Jaco Jacinto commands the frigate Scorpion, assigned to Continental Navy. In August of 1780, Jaco is ready to get his ship back after a month of repairs, and he can’t wait to get back to hunting. The Scorpion is a very special ship. It has a copper shell over its hull that protects the ship from most cannon fire. And it is incredibly fast and maneuverable. This allows Jaco to hunt ships much larger than the Scorpion and most often carrying valuable cargo. These become prizes for Jaco and his men.
The love of his life is Reyna Laredo, a brilliant woman who practices medicine and does medical research while trying to find a way to officially become a doctor, which was unheard of for a woman in those times. Even though she sides with the colonials in the war, she treats soldiers on both sides, even inoculating the British soldiers against smallpox.
Meanwhile, Royal Navy Captain Darren Smythe has command of H.M.S. Gladius, a frigate mostly used to protect convoys bringing supplies to the British army. Darren and Jaco have battled more than one time, and Darren is determined to finish off the Scorpion. Darren has fallen in love with Melody Winters, a teacher who lives in Charleston, South Carolina, and is a close friend of Reyna Loredo. Darren and Melody see each other infrequently, but they are devoted to each other. However, Melody has made it clear that she does not want to live in England and that she strongly believes the Colonies should be independent of England.
Major Amos Loredo, Reyna’s brother, is in charge of the 4th Carolina Militia, a fierce fighting unit that has wreaked havoc on the British troops under the command of Lord Cornwallis. Loredo and his men have kept supplies from reaching the forts Cornwallis has under his command.
This rich and complex story of a pivotal time in the Revolutionary War is told from a perspective not often seen in historical novels set in those times—that being mostly focused on those who battled on the seas. It is also interesting that the author, Marc Liebman, chose to make both Jaco and Darren admirable men who, though sworn enemies, seem to respect and, to some degree, admire each other. There are also plenty of nefarious characters to build tension throughout the story.
The writing is excellent, and Liebman’s naval background and meticulous research shine through in the manuscript. The characters are well-rounded, interesting, and completely credible. The situations and dialogue seem perfectly appropriate to the times. A good round of needed copy-editing to clean up some missing words and grammar problems is all that keeps this from being a five-star review.