Title: Swift for the Sun
Author: Karen Bovenmyer
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: March 27, 2017
Page Count: 230
Genre(s): Historical, Adventure
Reviewed by: CrabbyPatty
Heat Level: 2.5 flames out of 5
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Benjamin Lector imagines himself a smuggler, a gunrunner, and an all-around scoundrel. A preacher’s son turned criminal, first and foremost he is a survivor.
When Benjamin is shipwrecked on Dread Island, fortune sends an unlikely savior—a blond savage who is everything Benjamin didn’t know he needed. Falling in love with Sun is easy. But pirates have come looking for the remains of Benjamin’s cargo, and they find their former slave Sun instead.
Held captive by the pirates, Benjamin learns the depths of Sun’s past and the horrors he endured and was forced to perpetrate. Together, they must not only escape, but prevent a shipment of weapons from making its way to rebellious colonists. Benjamin is determined to save the man he loves and ensure that a peaceful future together is never threatened again. To succeed might require the unthinkable—an altruistic sacrifice.
“Swift for the Sun” is a heady mix of Robinson Crusoe, every pirate movie Errol Flynn ever made, a heartfelt tender M/M romance, political intrigue, the Portuguese colonization of the Americas and … matelots.
Benjamin, the mulatto son of a preacher and himself a fledging gunrunner, survives a shipwreck and washes up on Dread Island – named because no one ever returns from Dread Island. Benjamin is saved by a mysterious castaway named Soli or “Sun” : “The sun rising behind him lit his hair with tints of shining gold, sunlight streaming past a mass of tangled blond braids. His eyes surprised me, not the brown of a native, but smoke-blue like an angry sea, dark and hidden, set deep in the sharp angles of his face […] his slender body was packed with strong, wiry muscles.”
Sun is intelligent, resourceful, young, fierce as any warrior, heavily scarred, yet shy as a deer:
I felt him shaking a little, a tremor across his shoulders. It reminded me of a deer I’d surprised on a trail once, checking for danger.
Benjamin feels “the old stirring my father had desperately tried to beat out of me come alive” and soon he and Sun are “violating Leviticus 18:22 in every delicious way I could imagine” … until Dread Island is once again invaded by Portuguese-speaking pirates, who share a dark twisted past with Sun.
At this point – roughly 33% into the book – the plot swings into swashbuckling high gear with
- Spoiler - seriously, much spoilers within
- a mutiny, lashings, rape, torture, searches for hidden treasure, not one but two pirates abruptly proclaiming themselves to be of royal blood, a reveal that one pirate (and possibly two) is a woman, the appearance of Benjamin’s doppelganger, and much political maneuvering.
“Sun.” I whispered his name again and again. It was my prayer and my salvation.
The author did an incredible amount of research on the Portuguese and Brazilian conflicts in the Caribbean, as well as Icelandic, French, Creole, Spanish, Italian phrases and sayings. I’m fascinated by the pirate concept of “matelot” which was essentially a same-sex marriage where each man shared their property as well as their bed and could be named as the other’s heir. There’s a lot of historical research that suggests the matelot relationship was a common one and acknowledged and accepted in the pirate world. Fun fact: The phrase “matelot” eventually was shortened to “mate” FYI.
The relationship between Sun and Benjamin and their commitment to one another (“Where you go, I go,”) is beautifully told and richly described. There was a tad too much info dumping and political intrigue for me personally, but I would definitely recommend this tale of pirates to anyone looking for a well-researched M/M historical. 4 stars.
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