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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.