The Black Ring (Nicholas Fallon Sea Novels)

Written by William Westbrook
Review by Jeff Westerhoff

The Caribbean in 1798 is rich in sugar, salt and coffee while Great Britain, France and Spain vie for control of the trade. Captain Nicholas Fallon, aboard his schooner Rascal, sets sail from Bermuda for Cuba to drop off a senior British intelligence officer to determine if a slave rebellion would be possible on the island, where slavery is widespread. Upon secretly landing in Cuba, Captain Fallon soon learns about the cruelty of this institution. Captain Fallon must also face the pirate known as “The Holy One” who deals in the slave trade while attacking ships in the Caribbean, searching for slaves to trade on the islands.

The background to this exciting nautical tale, the second in a series, consists primarily of the slave trade, slave rebellions, and its effect on the economy of the Caribbean. I enjoyed the first book, The Bermuda Privateer, and found this novel continued to provide a thorough and worthwhile read. The author’s novels are character-driven and don’t use many nautical terms that are understood only by those who sail. He brings the characters and their interactions to life with realistic dialogue. The action is solidly paced and engaging throughout. The period detail blends together the historical facts with the fictional characters.