Author: Cari Z
Publisher: NineStar Press
Cover Artist: Aria Tan
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Publication Date: 05/09/2016
Length: Novel (~ 50K-100K)
n 1803, England declares war on France, staking the fates of two mighty empires against one another. Thousands of men serve in the British navy, hungry for distinction in the battle against Bonaparte.
One of them, Lieutenant Thomas Williams, thinks he knows what he wants out of life: prize money at sea, a career of decent note, and the means to maintain his independence when he leaves the navy. What he finds is service under Captain Christopher Knightly: a tactical genius, inveterate charmer, and the youngest son of a wealthy noble house.
Their unexpected and perilous love affair is a gamble against the odds, for in a time of war, nothing is sure to last. If the French don’t tear them apart, one slip in front of the wrong eyes or ears might. When the demands of Christopher’s family take him from Thomas’s side, he thinks it might be the best thing for his captain. Little does Tom realize just how far Christopher will go to return to him, and when life takes a turn for the worse, how much further he will go to save him.
I have thoroughly enjoyed every Cari Z book I have read, especially the Panopolis trilogy, and I was incredibly excited when I realised this was a historical.
Thomas Williams is a practical sailor, he understands the sea and the process of sailing and is keen to advance, he is posted to the Perilous and Captain Christopher Knightly. Chris is his opposite in many ways, he is about tactics and politics and the two men make a really solid operational team.
Tom is deeply attracted to Chris, but this is 1806, and he is wary of what could happen if he acts on his attraction, luckily enough the attraction is mutual and the two men commence on a love affair. All goes swimmingly (ha!) until Chris is made to recognise his familial duty and marry, and Tom who believes in the sanctity of marriage does the correct thing. At this stage in the book we are at 75%, and the pacing, action and romance are really well balanced. The women are pretty stereotypical, the bad mother and the beautiful, meek and understanding wife, but Christopher in particular, caught in his moral dilemma, is an attractive and sympathetic protagonist and Thomas with his moral centre is his perfect match.
However the last 25% feels very rushed, I am a big fan of using time to highlight character growth, but here, while Thomas was shown to develop but still retain his love, Christopher was less fleshed out. I wanted more at the end, and so I was left with a vague sense of dissatisfaction.
However, all in all it’s an exciting and emotional read, and Cari Z can write !
I would like to thank the publisher for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.
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