Oath of Blood

Book 1 of the Pirate Straits Series

Fiction - Adventure
228 Pages
Reviewed on 08/29/2021
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Born a stone’s throw from the North Atlantic, M.H. Healy has always been a lover of the tides. As a boy, he enjoyed reading about colonial American settlements and the pirates of the Spanish Main. Healy studied both pirate and maritime history for many years, amassing an authentic collection of researched naval weapons from the Age of Fighting Sail. When not writing, he travels with his collection, educating the public about real pirates and their fighting tactics. He currently resides in Winston Salem, North Carolina with his wife, two daughters, and a plethora of pets. He is the creator of the Pirate Straits book series as well as other historical fiction and adventure novels (Descent to Saphoria, The Time Guardian Chronicles).

    Book Review

Reviewed by Tammy Ruggles for Readers' Favorite

Pirate Straits - Oath of Blood: Book 1 of the Pirate Straits series, by M.H. Healy, is a thrilling pirate adventure with lots of color, intriguing characters, and high energy. The plot centers around Spanish Tom, a well-developed character who is a slave, blacksmith, parishioner, and pirate. He's on a mission to avenge the murders of his family, and he won't stop until he finds the man who is responsible. With determination, skill, and pride, he sticks with his intentions through all sorts of adversity -- hurricanes, the Portuguese authorities, and slavery, just for starters. He has a Frenchman for a friend, has a brief and forbidden romance with Rosa, the daughter of Master Vasquez, and goes off to sea with the well-known Bartholomew Roberts. Captain Tom fights inner battles while fulfilling his vow and faces people and situations he can't control. Trigger warnings apply for scenes of slavery, strong language, and violence.

Healy immerses you in Tom's world from the first page, where he is treated like livestock. As the events of the plot unfold, he finds himself on a personal quest to right the wrongs perpetrated against his family. This author has taken the pirate genre and set it against wider history, recognizable settings, and dramatic situations. You'll find detailed descriptions of everything the story has to offer from how slavery was conducted to life onboard a ship, the dialect, and language of some of the people. The pace is dynamic with something always happening or about to happen, and the story progresses with great anticipation toward Thomas's ultimate goal. You'll get caught up in the action, and it never feels as if the author randomly decided to write about pirates one day. This writing is meaty, purposeful, and filled with informative details that add weight to the plot. If you're a fan of character-driven novels that deliver style and substance, you will love Pirate Straits - Oath of Blood: Book 1 of the Pirate Straits series by M.H. Healy.

Pikasho Deka

Pirate Straits: Oath of Blood is the first installment of the Pirate Straits series. Written by M.H. Healy, this historical fiction novel follows the story of a young African boy who falls victim to the slave trade in the early 18th century. From a jail cell in a remote southern town, condemned convict Spanish Tom tells his life story to Father Arlidge, explaining how he ended up there. Born in a coastal village in West Africa, young Kwame's humdrum life shatters the day when Portuguese slavers and a sadistic Lieutenant named Juan Guavarro's arrival results in the death of his mother. Soon, he finds himself bought and sold as a slave, roams the seas with the famous pirate Captain Bartholomew Roberts, falls in love with a plantation owner's daughter, and becomes the legendary Spanish Tom.

Author M.H. Healy tells an enthralling story that alternates between a sea-faring adventure tale and a fictional yet harrowing account of a slave in the 18th century. The narrative seamlessly incorporates actual historical figures and events, which adds a sense of depth and authenticity to the story, making it all the more fascinating to read. I found the characters well-developed and distinct. Thomas is the most fleshed-out character as the protagonist, and his backstory adds a lot of weight to his character. I particularly enjoyed his dynamic with Lapin and Rosalinda. The book ends on a cliffhanger, and it makes me even more eager to grab the sequel. If you enjoy historical fiction, check out Pirate Straits: Oath of Blood.

Jennifer Ibiam

Off the mouth of Saloum River, in the heart of West Africa, lived the teenaged Kwame. He was a very happy boy, vibrant, intelligent, and a pupil of the Jesuit missionaries. Life as he knew it ended one day when the Portuguese slavers invaded his village. Led by the brutal Juan Guavarro, Kwame’s mother was shot before his eyes and he was taken into slavery along with his sister, Oumy. From Princes Island to the stormy seas, Brazil, Charles Towne, and down to Bath, his painful journey was unending. It was hell to survive. However, something kept him going–-vengeance on the person who killed his mother. What does Kwame have up his sleeve? Read Pirate Straits: Oath of Blood by M. H. Healy for the full story.

Oath of Blood by M. H. Healy is a historical novel woven in fact and fiction. It is Book 1 of the Pirate Straits series. Healy did thorough research, which formed the basis for this book. The novel has depth. Kwame was a class act, and I enjoyed watching him evolve. His character was brilliant, brave, kind, and loyal, yet flawed, which made him human. As a person of color, this story hit home for me. It was an emotional time for me to read what my people must have gone through centuries back. It was so terrible that they weren’t considered human enough to even get a court hearing. But Tom was resilient. I loved everything about this book, from the method-writing style to character development. I can’t wait to read the second part.