Lady Mechatronic and the Steampunked Pirates by Arabella Wyatt
Publisher: Devine Destinies
Genre: Action/Adventure, Historical, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Short Story (104 pages)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Orchid
England has abolished slavery, but not all are willing to let the lucrative trade go without a fight. The Royal Navy is charged with keeping the Caribbean clean of slavers, pirates and privateers… but even in the Navy, there are those who put profit before principle.
Captain James Hartwell rebels against the abhorrent plans of his commanding officer to run a private slave trade. In doing so, he seemingly signs not only his own death warrant but that of his sister and loyal crew. All seems lost, until a blazing fireball hits the ocean.
Escaping on an obsolete galleon, Hartwell must evade the chasing English forces, protect his sister and his crew and deal with his near-overpowering attraction to a flesh and metal woman found floating in the ocean where the fireball fell.
Can they survive on the ancient, rotting galleon? What is happening to the crew as they develop frightening, almost demonic, powers? What part does the enigmatic Lady Mechatronic play in their transformation?
Pirates, flying saucers, a cyborg alien, steampunk and passion collide in the Caribbean. At least Hartwell has some absinthe to keep him sane. But this is just the beginning.
History and science fiction don't sound as if they should be in the same sentence, but in the case of this book both descriptions fit.
Captain Hartwell discovers Admiral Johnson intends to go into the slave trade and he objects. Most of his crew side with the Admiral, forcing Hartwell, his loyal men and his sister to attempt escape. They are aided by a burning rock falling from the sky to the sea. The Captain and his followers swim through a weird colored sea to an ancient ship crewed by escaped slaves. As they escape they pick up the survivor from the fallen rock, which is in fact a crashed spacepod. The survivor is part machine, part humanoid and her path lies with the escaped sailors, especially as she develops feeling for Captain Hartwell. But does he feel the same?
The author has put together history of the navy with an alien from space. The story flows well and has the usual villains and heroes, but there is also a sense of humor. They hire "Lucky Pete" a sailor who has lost one leg, a hand and two fingers as well as being blinded. This is apart from other disfigurements gathered from when he was taken prisoner by cannibals. Why is he considered lucky? Ah well you'll have to read the book to find out. The way Pete and other characters are introduced, and when the mechanical lady defends herself, are all handled with a lighthearted tone which enhances the smooth flow of the story.
The plot is interesting, the characters well-rounded, the writing descriptive. The details at the beginning of the book state it is the first of a brand new series and I couldn't be more pleased. I look forward to reading more about Captain James Hartwell and Lady Mechatronic. If the following books are as good as this one I believe Ms Wyatt will have a winning series.