As the youngest son of a powerful and ruthless lord, Dradin is seen by his own family as more or less surplus to requirements. His fair looks and slight build make him the target of bullying, even by his brother Vax. Yet, despite it all, Dradin has not developed the cruel streak that his family is known for. He treats his young servant fairly and has a reputation for fair dealing when looking after his father's estates. Dradin knows that his family is widely despised, for good reason, but when he falls into the hands of the notorious pirate Captain Rastay, he starts to realize just how little he knows about his family's dealings.
It's a pretty safe bet that any story by this author is going to have an element of dubious consent, yet the story woven around the event is almost always compelling, and that is definitely true of this book. As in the last book I reviewed by J.C. Owens, Soulseeker, the central character of Dradin is already rather damaged by a highly dysfunctional family environment before the story even begins.
Dradin is an interesting character, to say the least. It's quite common for those raised in abusive environments to become abusers themselves, but this young man turns the other way. He is strong-willed enough to resist violence and even avoid conflict by being as emotionless as possible. His calm is shattered when he meets Rastay, a man with more reason than most to hate Dradin's family.
Rastay is a man whose desire for vengeance clouds his better judgement. But taking the young man to ruin him as retribution for the deeds of Dradin's brothers doesn't work out quite the way he planned. In the end, you could say that neither Rastay nor Dradin are the men they imagine themselves to be.
The fantasy world of pirates in tall ships and smugglers lurking in country inns is quite well drawn. Within this world, the characters of Rastay, Dradin and those around them are quite believable, although I felt that the degree to which Dradin turns on his family in the end stretched credulity a bit far. Still, it's a darn good yarn that will get your swash truly buckled. The author appears to be planning more books around the same characters, and I look forward to reading them.
“Siren’s Call” is available from Amazon.