The Legend of the Gypsy Hawk: Book One of the Pirates of Ile Saint Anne

Written by Sally Malcolm
Review by Waheed Rabbani

In 1716, Zach Hazard, captain of a pirate ship, returns to the idyllic West African island of Ile Sainte Anne. A safe haven for pirates, the island is operated by a pirate king, Captain Dauphin, under a strict code of conduct, the Articles of Agreement, which works somewhat similarly to Robin Hood’s philosophy. Zach meets up with Dauphin’s daughter, Amelia, now a pretty 21-year-old, and a pirate ship’s captain herself. Having heard murmurs in mainland taverns and brothels, Zach wants to warn the islanders of an impending invasion by an armada from some European nations. Amelia and others ridicule Zach’s talk of a truce between the Dutch, French and British, and wonder if their opulent monarchs are more afraid of Ile Sainte Anne than of each other. Yet Zach implores them to flee rather than stay and face death. However, the arrival of a French privateer, the amorous and devious Captain Luc Géroux, provides them with a third option.

First of a series, this novel explores the theme of whether pilfering from the rich to share with the deprived is justifiable. Also, to what lengths will these pirates go to preserve their way of life? The plot continues to hold readers’ attention with the thread of a romance between Amelia and Zach and the presence of an adversary. The descriptions of life on a tropical island, on sailing ships, and in London are eloquently narrated, and the period scenes are effectively drawn. The steamy sexual encounters and frequent banter between the characters about whether or not to stay on the island seem overdone, but swashbuckling tales set during the Golden Age of Piracy are generally good for leisurely reading, and this novel is no exception. It promises an entertaining series.