Monday 25 July 2011

Review: Pirate Code - Helen Hollick

Series: Sea Witch Chronicles 2
Genre: Historical fiction
Pages: 302
Published: June 2011

Ex pirate, Captain Jesamiah Acorne, is in trouble. Big Trouble. All he wants is to marry his girl, Tiola Oldstagh, and live contented aboard his ship, Sea Witch. But her husband refuses to grant a divorce unless Jesamiah agrees to retrieve some barrels of indigo and smuggle them out of the Spanish-held Caribbean island of Hispaniola. The Governor of Nassau wants Jesamiah to go there too, to help incite a rebellion, and Captain Henry Jennings wants him to find a lost spy. To cap it all, Commodore Vernon of the Royal Navy wants to expand his fleet and craves the Sea Witch for himself. As Jesamiah’s hopes for a quiet life tumble about him, the onset of war with Spain scuppers everyone’s plans. Hispaniola is governed by a tyrant who has promised to hang, draw and quarter Jesamiah if ever he sets foot there again.
My thoughts:
In a way this one could almost work as a stand alone novel, but yes I do encourage you to read book 1 first. Jesamiah, I think I have to make some points clear about him. Yes I did say he was a nice pirate, but not that nice. He still steals, and kills like he always have. He is just one of the nicer pirates when it all comes down to it.

Things did not turn out so good in book 1. Tiola is married to someone else and even though she and Jesamiah are back together they still have that fact looming over their heads. Adultery will get you flogged. But there are people who might be able to help, but to do that Jesamiah have to risk his life sailing to Spanish waters.

Jesamiah also made me loose respect for him in this book. He just leaves poor Tiola again but mostly the lack of respect comes from that he thinks it's ok to visit whores. Because it's not love or passion so why would it be wrong? Too bad Hollick is so damn good that she doesn't make me hate him for it. He is just a man of his age and he still loves his woman.

If you are expecting this to be some sort of happy book then you are wrong. Their love is not an easy one. Jesamiah will also suffer for other reasons in this book just like he did in book 1. Life is hard and a pirate could only wish for a quick hanging. Still, it is not a dark book. It's just gritty and real. And our pirate hero will do his best to stay alive as many want him dead and while he is contemplating the harsh life of a pirate.

There is adventure in abundance. This book has spies and secrets instead of pirating. And what else is got is magic. No not that much, Tiola has her craft but there is also something else. Tethys, mother of the ocean. The sea itself is alive and wants Jesamiah. Here and there through out the book she speaks with Tiola who tries to keep her man alive. And we also hear the wind and the land.

I am starting to think they can't be happy. He loves the sea and his ship. She does not want him to be a pirate. But it does make me look forward to book 3 and see what kind of mess they will create there.

I am taking part in the Sea Witch Blog Tour

Helen Hollick's webpage

Here on her blog you can read more about the books

And here you can see the rest of the blogtour. Do check it out as many have giveaways of the books


  1. Has no qualms about sleeping with whores? Well, what else can you expect from a pirate. His reasoning sounds appropriately pirate-like. LOL

  2. I love it when a story has a high octane of dificulties, which is never a bad thing IMO and Jesamiah sounds like he almost is an anti-hero. I must check this out Blodeuedd! ;)

  3. Now this sounds like my kind of book. The title made me smile and I enjoy books that have some angst. Great review!

  4. I do like a good pirate book, but not sure this one will work out well.

  5. Had to laugh!
    "Jesamiah, I think I have to make some points clear about him. Yes I did say he was a nice pirate, but not that nice. He still steals, and kills like he always has. He is just one of the nicer pirates when it all comes down to it."
    That sums him up quite well I think!
    And Missie "Has no qualms about sleeping with whores? Well, what else can you expect from a pirate. His reasoning sounds appropriately pirate-like. LOL"
    Fabulous quote (duly stolen and put on Twitter! @HelenHollick )

    Jesamiah's main problem in life is keeping his breeches buttoned. A problem that frequently gets him into trouble!

