Let me start by saying that as a former member of the US Navy, I have strong opinions on pirates. No, I have never actually dealt with any, but that is because those who served before me held the same views I do. The notable lack of pirates in our modern world (with a few exceptions) strongly influenced my adopting of said philosophy, which is: pirates have their proper place, and that place is hanging from the yard arms, working on a proper form of rigor mortis and having their dead eyes properly pecked by seagulls.

Yes, that’s right. Not only do pirate lives not matter, they are actually of negative value. The world is a better place for each filthy, scurvy, peg-legged, eye-patched miscreant sent to Davy Jones, preferably by way of a cat-o-nine and then being drug along the keel or processed through the bowels of sharks.

I know, I know, “Tell us how you really feel, Matt!”

That being said, fantasy pirates can be rip roaring fun, and Rob Hayes has achieved that in spades with “Where Loyalties Lie”. Since I started reading this book, Mark Lawrence’s Self-Published Fantasy Blog Off for 2017 has wrapped up, and Rob has managed to win the thing, and it’s a well-deserved victory. “Where Loyalties Lie” is well written, damned entertaining, and (as a former sailor, I really appreciate this part) won Esme’s coveted “Most F-bomb’s given”. How can you not go for that? As Hammerlock says in Borderlands 2, “Would you like to do battle with a midget riding piggyback on a bullymong? If the answer is yes, please proceed to the Southern Shelf and defeat Midge-Mong for me. If the answer is no, you are sad, and I’ve no desire to speak with you further.” Well, after you switch the midget and bullymong with F-Bombs and Pirates.

You know what I mean.

The Five Kingdoms are sending their navy to Kill All Pirates™, a perfectly understandable, reasonable goal, unless one happens to be a pirate. In that case, it’s a big problem.

Drake Morass is a conniving, back-stabbing, but happy-go-lucky fellow who wants to get drunk, laid, and become King of the Pirates. He plans to make lemons from lemonade, and use the attacks from the Five Kingdoms to rally the buccaneers and their folks under his banner, but he can’t do it alone. He knows he will need Keelin Stillwater.

Stillwater is something of a nice-guy pirate who rocks double cutlasses of ass-kicking, but only murders folk now and then. He also has a terrible problem choosing women, but that’s practically a requirement for the job.

Both of these guys have some big secrets, some big plans, and the common sense not to trust one another, but they are united in their fear and loathing of the Five Kindoms.

Well, and also Tanner Black. He’s a very UN-nice guy. In fact, he’s the poster child for my above stated position on pirates, yardarms, and rigor mortis.  I would note, for the record, that most people in this novel share my opinion on pirates as applied to Captain Black.

It’s a really fun tale, with lots of intrigue, and a surprising amount of humor considering it falls within the grimdark genre. One of my favorite, laugh out loud moments was Drake, in a very bad spot, screaming an incoherent, rambling stream-of-consciousness rant of curses, some of which he was making up on the spot. I literally had to call my wife in and read it to her because It Had to be Shared.

Five of five, would read again. I’d give bonus points for the creative cursing (I did mention I was a sailor in another life, right? I appreciate a fine curse as much as a fine whiskey) but this ain’t Spinal Tap, and five is the max.

Go buy it. You know you want to.


This entry was posted on Friday, June 22nd, 2018 at 9:10 am and is filed under Meta-Issues, Real Life, Out of Character, Etc., Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

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