Read in April, 2009
We return to the world of Nearing Vast and Smith Delaney, squatting on his last leg, or rather his last post. Instead of his life flashing quickly before his eyes, it’s a slow, pondering trek down memory lane, from beginning to end to beginning, all the dark, days in between as a pirate.
It was a strange way to tell a tale, but not overly confusing to the reader. Delaney recalls a story told to him by Ham Drumbone, a storyteller pirate, about Damrick Fellows, the founder of the Hell’s Gatemen, and Jenta (who has several last names which I won’t get into here).
Delaney is hanging over his doom, a pond full of piranhas and mermonkeys, remember this tale told by Ham. Most of the book is the tale of Damrick, Jenta and Conch Imbry, a notorious, successful, ruthless pirate. This tale, a strange love triangle (or quadrangle) is the meat of the story. The other two time-lines, Ham’s time telling the tale and Delaney’s doom, pop up appropriately, and converge satisfactorily towards the end.
I enjoyed reading it, but I’m not sure it’s as interesting as the Trophy Chase trilogy it prequels. Delaney was a supporting actor in the trilogy, but always seems to kill the wrong person for the wrong reasons. At least he struggles with his conscious, an unusual problem for a pirate.