Anyone familiar with 19th century gentleman writer Robert Louis Stevenson will recognize his words in David Bryant’s own. That’s because Bryant’s prequel to Stevenson’s TREASURE ISLAND picks up seamlessly where the Scotsman left off:
“Nothing unnerves sailors more than knowing that there is something they don’t know. It’s probably to do with the vicissitudes of the sea. When you are constantly threatened by your environment you are scared of it. You may love the life at sea and the freedom it brings, along with the camaraderie that comes from living in the small enclosed world of a ship. You may be fascinated by the things you don’t know, like the nature of the creatures who live below the waves and when the next storm will blow. You may even love the dangers but you are frightened, too, especially when you’re calling brings with it the frequent experience of seeing comrades die.”
— Tread Carefully On The Sea (p. 300). Solstice Shadows. Kindle Edition.
Elegant, fluid writing dotted with generous bon mots of merry making courtesy of “not ready for Disney” characters Pew and Long John Silver kept me glued to pages that painted pictures of “…Jamaican orchids, blue lignum vitae, red poinciana, yellow hibiscus and orange heliconia, all set before six large star-shaped fern leaves” and all for comely lass Jessica on the day of her 21st birthday. Alas, it is not to be as the governor’s daughter is kidnapped by Flint and crew in an effort to prove again, that he, and only he, is fit to rule the waves.
It is to Captain Flint that I kept returning. He is fascinating, on the one hand demanding that I side with him, on the other recognizing that I cannot because, by his own deeds, he deserves his fate.
For readers who love a character that takes control, look no further than the pages of TREAD CAREFULLY ON THE SEA, remembering to take in the hibiscus even as the sheets snap against a fraught wind on a roiling sea.
Tread Carefully On The Sea by David K. Bryant is a truly exciting and believable tale of high adventure.
Author Ann M. Andrashie
that the guests of honor would be pirates.As David K. Bryant skillfully weaves the historical tale of Captain Flint and his crew of miscreants, the reader soon realizes that he will certainly be swept along with the current that is the swashbuckling adventure novel, Tread Carefully on the Sea.Bryant has certainly done his research on the 18th-century Caribbean, and it shows. As a writer of historical pirate fiction, I was able to sit back and enjoy a tale that I knew would be free of historical error, although it is written as fiction. Details about actual nautical facts eloquently disguised as dialogue or plot points within the narrative, pepper the entire book with subtle elements that make the story plausible.Without spoiling the tale itself, I will say that I was pleasantly surprised as a reader to find that, rather than reading just another historical fiction novel about pirates, I was indeed reading the prequel to one of my favorite classics.Tread Carefully on the Sea is one of few historical fiction books that I highly recommend to readers who love Caribbean history, adventure and pirates.Huzzah, David K. Bryant!
By Stew on June 29, 2015
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
PIRATES – A GREAT READ
Although I had known of the film ‘Treasure Island’ I had never watched it or read about it, but the names of ‘Long John Silver’ and ‘Captain Flint’ were also known to me. I guessed their characters but not much else. This book intruiged me as it let me delve into a possible world of these men. Pirates were always the bad men and rightly so in many cases, yet I found myself ‘liking’ Captain Flint especially!
The story moves at a nice pace and the writing is beautifully done. The scenes are easy to visualise with just enough descriptions and each character is easy to imagine. I liked the four hostages and their situation kept me hooked, wondering what would happen. I loved the slight twist at the end (won’t spoil it), always a pleasure to read something supernatural and the story ended well. A very good read to which I am giving five stars.
David K. Bryant is the author of the Roman novel The Dust of Cannae to be published in 2015 by Christine F. Anderson LLC. His previously published book is Tread Carefully on the Sea, a prequel to Treasure Island.
5 stars ~ “Anyone who loves nautical tales will delight in this read”
5 stars ~ “You can almost smell the sea air”
5 stars ~ “A feast”
March 11th, 2015
5 stars ~ Adventure, romance and more!
March 11th, 2015
5 stars ~ This book absolutely did not disappoint.
March 2nd, 2015
5 stars ~ Piracy on the High Seas
Jan. 25th, 2015
5 stars ~ Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum!
