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As the story opens René and his friends Martin and Claire are out riding. Martin and Claire are a couple but René is fascinated by her. As events unfold over the next few days Martin and Claire have a run-in with Victor, the town bully from a very wealthy family, and Victor ends up challenging Martin to a duel. Martin accepts even though he is not a very accomplished swordsman but honor is at stake. Claire rushes to inform René who hurries to his friend’s aid. In flashback glimpses throughout the book we see René being trained by a master swordsman he simply calls the Maestro. René is too late to save his friend but he ends up dueling with Victor himself and Victor is wounded almost to the point of death. René must then leave town in a hurry as Victor’s family is seeking his death. This is where the adventure really begins.
René’s father is a wealthy merchant who is often in competition with Victor’s family. René’s father arranges for René to take a position on one of his merchant ships but on the evening before the ship is to set sail René is kidnapped and wakes up to find himself chained in the hold of a ship he’s never been on before. Further, he discovers that the captain is being paid by Victor’s family to take him out to sea and see him drowned. When the ship is attacked by pirates René is able to use his skills to help defeat them. He is then able to negotiate with the captain for his release, and takes possession of the pirate’s ship. He also discovers the pirate captain’s stash of gold and is now set up to try and take down Victor’s family business.
I don’t want to spoil the story for you so I will just say that René goes on to have many more sword fights and meet many interesting characters. There are also several places in the book where there are scenes from ancient Egypt and the impression is that these events tie in to René’s life but the connection is not fully developed in this book which leads me to hope there will be another book because I would love to know more.
My overall impression is that this is a great story. I really enjoyed René and the author did a wonderful job of developing not just René but the other characters as well. I really appreciated the author’s storytelling ability, I was absolutely riveted through most of the book. I did feel like the first couple of chapters were a bit choppy but once the story really got going it kept up a really enjoyable pace. It wasn’t just action though, there were also scenes when the characters spent time relating to each other. There’s no romance as such, but there is attraction. Personally, I didn’t think the story needed any romance. This is a story about a young man finding his way in a very dangerous situation and he does an admirable job of it. I was definitely left wanting more.
I look forward to future books from Elliot Baker and I’m giving this book a 4 out of 4 stars.
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