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A Mad Kestrel Novel
BY MISTY MASSEY
Kestrel, the King’s Privateer, is preparing to wait out the annual storm season when she receives an unexpected royal order to capture and deliver a rare creature for the king’s menagerie. Before she can weigh anchor, news reaches Kestrel of a long-ago friend in desperate need of help—in the opposite direction of her assigned voyage. In addition, her ship may be haunted by something big, loud, and terrifying.
Before Kestrel can plot a course, she crosses paths with an enigmatic dancer who offers an enticing bargain: sail her home to the Continent, an ocean away, and she’ll reveal the mysteries of magic Kestrel has longed all her life to know.
The temptation of answers endangers her crew and might ruin her privateer status. Worse, taking on this passenger could thrust her into the clutches of the ever-watchful Danisoban mages who lie in wait for her to make the perfect mistake.
Every decision is fraught with danger. Each wrong turn may mean her death or the death of her crew. And Captain Kestrel can walk away from none of them.
Kestrel, the pirate who can whistle up the wind, returns in book two of the Mad Kestrel Series. Captain Kes will defy the king, gamble with her friends’ lives, and run the risk of capture by evil mages to get her hands on the magical knowledge so long denied to her.
Review from Booklist for The Mad Kestrel Series:
Massey debuts with a colorful romp through strange lands and stranger seas. In a world in which magic is a monopoly of the Danisobans, and all children showing signs of power are taken from their parents and raised by that order, young Kestrel had hidden her talent and eventually escaped to sea, where magic is cancelled by water. Now risen to the post of quartermaster of a pirate ship, she loves her life. But to keep it, she must never let anyone know that she can magically control the wind. When her captain is entrapped and arrested, the young quartermaster must gather and command the crew for a rescue. That takes all the strength and wit Kestrel can command—and guarded use of her magic. This Errol Flynn–ish swashbuckler features loads of action and larger-than-life characters, plausibly grounded in the realities of life at sea. A real page-turner, and a successor is in the works.
Publisher: Lore Seekers Press (June 24, 2022)
Publication date: June 24, 2022
Print length: 319 pages
“Well met, Captain! I trust I have not kept you waiting over-long.” The voice was icy water on the back of her neck, making the hairs on her arms prickle uncomfortably. Menja Lig stood over her. The King’s Danisoban, counselor and right hand. A man with eyes in every port of the Nine Islands. Who had already made it clear the Brotherhood wanted her as one of their own, and would take her however it could. Her old captain, Binns, may have felt comfortable with him, safe even. She could never, would never trust a mage. Lig had his own agenda, and she knew better than to believe he would keep his distance. No, if she was going to let herself get that close, she was doing it with several dozen witnesses at hand. Lig wasn’t a tall man, but his gaunt frame gave him the illusion of towering height. His face was hidden within the deep recesses of his hood, his features shadowed. He corked a tiny glass vial before slipping it into the folds of his sleeve.
Breathing and talking still took effort. “What’d you do to him?”
“It seemed you needed help. I was only too happy to lend my assistance.”
“Help like yours I can do without.”
He chuckled. “You’re most welcome, Captain.”
As an orphan child, she’d feared the Brethren. Maybe it was the way they seemed to glide when they walked, as if their feet didn’t touch the earth. Their cagey habit of covering themselves head to toe inside black robes, with only their bony hands poking out, the glint of silver at the wrists as a warning. Even now she was an adult, the apprehension never left her. Sitting on the floor looking up at Lig wasn’t helping her feel any stronger. Her dagger lay under the table, not far from Tooley’s knife. Kestrel grabbed both weapons and got to her feet, brushing her free hand on her breeches. She sheathed her blade, and laid Tooley’s knife on the table.
The wench approached. “Care for anything to drink, my lord?” Her flirtatious manner had disappeared. Everyone knew better than to irritate a Danisoban.
“Melan Gold,” said Lig, taking a seat. “Two glasses.”
“One glass,” Kestrel said, knowing she sounded petulant and not caring. “I’m not drinking.”
Skeletal hands, pale even in the dimness of the tavern, reached up and pushed the voluminous hood away from his face. “A sailor who doesn’t drink. Isn’t that what started the trouble before?”
Misty Massey is the author of Mad Kestrel, a rollicking adventure of magic on the high seas, Kestrel’s Voyages, a collection of short stories featuring those rambunctious pirates, and the upcoming Kestrel’s Dance. She is a co-editor of The Weird Wild West and Lawless Lands: Tales of the Weird Frontier, and was a founding member of Magical Words. Her short fiction has appeared in many anthologies and she’s working on a series of Shadow Council novellas for Falstaff Press featuring the famous gunslinger Doc Holliday. When she’s not writing, Misty studies and performs Middle Eastern dance and will, on occasion, surprise everyone with a batch of home-baked snickerdoodles. She’s a sucker for good sushi, African coffee, SC Gamecock football, and the darkest rum she can find. You can keep up with what Misty’s doing at mistymassey.com, Facebook and Twitter.
Links to Misty’s website, blog, books, etc.
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