    In his defence here in Pirate Code: he does genuinely think that Tiola has rejected him (OK yes, because he seems to have run out on her again... but he has his reasons for that also)

    I must add here, in a previous edition printed by my ex publisher (CallioPress, there were some awful typos that the publisher hadn't corrected - mangoes instead of mangroves being one of them. I can only apologise for those, but assure you that in the present editions pubished by SilverWood Books all these have now been corrected. (but with the law of Typos, I bet you sme new oes have appeared. I am conviced they remain invisible until the actual print run.... sort of like pirates really.... LOL

  6. Well, this is definitely not your usual romance, is it?!

  7. Wow, this sounds like a very dramatic adventure. Too bad he "betrays" their love by visiting whores, but then again, I would expect that from a pirate, I suppose. Very interesting-sounding.

  8. I've heard great things about this series -- I need to read them soon!!

  9. Hm. I think I would have a hard time overlooking the sleeping with whores thing:) It seems like the author does a good job making him still somewhat likeable despite his slutty ways, but I'm not sure I could forgive him!

  10. Irena & Jenny - keep in mind this is historical adventure, not modern time. It would be more unusual(and very incorrect historically) for a sailor _not_ to spend time with "women of ill repute".
    Given the lack of contraception and high death-rate of women in childbirth (1 in 4) at this time, most wives probably welcomed the men "enjoying" themselves outside of the marriage bed - possibly even encouraged it.
    If the alternative was to be constantly pregnant, risking death every 9 months or so, I know what I would choose!

  11. See, now the first one I think I could get in and really enjoy it. This one? I think I'd be wanting to flog the couple for being so stupid. Hm... see what you think of the 3rd. :)

  12. Oh I pirate series?! I need to get on this.

  13. Helen
    Glad you liked the review :) Oh that Jesamiah, I wanted to shout pox on you! But you just made him so likeable that I got why he did it

  14. @Missie
    Aye, it is the way of a pirate. What more could one expect really. And he also thought that at least he gives them satisfaction and money

    Anti-hero..yes I guess he is. I do like how he thinks everything he does is right

    It can be good with some angst now and then. Life is not a dance on roses and especially not for these two

    I am sure it all will end well....I hope! Oh no

  15. @Chris
    Nope, but then it is not a romance either :)

    He wants that itch scratched when she is not around, he still loves her and feels nothing is wrong about it. Oh pirates

    I hope you do

    I thought I would hate it too, but it is just the way he puts it. And it is another age and back then it was nothing wrong. Since he still loved her above everything

  16. @Melissa
    Haha, yes I would flog him for sure. I hope she finds out and tells him that it is not right and that he should change. You will find out more tomorrow

    Arghhhh, aye there be pirates

    Thanks Chris!!

  17. I'm not so sure pirates are for me. The code of behavior seems to be lawless and faithless for the most part. Tiola should leave him!

  18. Great reviews for Sea Witch and Pirate Code! I'm going to have to check out book one for sure. This looks like a fun tour, thanks for sharing the information with me to check out the books at the website. Pirate books are so much fun. :-D

  19. oh dear I really need to buy these soon it seems. Sounds so good :)

  20. Nice review. Sounds like a cute book series I should check out. ^.^ I do have to admit, I'm a sucker for a niceish pirates. =D

  21. spies, secrets, magic. . .sounds good. Not so sure I could be a fan of this pirate, though. . .

  22. This sounds good. I would want to read the first book first though. I'll add them to my list.

  23. I like Hollick so I would read this series for sure.

  24. Jesamiah sounds like a complex character - nice but also not so nice. I think I might like him, but he betrays poor Tiola, so I am not sure.

    It's great that the book is more "real", rather than having a fairytale-like happy ending. I like it when things are not neatly wrapped up.

