A Prequel to the Trophy Chase Trilogy
by George Bryan Polivka
Published by Harvest House Publishers, 2009, 373 pages.
Worldview: Moral universe, a God who changes people when they pray.
This book consists of two yarns that converge at the end of the book. One is the tale of a pirate, Smith Delaney, who is sentenced by some primitive jungle-dwellers to die a gruesome death. He meditates on his life in the meantime.
The other tale is about Damrick Fellows, told previously by a pirate comrade of Delaney’s. Delaney remembers Damrick’s tale, in his comrade’s words, as Delaney sits on a post in the middle of a pond full of piranhas and gruesome flesh-eating sea monkeys, waiting for sunset and the end of his life.
Both tales take place in a fantasy world called Nearing Vast, where the law-abiding citizens are in the grip of ruthless pirates. The shipping companies pay off the pirates, and the pirates pay off the Navy, which doesn’t enforce the law.
Into this situation comes Damrick Fellows, a former seaman who dares to challenge the pirates. Damrick’s tale tells his story and that of Jenta, the woman Damrick loves.
The stories intersect, causing the incident that hands Delaney his death sentence. While sitting on the post in the pond, Delaney ponders and rejects his bad deeds and doesn’t regret the good deed that landed him on the post: saving the life of a tiny girl, daughter of Damrick and Jenta.
The book contains some very memorable and finely drawn characters: not only Damrick and Jenta, but the king of the pirates, Conch Imbry. Their interactions form a tale of heroic deeds, not the least of which is Delaney’s decision to save the girl.
The book is lyrically written, bringing a song to my heart as I read parts of it. However, there is also plenty of violence in the book, briefly described. While not for younger children, it’s appropriate for teens–there are no sex scenes in it. Personally I am not fond of reading about violence though.
The Christian faith is evident–there are priests and crosses. At least one character, a drunk, begins to pray and is changed. Delaney’s heart too changes as he sits on the post and reviews his life. My heart yearns for more obvious response from God in the tale, though.
Characters in this book are often faced with apparently morally ambiguous situations and must make a decision. Delaney makes wrong choices at first, and so do some of the other characters, including Damrick, whose motivations in attacking pirates originally seem questionable. But many of the wrong-choosers eventually realize the error of their ways and change.
This book is really about the complexities of the human heart, and how it is capable of changing for the better. It has a nice solid moral groundwork, memorable characters, and a literary flair. For lovers of action, this is a great book.
Check out what others on the CSFF blog tour are writing on this topic:
CSFF Blog Tour
D. G. D. Davidson
Todd Michael Greene
Rebecca LuElla Miller
John W. Otte
Rachel Starr Thomson