Brandy, Ballad of a Pirate Princess
Brandy Erasmus is the daughter of the most feared pirate of the Caribbean in the early 19th century. Erick Erasmus aka The Plague and his infamous wife The Scarlet Mistress have marauded and ravaged the seas of the Caribbean since before Brandy was born. But on one fateful day when she is fifteen years old, that life drastically ends. First her father is killed by his second in command, Don Lomoche, and then an evil self-important, pompous ass British admiral named Bennets captures and executes her mother. She and her uncle barely escape the same fate. They spend the next 15 years hiding in Kingston, Jamaica where they run an Inn near the harbor.
A chance meeting with one of the British Empires most celebrated sea captains, Arthur Joshua and his enigmatic first officer John Edwards changes everything. Both men are part of the Abolitionist movement in the Caribbean to get runaway slaves from the United states settled in Maroons. Although passionate about the movement Captain Joshua is also on a second mission to find his long-lost wife and daughter who came to the Caribbean 15 years earlier to wait for him. His wife, Cassandra, was a former prisoner on a slave ship headed to the new world when they were intercepted by his then command of a British Man-of-War off the coast of Africa. After they were married, she bared him a daughter, and he then sent them on to the new world where he felt they could live together as a family. The king of England kept him from joining his family for seven years, having him fighting one war after another. When Captain Joshua found out that his family had been lost somewhere in the Caribbean, he begged the then “Sailor King William”, his former commanding officer, to let him go find out what happened to them. The King gave him leave to find his family and commissioned him to aid the freed slaves of the British Empire in the Caribbean as he saw fit. He also gifted Captain Joshua with the fastest ship in the British fleet, a ship Captain Joshua named, The Morning Star. Joshua asked 1st Lieutenant John Edward to join him in his quest and with the kings leave they set out on Captain Joshua’s duel quest. Brandy and her uncle Skynyrd find themselves drawn to these men. She especially finds herself drawn to John Edwards, the first officer. But her battle with her past and the demons that haunt her about being raised to be a cutthroat pirate impedes their budding if not tumultuous romance. During this time Brandy’s Enemies have been busy plotting against the abolitionist movement in British waters, which pits them against Captain Joshua and his cause. Soon she and Skynyrd must decide whether they will fully commit to Joshua’s cause and be a part in taking down their old nemesis Don Lomoche. Secrets are revealed and lines are drawn as her decision to stand with John Edwards and his captain spirals her life into a whirlwind of adventure and romance, she never thought possible.
Circumstance brought on by forces long set in motion dictate that she must rise to save the one she loves and champion a cause bigger than all of them. It forces her to reclaim a cursed ship and crew that have anxiously waited for her to return and takes them to confront her mortal enemy. Armed with her love for John Edwards and the cause he fights for and enabled by the teachings of Master Shaolin Priest named Zang Yong Brandy Erasmus sails into hell and with friends and allies wins the day, and a lease on a new and better life.
Plot/Idea: 8 out of 10
Originality: 7 out of 10
Prose: 8 out of 10
Character/Execution: 7 out of 10
Overall: 7.50 out of 10
Plot: The novel will hold readers’ interests with its high energy and exciting plotline, whether or not they’re typically fans of pirates. The slavery and abolitionist plotlines make the story more complex and interesting, as do the huge changes that Brandy experiences throughout her journey.
Prose/Style: The prose and the dialogue are clear and effective. The dialogue seems quite realistic to the setting, but the book would benefit greatly from a thorough edit.
Originality: This storyline, and a female pirate protagonist, feel original despite the vast array of pirate tales in the adventure story genre.
Character Development/Execution: The characters are quite finely executed throughout. Though little attention is given to why they maraud and kill so often and so easily, Hendrickson does supply uncommon depth to the cast. Some complex familial relationships are explored and conflicts resolved, while individuals carry more nuance than might otherwise be expected for an action tale on the high seas. Historical circumstances also play a role in character development, while also contributing additional substance to the story.
Date Submitted: April 14, 2021