Rogues’ Nest

Written by Nick Smith
Review by Helen Hollick

Rogues’ Nest is a pirate-based adventure with all the ingredients of a swashbuckling read. First mate, the Englishman, Ormes, joins forces with Captain Miguel Fanèz in a search for Maria, Miguel’s sister, who has been captured by pirates. The various adventures, fights, twists and turns involved in finding her make for an interesting sea-voyage for lovers of pirate nautical fiction.

The research is very good, both for the life of the time and nautical accuracy; the author obviously knows his stuff when it comes to ships, sailing, and the somewhat squalid life of a buccaneer. (Some squeamish readers might find the detail a little too realistic.) For the narrative itself, Nick Smith has a very good flare for story-telling, and there are some exciting scenes that keep the pages turning.

However, there are several typos, and the grammar could do with a polish in places. Some of the scenes put me in mind of a ship caught in the Doldrums – in need of a strong following wind to keep the action moving. The main characters were well drawn and believable, albeit others appeared then disappeared, to not re-surface until much later in the story, by which time I had forgotten about them. There is some Point Of View head hopping, which personally I do not mind, but some readers do find the continuity hard to follow when this happens. A professional re-edit would easily sort these hiccups though. I loved the cover and the overall presentation was good. So overlooking the minor flaws, as a debut novel, Rogue’s Nest is an entertaining story written with great passion for pirate fans. With a good editor behind him, Nick Smith has the potential to become a promising writer and a great story-teller.