Friday, July 06, 2018

Once a Scoundrel by Mary Jo Putney


Gabriel Hawkins Vance entered the Royal Navy at the age of twelve and faced many horrific circumstances. At the age of sixteen, he commanded a French prize ship, but when Gabriel had to face his grandfather, Admiral Vance, he felt terrified. He would rather face disease, cannonballs, and ruthless pirates.

Gabriel resigns from the Royal Navy, walking out the door to an unknown future. All he knew was ships and the sea, so he decided to be the commander of his own ship. He could sail wherever, whenever he wanted, and take only the jobs he felt like taking, with the larger the risk the higher the payout.

One of these high-risk jobs is to save a lady who has been captured by pirates along the Barbary states. His mission: negotiate the ransom of fifty thousand pounds and bring her back to England unharmed. (Fifty thousand pounds in 1814 is like $940,000 in today's currency--a kings fortune!)

This "lady" who needs saving is not the average, sweet, curtsying sort. Aurora "Roaring Rory" Lawrence has a reputation for being intelligent, beautiful, charming, and independent--which is what got her in trouble in the first place. The story focuses on the twists, turns, and risks that Gabriel takes to rescue Aurora, her cousin, and the entire crew. With romance, murder, bribes, bartering, harems, and a wicked sheik, Once a Scoundrel is hard to put down. Although it is part of a series, it can certainly stand alone.

She lifted her chin. "Should I go free and others spend the rest of their lives in slavery because of the lucky accident of my birth?"
"In the eyes of God, no, but it's the way of the world in which we live." 
~Once a Scoundrel

~Daniela Green