Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Martin Conisby's Vengeance by Jeffrey Farnol

This book picks up right where Black Bartlemy's Treasure left off—with Martin Conisby, our extraordinarily melodramatic hero, still trying to get revenge against the man who killed his father and sold him into slavery on a Spanish galley. Lady Joan Brandon, said villain's daughter and our hero's True Love, is out of the picture when Martin meets the other woman in his life: that wicked, unprincipled pirate lass, Captain Jo, who is Black Bartlemy's daughter. Captain Jo falls for Martin hard, but not all her scheming and machinations can make him forget Joan Brandon, however melodramatically she pouts and mocks and shoots parrots out-of-hand.
Said schemes and machinations might, however, cause death, destruction, sundered hearts, and consumption of even more scenery. How Martin survived his acquaintance with this dangerous woman, and finally found his enemy Sir Richard Brandon, makes up the rest of this tale.
I don't want to give too much away. The same shortcomings that plagued the first book also plague the sequel. When it comes down to it, I don't believe I've ever read anything more extremely melodramatic; even I found it too much, and I love melodrama. That said, of all the revenge stories I've ever read, this is also one of the most surpising and most satisfying. Why don't more revenge stories end like this?
Another thing that interests me in this book is the issue of legal vs more danico/common-law marriage: when you're cast away in the wild, and you badly want to get married, what do you do—especially when deliverance may come any day, or may never come at all? True, it's a question only likely to trouble the hero and heroine of a melodramatic pirate story, but I like what Farnol has to say about it.

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