Okay, so the fourth adventure of sword jockey Eddie LaCrosse, Wake of the Bloody Angel, hits shelves and reading devices this summer. What’s it about, you ask?
Why shouldn't I smile? I'm a goddamn pirate! Charlton Heston as Long John Silver in the best version of Treasure Island.
Oh, sure, there’s other things: the weight of the past, the nature of truth, the limits of friendship, sea monsters. But the selling point for me, the reason I wanted to write it, is simply that one word: Pirates.
See, not to brag (okay, maybe a little), but I was into pirates before they became cool again. Sure, I liked the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie; but before that I’d also liked the Errol Flynn triumvirate of Captain Blood, The Sea Hawk, and Against All Flags. I liked Burt Lancaster in The Crimson Pirate, and Tyrone Power in The Black Swan. I liked little-known pirate films such as Nate and Hayes, starring Tommy Lee Jones, and Swashbuckler, with Robert Shaw.
And before all those movies, there was the book: Treasure Island. It was the first “real” book I read to both my sons. It has everything a boy expects from a novel: action, adventure, suspense, a hero they can identify with, and one of the great lovable villains, Long John Silver. That it also involves pirates, and treasure, and castaways, and mutiny, and the lore of the mysterious Captain Flint, doesn’t hurt at all.
Maureen O'Hara puts Tyrone Power in his place in The Black Swan.
For each Eddie LaCrosse novel, I try to come up with a new setting. In The Sword-Edged Blonde, we traveled his world to learn about Eddie and his past; Burn Me Deadly concentrated on Eddie’s present, and the town of Neceda where he lives; then, after two novels where we met his friends, Dark Jenny drops Eddie alone and with no allies into the middle of an island kingdom, where he’s suspect number one in a murder. In each case, the idea was to both change the physical location, and a find a new way for Eddie to interact with it.
Errol Flynn as Captain Peter Blood.
So for Wake of the Bloody Angel, he goes to sea. With a crew of ex-pirates who are now pirate hunters, and in the company of Jane Argo, currently a sword jockey like Eddie, before that a pirate-hunter, and before that a pirate herself. His quarry is a friend’s former lover, the pirate who made the single greatest haul in all of recorded pirate history, then vanished with it.
That’s my skeleton. The muscles and flesh on it, though, are informed by a lifetime of watching and reading about swashbucklers in action. Eddie is no Tyrone Power or Errol Flynn (well, maybe the slightly-past-his-prime Errol of Against All Flags), but hopefully you’ll enjoy reading about his adventures on the high seas. And watch for more of the novel’s background and inspirations, coming soon.
Want to win an ARC of Wake of the Bloody Angel? Tell me about your favorite pirate in the comments (and make sure to leave an e-mail so I can reach you if you win). Contest ends at midnight, May 6.