Sunday, November 29, 2009

Book Review: Legacy of the King's Pirates

Legacy of the King’s Pirates series by M.L. Tyndall, Barbour Books:
Book 1: The Redemption 2006
Book 2: The Reliance 2006
Book 3: The Restitution 2007

I first saw the cover for MaryLu Tyndall’s pirate book The Redemption in 2006. My initial thought was disbelief. It intrigued me but really, a swashbuckler book with a pirate hero isn’t your average Christian literature.

Months later, I saw another Pirate book by MaryLu with a slightly different cover, followed by a 3rd book in 2007. By this time, the name MaryLu Tyndall was quite common to me but I didn’t know anything about her or her writing.

In the fall of 2008, I stopped off in a Christian bookstore in Winnipeg, Manitoba on my way back from the American Christian Fiction Writer’s (ACFW) conference in Minneapolis, MN and there on a sale table lay MaryLu’s 3 book series, Legacy of the King’s Pirates. I’ve always been a sucker for tall ships and these book covers caught my eye with their aura of danger and excitement. And at the price offered, I grabbed them. Once home, I put the books on my To Be Read (TBR) pile which is around 400 strong and got down to the business of writing. The pirates languished and I forgot about them.

By this time I’d read a few hundred inspirational books and although there were some I raved about in my book reviews, for the most part I thought them to be okay. Yes, they told good stories of faith and perseverance but they tended to ignore the physical side of their relationships. Now I’m not saying I want to read explicit material—I’m just saying I want to know the two main characters feel a real passion for each other before they take that huge matrimonial step.

Then one day I was watching the ACFW loop go by and a member mentioned this same thing. I was so pleased when another member posted a list of inspirational authors who wrote more ‘realistic’ or ‘edgy’ books. One of the authors on that list was MaryLu Tyndall. Really? I swooped down on my TBR pile and pulled out her Legacy of the King’s Pirates series and left them on my end table to read next.

And I’ll tell you, they are more than I ever imagined a Christian romance could be. I didn’t put them down until forced to by the dictates of family life. They fulfilled my quest for adventure, increased my heart rate, made me cry, and proved that Christian fiction came be just as entertaining as anything else on the market today. In fact, I flipped the pages to re-check the publisher’s insignia on the spine so many times and yet still I couldn’t believe it. Here’s a quick rundown on the books in the Legacy of the King’s Pirate series:

Book 1 – The Redemption – Lady Charlisse Bristol is on a personal mission to find the father who abandoned her as a child. She finds herself dependent on Edmund Merrick, a pirate leader. Running on an unlimited supply of faith, Charlisse struggles with her attraction to Edmund. The pirate leader is torn between his baser instincts and his respect for the beautiful Charlisse who seems to call upon God to do her bidding at will. But who will be the man beside her when she realizes her father is the most terrible pirate of the time.

Book 2 – The Reliance – I was very skeptical of this book because it contains the same main characters as Book 1. I mean I read their story of finding love and faith—what more could there be in a romance? But at that point, I hadn’t realized what a master storyteller MaryLu is. In this book, she didn’t just bring back Charlisse and Edmund, she also brought back the villain who’s extra angry at being bested in Book 1. So, he creates an incident where he’s able to steal a pregnant Charlisse away but leave Edmund thinking she and their unborn child is dead. So here you have a pirate with a shaky newfound faith drowing in misery. What does he do? What do you think he does? He certainly didn’t do what I thought would be printed in a Christian book, that’s for sure. Yet it could have happened so easily in real life.

Book 3 – The Restitution – Now this book was a stunner! Again, the characters are familiar because the hero is none other than the villain in the first 2 books and the heroine is the woman he ravishes in Book 2. This book starts with Lady Isabel Ashton and her 7 month old son who is the result of that fateful day on board Captain Kent Carlton’s pirate ship. As an unwed mother, Isabel’s life is a daily struggle of humiliation but she won’t give up her son for anything. When he’s kidnapped, she does the unthinkable and enlists the help of the baby’s father and his ship to search the Caribbean for him. Can Kent put aside his own agenda of becoming the new pirate king to become the man Isabel and their baby needs?

This series teems with the awesome power of God who stands beside those who serve Him. It resounds with the words from that gut wrenching hymn Amazing Grace in that the heroes are sinners on a path of destruction until faced with the infinite mercy of a Father who forgives everything and wipes the slate clean. MaryLu’s character arcs show the progression of villain to man of faith and made me wonder why I ever doubted a pirate could be saved.

Although this series is a couple years old, it’s still available online at Amazon and possibly even bookstores, new or used. MaryLu is still writing strong exciting inspirational historicals of the same location and era. In fact, she was a guest here at my group blog Inkwell Inspirations in October and will be back on Jan 20th to talk about her new release. For more information on MaryLu and her books check out her website.

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