  25. I like that you mentioned this can stand alone, but works well in the series, too. Fab review :)

  26. Jesamiah was sounding so good but he just went down a few notches for me. Sleeping around is a big no no in my book.

  27. This is really sounding like a fun series! I like stories that are gritty and realistic.

  28. thanks for the warning that this isn't so happy.

  29. oh dear, I think a few of you have got slightly the wrong view of Jesamiah here!
    He's been a pirate for almost ten years, with no family outside of his crewmates - then out of the blue meets Tiola. Part of the point of the story is him beginning to realise that its NOT a good idea to sleep around, that being with other women was a part of his old life, and now he's found Tiola he doesn't need other women.
    Except things happen to confuse the issue.
    He sleeps with another woman in Pirate Code, for instance, because he actually thinks that Tiola has gone back to her husband!
    (Yes, Tiola is married to someone else at the start of Pirate Code)
    The series explores these two people coming to terms with each other - of letting go of the past and walking into the future.
    Jesamiah hasn't slept with anyone outside of marriage - Tiola isn't his wife - yet (can''t say too much as it will be a spoiler)
    I will divulge, though, that by the start of Voyage Four, Ripples In The Sand, Jesamiah has stayed fsithful. The thing is.... will he be tempted to stray...

  30. Helen
    oh no, what are you saying? Who is gonna tempt him? I am so gonna kick that woman's ass! ;)

    Poor Jesamiah, I am giving him a bad rep even though I get him

  31. *laugh* Blodeuedd if you think you can trick me into giving any more away.... :-)

    well, here's just a very small taster:
    In Ripples In the Sand, Jesamiah and Tiola are in England, Tiola is ill (the influence of Tethys) and Jesamiah gets mixed up with smuggling, a jail break, and the uprising of a Jacobite rebellion. Meanwhile, Tiola must discover why Tethys hates her so much.... and why Tethys regards Jesamiah as her own.
    Of course, Jesamiah being Jesamiah (and a man *laugh*) he gets the wrong impression and goes off in a huff.... and meets up with someone from the not so distant past....

  32. @Steph
    That is the truth. I am not saying there were nice people cos they weren't. But Jes is different and he will get the point in the end

    Pirates wohoo, I so have to watch Pirates of C now. Not cos of Depp cos bleh, but cos of Orli hihi

    I hope you like them!

    Lol, can't say I am though, my pirates are just dirty freaks.

  33. Brizmus
    He was a good pirate, trust me. Better than all the rest

    yes I think that would be the best

    I hope you would enjoy them

    I still liked him cos it is not that he betrays her, he thinks what he does is right. But when he finds out she would not think so he stops.

    No heas here for now, just hardship

  34. Melissa
    it does work like that, the 3rd, not so much, but this one for some reason yes

    He does not cheat though. Oh buu on me, I totally destroyed him for you guys

    No sugarcoating things here, no sir

    Still, they do love each other, but life is not fair

  35. Helen
    Oh that Jesamiah! Always getting his panties in a twist ;) He should just sit down and take a deep breath

  36. *laugh* not so much in a twist - just keep them on! :-D

    thank you for the good conversation everyone - this has been great fun!

    I suppose the truth is, we don't mind a bad boy as long as he isn't bad all the way through, and eventually sees the error of his ways.

    I don't think Jesamiah would intentionally hurt Tiola - his infidelity is mostly because of misunderstandings, or a need for comfort because he thinks he's on his own again and has lost her. He does actually say no to an ex flame in Bring It Close.

    Can he continue saying no in the next few books of the series.... ah, even I don't know that!

    Thanks again for the conversation, I've really enjoyed myself here today!

  37. Oooo, sounds like some steamy affairs here. ;D Thanks for the great review!

  38. If it fits the story, I have not really a problem with him having sex with whores and such. The series keeps getting better and better.

  39. Melissa
    Lol, things sure happen

    It does fits and I mean they are everywhere, he can't even have a pint without seeing one

  40. And it was fun having you over Helen :D



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