When She Loved Me

Piratica II: Return to Parrot Island — Tanith Lee
Piratica, book 2

Piratica-II

Tanith Lee’s 2006 Piratica II: Return to Parrot Island is the middle volume of her Piratica trilogy.

Rescued from the gallows by the adoring mob, reformed pirate Art Blastside has everything society assures her she should want: wealth, position, and her one true love, Felix Phoenix. If there’s one thing of which stories assure us, it is that happy endings and true love are forever.

If only Felix were Art’s only love.


Winning the war between the English Republic and the French monarchy means using all the resources at the Republic’s disposal, even unconventional ones. Art is offered a letter of marque, a crew, and her faithful ship Unwelcome Stranger, on the condition that she use them to harry the French foe. Art desperately misses her life on the sea. It is an offer she would hate to refuse.

Felix for his part never loved the sea. He has no desire to return to discomfort and danger. He does not want thrill-seeking Art to risk her life again. He also has no assurance that if he forces Art to choose between him and the sea, she will choose him.

Art’s nemesis Little Goldie Girl also escaped the noose. Also bored with respectable life as the … ahem … ward of a well-meaning, easily swayed judge, she too heads back to the sea. A pirate once more, she is determined to have revenge on her old foe Art Blastside. Unlike Art, Goldie is not inhibited by any sense of fair play. Why risk all on a face to face encounter with Art (a superior duellist) when it would be so much easier to hurt Art by targeting Art’s estranged and vulnerable husband, Felix?

There is a third lady pirate on seven seas. This one is no self-deluded romantic turned privateer, no abused child turned monster. This is a woman whose name rightly terrifies those who hear it: Mary Hell. A woman who preys on pirates like Art and Goldie.

 ~oOo~

In the previous book, Felix set out to sea in order to hunt down the pirates who ruined his family. He may have become distracted, but Mary Hell seems to be doing a fine job of annihilating the pirate-kind. Pirates inspire that kind of fanatical dedication to their extinction. I guess it’s just another example of how nature limits unchecked growth: too many pirates and the savage avengers will sweep them from the sea.

This is less a novel and more a series of learning experiences: Felix finds out how far he will go to keep Art. Art finds out that ideals don’t keep war from being a very deadly game. The real world is not her stage and the blood is real. She may not intend to kill people, but you cannot fire cannons at ships without casualties.

Of all the unexpected twists, I didn’t expect to feel sorry for Little Goldie Girl. Nor did I expect her second-in-command, Mr. Beast, to reveal unsuspected depths of sympathy and heroism (and judging by Mr. Beast’s reaction to his own speech, neither did he). It’s not just that he was supposedly hanged in the first book. Little Goldie Girl is cruel and self-centred, not someone who inspires loyalty. But as he explains:

I’ve known this lass since she was four years of age. I saw what her daddy did to her, and howhe taught her. She’s rotten as he is, but he was the cause.

Goldie may deserve her fate. Mr. Beast is convinced she does not deserve to face it alone

This was an effective sequel, building on the previous book rather than simply recapitulating it. I am very curious where Lee went with the third book, not least because by book’s end, Art is pregnant. If there’s one author I can count not to use “babies make it all better,” it’s Tanith Lee.

Piratica II: Return to Parrot Island is available here.


Title

Missing or dead mothers

Missing or dead fathers

The Birthgrave

1

1

The Storm Lord

1

1

Volkhavaar

2

2

Drinking Sapphire Wine

0

0

Night’s Master

2

1

Shadowfire

2

1

Death’s Master

3

3

Sabella

1

1

Day By Night

1

2

Silver Metal Lover

0

0

Delusion’s Master

1

1

Cyrion

0

0

Anakire

2

1

Sung in Shadow

1

0

The White Serpent

1

1

The Book of the Beast

0

1

Electric Forest

1

0

The Book of the Mad

1

2*

Lycanthia

0

0

A Heroine of the World

1

1

The Winter Players

0

2

Delirium’s Mistress

1

0

The Blood of Roses

2

1

Castle of Dark

1

0

Prince on a White Horse

0

0

Heart-Beast

0

0

Quest for the White Witch

1

0

Shon the Taken

0

0

Black Unicorn

1

1

Gold Unicorn

0

1

Dark Dance

1

1

Personal Darkness

1

1

Darkness, I

0

0

Wolf Tower

1

1

Faces Under Water

0

0

Red Unicorn

0

1

Saint Fire

1

0

A Bed of Earth

1

1

Louisa the Poisoner

2

1

Venus Preserved

1

2

Metallic Love

1

1

White as Snow

1

1

Mortal Suns

1

1

Piratica

1

1

Piratica II

0

0

41 books

39* absent mothers

34** absent fathers


* Includes one aunt.

** Includes one uncle.


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