DAUGHTER OF HADES | Kirkus Reviews
A Barbadian fugitive joins a pirate crew in this historical romance.
It’s the dawn of the age of piracy. Dinny Obosi has grown up an enslaved person on a Barbados plantation, the daughter of a Black man and an Irishwoman. Seeing the way the master, Owen Craig, looks at her, Dinny’s father arranges for her and her twin brother, Jimmie, to escape to Jamaica aboard a pirate ship—though not quickly enough to save her from a traumatic rape. With the help of a Chinese-born sailor named Lei, the twins board the ship Hades. Lei is infatuated with Dinny at first sight, and she is likewise ensnared by the mysterious seaman and his not-so-humble origins: “Lei’s comeliness moved her in the way a sunset might, one with colors and patterns she had never seen before. Every aspect of him entranced her. His eyes, so lovely—of course, she had seen striking eyes before, but none seemed to really see her.” Meanwhile, in Jamaica, Dinny’s cousin Ami is haunted by the ghostly vision of a Huguenot family facing persecution in France. The family turns out to be a real one, and the two surviving brothers, Ivan and Pax Durfort, are in the process of indenturing themselves as servants to a captain in order to win passage to the Caribbean, where they will crash right into the Obosi family’s destiny. When Lei and the other pirates—who consider Dinny to be a “daughter to the Hades” and therefore under their protection—launch a vendetta against Owen, they awaken the wrath of the man’s father, the powerful Adm. David Craig. Dinny takes to the pirate life—and the pirate prince that rescued her—but can she survive in such a dangerous line of work? As she and the crew of the Hades make their way across the Caribbean, they discover a powder keg of enslaved people, indentured servants, maroons, and outlaws waiting to explode.
In this series opener, Little delivers in terms of high-seas adventure, evoking the period and settings with her detailed prose: “Sugarcane-mantled hills rose and fell beneath the clear night sky as the moon neared the end of its journey in the western sky. Dinny, Lei, and Jimmie paused after reassuring themselves that they had lost the slave catchers. They stood at the top edge of a sloping terrace overlooking the coastal plains.” While the rhythms of the plot will be familiar to readers of historical romance novels, the main characters—and Lei, in particular—are original in ways that set them apart from the standard figures that populate the genre. Part of it is the diversity of backgrounds: The author deftly foregrounds the ways race, class, gender, and sexual orientation operate in the time period. Events of the plot sometimes feel contrived, and the sex scenes are often a bit over-the-top—even for such a romantic environment—but the book is generally immersive and entertaining. Readers looking for a pirate-based romance featuring a more diverse set of characters will likely enjoy this offering and look forward to the sequel.
An engaging, swashbuckling tale of love and revenge during the age of piracy.
Pub Date: today
Page Count: 400
Publisher: Inklings Publishing
Review Posted Online: Nov. 3, 2021