Jan 18th, 2015
5 stars ~ An incredibly powerful story
Jan 16th, 2015
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
4 stars ~ Well done–with a minor flaw
Nov 27th, 2014
4 out of 5 stars Well done–with a minor flaw
So why did I give it four stars instead of the five it almost deserves? I suspect the problem is a habit from the author’s experience in journalism. His invisible, omniscient narrator occasionally breaks into the story and takes center stage, adding bits of information or, worse yet, hinting about what’s going to happen next. This works for newspapers or the TV news (more to come, tune in at eleven); it’s deadly in a novel because it breaks the spell, reminding the reader that he’s not actually part of the action or even an observer, but is only reading about it. It’s distancing, and annoying in the extreme. The effect is rather like watching a movie, becoming totally engrossed to the point you forget it’s a movie because you’re “there,” and then your companion, who has seen it already, starts whispering comments—things he thinks you might not have noticed, or spoilers for the coming action. Foreshadowing is necessary, but it needs to be subtle, not done with a sledgehammer.
I should confess that I speak as one who was formerly guilty of the same offense, who has been duly chastised on numerous occasions and is now reformed. Or tries to be.
Pirates and Privateers
The History of Maritime Piracy
Cindy Vallar, Editor & Reviewer
After reading Treasure Island, Bryant always wondered about Captain Flint, a pirate who appears only in the reminiscences of other pirates in Robert Louis Stevenson’s tale. Who was he? How did Long John Silver lose his leg, or Old Pew become blind? Why did Billy Bones have Flint’s treasure map? These questions led to this novel, Tread Carefully on the Sea – a swashbuckling adventure in which readers learn the answers to these questions.Long ago in Jamaica, on the evening of 23 August 1749 to be precise, mischief is afoot. Governor Edward Tremayne throws a party to celebrate his adopted daughter’s twenty-first birthday. Except Jessica fails to attend. Long John Silver and other pirates, including two turncoats within the governor’s household, have spirited away her and her maid, Libby. Tremayne has until the next morning to deliver the ransom payment – alone – or he’ll not see the captives alive ever again.Captain Michael Townsend of HMS Ambitious has been courting Jessica, although he’s reluctant to entrust his heart to her. His wife and son died during his absence, and he’s long blamed himself for their deaths. Accompanying him to the party is Lieutenant Patrick O’Hara, a former boxer who has stood by his captain’s side through thick and thin. Before they arrive at the governor’s mansion, pirates waylay them. Although they initially escape, they end up running straight into Silver and end up as prisoners again.The best laid plans never go as planned. Tremayne appears with the ransom on time, but a burglary at the local gunsmith’s arsenal brings that man and his sons to the same tavern at the same time. Believing the governor is up to some trickery, Silver and his men abscond with the treasure and their four captives. The kidnapping should have been a simple affair, but with matters gone awry, the pirates and the prisoners end up on the deck of the Walrus, and Captain Flint is none too pleased to see his men or the prisoners. Yet this most infamous and dangerous of pirates treats the unexpected arrivals as his guests, and even Jessica’s cheekiness amuses him . . . for a time. He’s also delighted to see Townsend, an old school mate from his childhood.But looks are deceiving and time is running out. Jessica, Michael, Libby, and Patrick know they must escape. But how? They’re in the middle of the ocean aboard a pirate ship where the scoundrels greatly outnumber them. There’s also a growing undercurrent of discontent flittering through the crew, instigated by Flint’s second mate. If the four captives are still aboard when the mutiny begins, they know exactly what awaits each one of them. The miraculous appearance of the Ambitiousprovides them with a chance, a slim and risky one – if they can convince one of the pirates to help them.Fans of Stevenson’s novel will delight in meeting Silver, Pew, Bones, and many other characters earlier in their lives, before tragedies befall Silver and Pew. The only flaws – minor ones to be sure – are the occasional and unnecessary repetition of information already revealed, and the manner in which part of the hunt for Flint unfolds five years after the kidnapping since much of that distances readers from the story, rather than allowing them to “be present” as that event unfolds. In spite of these, Bryant spins a most piratical and compelling prequel to Treasure Island. If you’ve not yet read that book, I heartily endorse the advice at the end of the preview of Tread Carefully on the Sea:
“The crisis was over. Those fifteen pirates were on their way to another story. It’s one you should read if you enjoy great adventures.
“But please read this one first.”
If you have read Treasure Island, Bryant provides satisfying and astounding answers to all the questions one might have about Flint and his treasure. The manipulations of Flint and his second mate are truly piratical, and Silver’s habit of playing both sides of the fence shows just how he’s able to wend his way through the slippery world of scoundrels. And the final meeting between Flint and Townsend is inventive and unusual.Review Copyrighted ©2015 Cindy Vallar