When I first heard “Tread Carefully on the Sea” by David K. Bryant was about pirates, I thought of movies like Pirates of the Caribbean and of pirates like Jack Sparrow. Who wouldn’t want to read a book about the pirate life if a pirate like Johnny Depp’s rendition filled the pages? While I would love to say I got what I expected, I can’t. I was a tad disappointed, but perhaps that has more to do with the type of fiction I do tend to read verses what I don’t.
The basis of the story is that Jessica Trelawny is turning 21 and her uncle has orchestrated a massive ball in her honor. A loving suitor is expected to attend; the same man she hopes to receive a proposal from. Unfortunately, her party is crashed by some unruly visitors. The pirates kidnap Jessica and her maid Libby as well as her would-be suitor and his second in command. As an unexpected turn of events, the four must fight for their lives if they hope to survive.
Now, I was most certainly intrigued by the story. However, there are some parts I wish had been executed a little better and others that peeked my interest. It took a little bit for me to truly get involved in the goings on of the novel. Part of this I attributed to the omniscient point of view where I got a gander into everyone’s head of any consequence. A few I believe could have been left out. To me, the kidnapping of Jessica Trelawny had been a tad rushed. I would’ve liked to have seen more of this without so much of the history of the characters being told in the process. Truthfully, I believe the way the Trelawny’s came into power had been covered more in the middle of the novel when Jessica Trelawny, Libby, Captain Townsend, and Lieutenant O’Hara exchanged stories.
What I liked most was that despite the circumstances, Jessica and Libby were not portrayed as helpless women. Not only were they both educated, they both handled themselves quite well and offered a hand when push came to shove. I also liked how both the Captain and Lieutenant had their moments of idiocy. It showed they were men who could act on emotion and not just instinct or rational thought alone. I loved the way these four came together, hatched a plan and escaped while taking down a few pirates along the way.
As for the pirates, well… in the end they were true to their station. Even with mutiny afoot, they were all selfish and conniving creatures of habit. I’m not sure how I feel about the way their portion of the story concluded. Flint proved he had a heart of stone, but died in quite a fitting manner. Perhaps my favorite part of pirate story is how the author contributed to the idea that the Pirate House in Savannah, Georgia is haunted. Then again, I love a good ghost story.
All in all, this was a decent novel. I give it 3.5 stars.