author doesn’t concentrate on the main characters alone. The story is gritty and realistic, and as a result gives a more realistic account of how people would have behaved during that time. Jungle life has a detrimental effect on the slaves, and Gabriella and Klara; the disease, the venomous wildlife, and the terrible heat of the location all serve to put the reader there into the thick of period Caribbean life. Having Gabriella and Klara on board isn’t a good idea for the men, but Leo likes the thought of having Erik’s wife and slave to use as a pawn to get what he wants, yet he sees in her a wildness that reminds him of Magdalena. He senses Gabriella is afraid of men, even Leo being around her, and all he wants to do is put her at ease. She is a free woman along with Klara, but life on board a ship like the Sound of Freedom isn’t made for women on the run and he can’t expose the men to them and risk Gabriella being hurt, or worse.

It takes a while for the romance to start, but when it does, Gabriella finds that Leo isn’t the man she thought he was, he is a better man than her husband, and he can show her what that means. Dead Reckoning is more than just a romance novel, it acts as a personal account of life in pirate days that is extensive and gripping.

Dead Reckoning was long-listed in the 2011 Mslexia Novel Competition and is the second book in the Valkyerie series. It tells of the losses and danger associated with piracy in the Caribbean during the Seventeenth Century. There are several books in the Valkyrie series including, An Ill Wind (Valkyrie Series 1), Ready About! (Valkyrie Series 3) which is set for a 2913 release, and Shadowfall (Valkyrie Series 4) which is set for a 2014 release. As a novella and K A Perkins’s first book, Gabriella Berryngton had high hopes for a better life in another land, but aged only 14, she realises she must have been so naive.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: Dead Reckoning (Valkyrie Series)

Pirate Romance: Separating Myth from Truth

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What is pirate, privateer, or buccaneer romance?

While pirate romance seems pretty self explanatory the truth of the matter is that modern romantic notions of pirates are far from fact. When we think of a pirate, I am sure many of you will conjure up an image of the deliciously sexy and adventurous Jack Sparrow from Pirates of the Caribbean. The code that they lived by was far from the images brought to mind by the movies or by modern day romances. Pirates in truth were vicious and the chances of two pirates following the same code of honor were pretty slim, but that doesn’t stop them from being some of the best of the bad boys in romantic literature.

What makes the pirate so sexy?

We love reading about pirates, of that there is no question. Why, you might wonder. The answer is thus: who wouldn’t want a handsome man to give us permission to buck the rules of society, live life voraciously with no limit on what we can or should do? Rogues and rakehells might make delicious rapscallions on land and in London society, but it is the pirate captain that is both scandalous and notorious.

Lead males in pirate romances are muscular, domineering, swashbuckling, passionate, buccaneers. The open sea is their mistress and no female can tame their hearts… or so they think. Pirate heroes soon realize just how lonely their life on the water really is and endeavor to capture the love of a woman. When they loot, pillage, and ravish pirate heroes find themselves desiring to do so to the pretty maid with the feisty tongue and not the nearest enemy ship.

This is the character cast in romance novels. The truth however is that pirates have never been truly noted for charms, manners, or fantastically gorgeous good looks. Despite their shortcomings, the romance of seven seas calls out like a siren’s song. Thrills, romance and adventure, you can’t go wrong with a pirate romance.