Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Brotherband #7: The Caldera by John Flanagan

My name is Stig, and the Heron's crew is on a mission to free the son of an empress who was kidnapped by a ruthless pirate named Myrgos. We've discovered the pirate's fortress is located on the caldera created by a volcano in the middle of the ocean. My father is an added complication to the rescue. I'd never met him until he appeared one night to ask Hal and our crew for help. He was once a great Skandian, until many years ago he turned on his crew and stole their treasures. My mother was left to raise me amid the embarrassment and disgrace. Now, the crew doesn't know if he can be trusted, and I'm not sure either. But he's my father. It doesn't help that the empress has offered a reward for his capture, or that villagers and fishermen in these waters are deathly afraid of Myrgos. They'll betray us in a heartbeat out of fear. Despite our concerns about my father and the dangers we'll face, a young boy's life is counting on us.

It's possible to read this book on its own, but you should read the whole series to get the full effect of the Heron's history. Also, this book is not really a fantasy, although some Flanagan's books have a a mystical quality. You'll find the book has many references and descriptions concerning the art of sailing ships, and it's something I enjoy. It's not something I fully understand, but I appreciate the skill it takes to steer a vessel in the open sea. There's a glossary in the front of the book to help you with the nautical terms. Hal is the star of the show, as his intelligence and strategies are the keys to surviving. He built the Heron by hand in the first book of the series, so he's developed an amazing control over it. His creative designs for the small ship make it faster and more elusive than most other ships the crew encounters. Myrgos is an experienced pirate, so he presents a formidable opponent to Hal. Hal has been a natural leader since the series began, so it's admirable to see his aura as skirl grow. He's developed a respected reputation across the seas among sailors he's never even met. As always, Ulf and Wulf add a comedic element to the plot, although not as much as in other books. They're highly competitive with each other and enjoy confusing others. Hal wonders if it's a good idea for Jesper to be teaching them how to pick locks! I've been loving everything Flanagan has written over the years, and if you're like me, you'll love The Caldera too. 

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