Reviewed by Chris
TITLE: The Pirate of Fathoms Deep
SERIES: Tales of the High Court #2
AUTHOR: Megan Derr
PUBLISHER: Less Than Three Press
LENGTH: 206 pages
RELEASE DATE: July 13, 2016
High Commander Lesto Arseni is the most feared man in the Harken Empire. None but the High King dares risk his wrath—and a pirate who once punched him in the middle of the imperial pavilion. A pirate who later snuck away with Lesto to an empty room, touched him in ways far more memorable. And then immediately bolted like a man who’d gotten what he wanted.
Shemal just wants to live a normal life, leave his pirating days behind him and prove that he’s respectable now. The last thing he needs is the two idiots who show up wanting his help with the noble they’ve kidnapped—the very man Shemal had been hoping to prove himself to, the man he hasn’t forgotten since Shemal punched him a year and a half ago.
Lesto Arseni (High Commander of the Harken Empire’s armies) and Shemal (reformed pirate and herder of goats) did not meet in the best of circumstances. There may have been punches thrown and illicit shagging in unused side-rooms going on. But three years have gone by and neither Lesto or Shemal have forgotten the other. Which is a good thing since their second meeting doesn’t go much better, what with ill-planned kidnappings and unknown killers on their tail. But while their first meeting left them both pining and unsure about how the other felt, this second meeting might just give them the chance to say the things they wished they had said all those years ago. If they only could stop people from trying stab them and/or hold them for ransom long enough for them to straighten things out.
This book was a lot less angsty than the first one in this series, and I have to say that I really liked that about it. Not that I didn’t adore The High King’s Golden Tongue, but I needed something light, but full of enough action to keep me distracted from the real world, at the moment and this book delivered just that.
One of the things I really like about this story is that it felt more comfortable in its setting than High King. I think a lot of that has to do with the massive amounts of world building it didn’t need to go into. The fact that Derr just assumed that she didn’t need to rehash all that history and information all over again was a bit of a relief. I certainly find it fascinating, but I think it would have dragged down the pace of this story. That quick pace does a lot for this story, both in how easy it is to read, and with how well it moves the story along. While I might every decade or so enjoy a Tolkien-esk fantasy of epic (walking) proportions, there are times where you just want to enjoy a good fantasy without having to learn every inch of the world before you get to see someone take a stab at someone else with a pointy sword.
And when there wasn’t fighting you had two great MCs that just worked so well together. I love when you can pick up a book and just feel the tension coming off the pages because the MCs are just so into each other that you’d have to be passed-out drunk to miss it. Lesto and Shamel (and boy oh boy did I find our not-so-little pirate just dishy) clicked almost instantly and whenever they were on page together I couldn’t help but feeling glad to be around to see them go back and forth with each other. They clearly have some communication issues, but eh, who doesn’t?
I’m all up for recommending this book, this series, and am anxiously waiting for a book three to come along so I can recommend that one too. Megan Derr really does push my fantasy buttons and this one was a total keysmasher.