In 1692, high-born runaway Catherine stows away on an English merchant ship to escape a family who believe her to be a witch. But the young French woman discovers her choice of transport isn’t what she expected. Captained by veteran sailor Ben Archer, the ship’s crew are no longer in a position to pursue their livelihood as legitimate privateers and are instead faced with the only alternative – to sign the ship’s articles as pirates, a move that places them all in danger of the hangman’s noose.
Catherine finds herself caught in a difficult position – not only is she in danger of bringing bad luck on the ship merely by being a woman, but she also has to contend with a possible mutiny, attacks on her own countrymen, and two officers competing for her affections.
‘The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea’ is a right rollicking swashbuckler of an adventure, with guns, swords, double-crossing pirates and a bit of romance for good measure. The author had me at the first page of this excellent tale – her attention to detail is so perfect, I could almost smell the sea air as I turned each page, feeling myself slide down the sea-soaked deck as we sailed into the unknown, creaking hatches and guns a-blazing all around.
Johanna Craven is one of those rare talents who can lift a story off the page and bring it into stark reality. This is a brilliant book and I’ll definitely be reading more of her work in the very near future.