You love tales of space pirates, yes? Of course you do. Why did I even ask?
Bennett R. Coles is the author of the Virtues of War trilogy, which we covered here around this time two years ago. His latest, Winds of Marque, is a tale of star-sailing ships, secret identities, dashing commanders and plucky quartermasters, not to mention “interplanetary travel, black powder cannons, and close quarter cutlass duels with members of the brutish Theropods and their mighty tail swords” (Booklist). And pirates! Lots of pirates. Kirkus gives it their stamp of approval.
With solar sails hoisted and war with the Sectoids imminent, Imperial Navy Subcmdr. Liam Blackwood, enigmatic quartermaster Amelia Virtue, and the crew of the HMSS Daring must stop space pirates from disrupting human supply lines in the outer sectors in the first book in a new series.
Unable to catch the pirates outright, they pose as opportunistic space merchants to gather intelligence. Any booty they take from the pirates remains their prize, but sailing the system under a false flag comes with great risk: Fail, and the emperor will disavow all knowledge of the mission. Every member of the crew will be dishonorably discharged and made destitute. When Daring commander Sophia Riverton’s orders jeopardize the mission, that threat becomes all too real, and the crew slips closer and closer toward mutiny. Romantic complications notwithstanding, Liam and Amelia have to uncover the truth about Riverton before the pirates discover their ruse and scuttle the mission, destroying any chance humankind has against the relentless Sectoids… Traditional science fiction lovers may get distracted looking for more space tech, but lovers of classic high-seas adventures and those who enjoy genre-bending SF will find this swashbuckling space adventure a worthy read.
Winds of Marque is the opening volume in a new series, Blackwood & Virtue. It is 354 pages, priced at $16.99 in trade paperback and $9.99 in digital formats. The cover is by Damonza. Read a sizable 30-page excerpt, the complete first two chapters, here, and listen to a 4-minute audio sample here.