Tag Archives: Pirates / privateers

Hunter, T.M.: Seeker (Aston West) (2011)

Cover art by Tomomi Ink

T.M. Hunter describes Aston West thus:

Aston is not what your first choice for a hero would be. He doesn’t fit the stereotype of the (as my favorite label from the “Firefly” series indicates) “big d*** hero” like most in the genre do. He’s the everyman who just happens to get into more than his fair share of tricky situations

In Seeker this is how Aston describes himself as well. Aston’s way of making money is as a scavenger pirate and cargo transporter. That means that he cleans up after the pirates if he comes across one of their kills. Not an unknown occupation in today’s world either. Although here we probably just call it the way business is done.

Both Aston and the Seeker are prey to a freelance operator who happens to be the system’s law enforcement service provider. Whoop, dee, doo. Naimakeeda (the seeker) is in as much goo as Aston himself. With his arrival she sees the light at the end of the tunnel appear knowing that it is not a train. I guess there must be some advantage to not being able to avoid knowing what is going on inside people’s heads.

Seeker is a space opera with most of its focus on characters. The one bit of tech that we kind of get to know about is “Jeanie”. Other than that the novella is an adventure story for young adults with pirates that you see and pirates that you do not see. The biggest pirate of them all is the man who is supposed to uphold the law. Tsk, tsk, corrupt politicians – whoever heard of such a thing???

This is a light and easily accessible read in the form of a short-story/novella.


Coughlan, Andy: The Elementalist (2013)

The Elementalist

The Elementalist is very much an adventure story with earth, wind, fire and water elementals being summoned by trained elementalists. We also have pirates (or privateers as they prefer to be called themselves). I have never really understood the distinction, for what they do tends to be the same. But these pirates are good pirates, at least what we see of them. In addition, we get fighting of the sword and magic kind and a little love and betrayal. All of it is told with a twinkle in the eye and maybe a few winks here and there.

Poor Barin Elicerio! He’s not certain exactly what it is he is supposed to have done, except that he has been accused of consorting with spirits of a malignant nature. Barin is pretty confident he has not done so, but the evidence points straight at him. Barely avoiding the death sentence (who wants to sentence to death the star elementalist), Barin is instead exiled to his birth town forbidden the practice of elementalism. And that is a pretty harsh sentence to serve for a person who practically eats, drinks and breathes elementalism.

Strange things begin happening in Barin’s life. First comes the strangest storm the sea-side village has ever seen.

Barin knew the sea. He had grown up in this village; his father had been a fisherman. He knew about the winds, the tides, and the dangers of the sea. He knew that if the wind blew from the north, as id did now, then the sea in the small protected harbour should be calm…. Far below, powerful white-crested waves tossed the moored boats about like toys….

The wind whipped at them from all directions. The rain and sea spray glowed eerily in the milky light from the small lighthouse. Out of the darkness came snatches of the fearful cries of fishermen, carried on the gusts of wind that threatened to throw everyone into the raging sea.

To the rescue men, to the rescue. Some of the fishermen are saved from the wrath of the waves but not all. What Barin does during the storm changes the attitude of the villagers toward him. Or perhaps their eyes are opened to their own folly. Strangewort, the town Elder, finally accepts Barin, thus opening up the way for the rest of the village to begin treating Barin like something other than a pimple under the skin.

Then another boat fights its way to land having saved several fishermen from certain death. Privateers led by Captain Glib turn Barin’s life up-side-down. All of a sudden Barin finds himself breaking the edict of the Tetras and on the run trying to figure out what on earth is going on.

Courage is a strange thing and we find it at the strangest times and in the oddest places. Barin finds his courage when his journey to figure out why the elemental spirits are behaving the way they do begins. He continues having to drag it out, facing his fears and learnings. Perhaps the most courageous thing any of us does is face ourselves and admit that what we have been taught is only partially true. Barin gets a lot of practice doing that in The Elementalist.

A fun adventure taking us into the land of possibilities. I would say the starting age for The Elementalist would be from 8 to 10 years old.