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Sunday, July 14, 2013

Swept Up by the Sea: A Romantic Fairy Tale

Title: Swept Up By the Sea

Author: Tracy & Laura Hickman

Publisher: Shadow Mountain

Published: July 2013

ISBN: 1609076613

About the book 

Get ready to set sail on an adventure filled with swashbuckling pirates, true love, and a secret that could kill. Determined to discover his destiny, Percival Taylor leaves behind his sleepy hometown and sets out to become a legendary adventurer. Along the way he falls in love with the beautiful Tuppence Magrathia-Paddock, who has mistaken him for a pirate rogue out of one of her romantic tales. Through a series of comedic events he finds himself captain of a broken-down shipcomplete with a crew of pirates, a reclusive master shipwright, and an old professor with a dangerous secret.

Determined to seek his fortune, Percival Taylor leaves behind his sleepy hometown and sets out to become a legendary pirate. The only problem is, no one at the rough-and-tumble seaport of Blackshore will allow him anywhere near a ship! Percival must find other means to win the heart of the beautiful Tuppence Magrathia Paddock, who has mistaken him for a pirate rogue out of one of her romantic books. She is entirely willing to swoon into his arms if he can prove his buccaneer soul and she will even arrange her won kidnapping to prove it. Percival eventually finds himself captain of a broken-down ship, complete with a crew of reluctant pirates, a jilted fiancée, a reclusive master shipwright, and an old professor with a magical secret that could kill them all. Join the strangest assortment of characters you ll ever meet on the Nine Seas as they set sail for treasure and romance!

About the Authors

Tracy and Laura Hickman have been collaborating on fantastic works of fiction since their marriage in 1977. Together, Tracy and Laura have written role-playing games, screenplays, and works of fiction, including their first co-authored novel in 2004.
Tracy Hickman is a New York Times best-selling fantasy author who has published more than 40 novels, many of them co-authored with Margaret Weis. He published the first of his solo novels in 1995.
Laura Hickman is credited as the first female designer of a published role-playing game module. Tracy and Laura wrote and edited the first science fiction move filmed in space, and a copy of their DNA is currently in orbit on the International Space Station. They are the parents of four children and live in Utah.


Swept up by the Sea is a tale of pirates, mermaids, naiads, goblins, minotaurs, and of course treasure.  A young lad, Percival Taylor is determined to seek his fortune.  His adventure starts when his visits a Madame Zolatana, a fortune teller. Percival sets out to become a legendary pirate.  He arrives unceremoniously in wet heap, at the Mistral's Mistress Tavern having been soaked by a storm. Much to Percival's dismay the innkeeper, Sturvant  MacKraegen know as 'Stoney, informs him that he is to share a room for the night.  But Percival will have none of that and decides to pay extra for his own room. The inn is known to be the Pirates Lair of Blackshore.  Many of the rogues and scallywags from the ship Revenge are drinking and staying at the tavern.  Percival told everyone at the tavern that he was an 'adventurer' and no stranger to those kinds of houses.  Meanwhile, the Governor of Blackshore is out of town leaving his daughter and her companion on their own.  Tuppence, the Governor's daughter, is determined to seek a rogue who will sweep her off her feet into a life of romance and adventure.  The story continues with Percival experiencing a series of events and adventures, with magical and strange characters along the way.

The novel is a young adult (YA) fantasy.  Tracy and Laura Hickman, the authors, have succeeded in creating a book that is enjoyable for most ages.  Descriptive writing elicits vivid images for the reader.  Tracy and Laura's words paint a picture of characters, places and events that could make a great movie.   Percival, a handsome, somewhat naive young lad, becomes a heroic and lovable character.  Each individual in the story have their own unique being, whether human or imaginary.  Adventures abound for all not just Percival.  The Dragons Bard, Professor Knick-Knack, a Djara in a bottle to buried treasure, a ghost ship, and mutiny at sea.  The tale flows and should capture the imagination of most readers whatever their age.

Swept up by the Sea piqued my interest from the first description I had read, " Its Pirates of Penzance meets Princess Bride".  Penzance, Cornwall, England was my connection to the book, having lived there in my youth. But I did not find any reference throughout the story.  Yet the 'fantasy land' diminished any disappointment at no mention of Penzance.  And at times I found myself creating a picture of pirates and pirate ships off the coast of Cornwall.  I liked how the authors dealt with introducing new characters into the story through a chapter for the main ones.  This helped me keep track of their roles as the plot progressed. A highly recommended book for most ages. 

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