The sources and settings for Wake of the Bloody Angel

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.


17 Comments on “The sources and settings for Wake of the Bloody Angel”

  1. Hi Alex,

    This post does answer a question I’ve had about the Eddie LaCrosse novels ever since I’ve heard about them.

    And to answer your question, I’m going to pick Captain Barbarossa. A pirate badass enough to come back from the dead is a pirate you do not want to mess with. Ever.

  2. The geek in me wants to say Dread Pirate Roberts, but I was a fan of Captain Blood before the Princess Bride was a twinkle in Rob Reiner’s eye.

    So totally Captain Blood.

  3. My favorite is a tie between Gráinne Ni Mháille (Grace O’Malley), the Pirate Queen of the Connacht and all the pirates in Gideon Defoe’s ‘The Pirates!’ series.

  4. I would have to go with Benjamin Horingold, the mentor of Blackbeard. Horingold worked his way from commanding canoes to commanding a 30-gun sloop, and once attacked a ship for the sole purpose of stealing their hats.

  5. Grania O’Malley, yes! Robert Shaw in Swashbuckler–Lord, I haven’t thought of that in years… But…but…I’m gonna vote for Captain Hook and Smee!

  6. Captain Blood’s gotta be my number one pirate. Not only is it a great swash & buckle film, but you’ve just gotta love the soundtrack; the local classical music station plays the theme every once in a while and I recognize it from the first couple of notes.

    BTW, I want to thank you for your earlier recommendation of Treasure Island–I’ve never read the original novel and the Little Guy and I have been going through it and he (and I) just think it’s terrific fun. (I’ll check out the Heston movie too–hmm…I’ll see if the local library has Cap’n Blood too, while I’m at it…)


  7. I’m a long-time Yankees fan, but my favorite Pirate would be Roberto Clemente. I remember watching him play when I was young, and his enthusiasm and love of the game were always obvious. Ah, the pre-steroid era was the golden age and we didn’t even know it.
    My favorite literary pirate would be Jack Shandy from ON STRANGER TIDES by Tim Powers, with Robert E. Howard’s Belit a close second.

  8. Well, sine I’ve never met any pirates, I’ll have to go on my meager pirate experience and say “Captain Redboots” played by Tasha in the Backyardigan’s episode “Pirate Camp”. I love her famous “My boooooooooottttt” line. And my kids love it to, which makes me love it even more!! So excited about Eddie IV!!!!!

  9. My favorite pirate is the one in my ancestry. He was French and sailed the waters around VA. He married a British woman and they had a lot of children. I don’t want to say anymore as I may write a fictional book about him. I LOVE PIRATES! I have a skull and crossbones tattooed on my finger to honor him. I’ll show it to ya if I win. *g*

    Meljprincess AT aol DOT com

  10. Mine would have to be Blackbeard. I love that he used to set his beard on fire to scare the living crap out of folks! That is awesome. I am sure he looked like something straight from the Pitts of hell. Many just gave up without even fighting. I am sure he saved many lives by doing that.

  11. I have to say I have a soft spot for the female pirates, Anne Bonny, Grace O’Malley, Lady Mary Killigrew….

  12. Ooh! I’ve been waiting for your Eddie LaCrosse pirate book for a couple of summers, now.

    My favorite is a rogue-of-all-trades, Woodes Rogers. He fought with and against “the real pirates of the Caribbean.” He was an adventurer, a seagoing entrepreneur, a privateer, and a colonial governor.

    I’m at [email protected].

  13. Fave pirate: Jack Chandagnac (aka Jack Shandy), hero of Tim Powers’ On Stranger Tides.

    Son of a puppetmaker, accidental pirate, deeply flawed individual.

  14. Okay, just now discovered the book on me library’s shelves, scupper me hide, but me fave pirate? Why, that’d be me ol’ chum, Neddy…Edward Teach, aka Blackbeard. My fave fictional pirate would be Col. Thomas Blood…well, all right, truth be told, he wasn’t really a pirate, but he could have been…

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