Reviewed by Jennifer Leisey

When Lola Blaise was born into a family of gypsies, her saving grace for a better life than her mother – who danced and sold her body for profit – was her virginity and the possibility of landing a good husband. When that is stolen from her, Lola is forced into a world of theft and scavenging until ordered by the courts to serve time for her crimes in America.

During her time in America, she meets the scathing woman who becomes the infamous Anne Bonny. From the moment the two women meet, Lola learns how cruel Anne truly is – from ruining her chest of medicinal supplies to stabbing her with a pair of scissors.

Eventually Lola finds herself in Providence – a Caribbean paradise for the pirate community – and has the misfortune of meeting Captain Edward Teach, also known as Blackbeard. And while Blackbeard presents himself to Lola as a gentleman with saintly morals, she learns his true demeanor is far from saintly after agreeing to marry him – and becoming his thirteenth wife.

Unfortunately for Blackbeard, thirteen is a very unlucky number for the ravenous pirate.

Life on the seas during the height of piracy was harsh, and Perriman’s depiction in Fire on Dark Water is far from sugar-coated. Some of the scenes in the book are vicious and macabre, and may not be best for the faint of heart. But, behind the gruesome images is the captivating story of a brave young woman and her desire to chase her own destiny.

While I enjoyed the storyline in Fire on Dark Water, it is not a book I would pick up to read a second time. The story covered such a long time frame that it almost seemed to skim over the biggest plot points. As a result, the drama was very watered down (no pun intended). I also expected that most of the novel would be about Blackbeard, but he only shows up about halfway through the story. The book also talks about child rape, murder and dismembering, and includes other violent imagery, so if you’re a reader who prefers lighter topics, this wouldn’t be a good match.

Rating: 2.5/5

Since graduating from Kutztown University of Pennsylvania with a BA in Professional Writing, Jenn works as a freelance writer, poet, and blogger at south of sheridan. She resides in Pennsylvania with her husband, and loves baking, crafting, and anything that requires a hot glue gun.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Berkley Trade. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.