Disclaimer: I got this book for free in exchange for an honest review.
Bartholomew Roberts’ Justice by Jeremy McLean is the second novella in McLean’s Pirate Priest book series. And it starts off just a few months after we last saw the Dread Pirate Roberts (wait…wrong story) in the first book.
Where the first book seemed to justify the need for pirates, in that Roberts found there was good to be done as a scallywag, book two seems more focused on Roberts actually dealing with the fact that he is now plundering for the sake of plundering.
In actuality, there appears to be little redemption for the pirates in this book. No longer are they focused on freeing slaves. Instead, they’re focused on power and money and…well, you know..being pirates.
Roberts seems to be in a rather weird place here. At one point, he does focus on doing the right thing, being concerned about the death of innocents and such. At other points, he’s willing to attack and destroy other ships purely for what they’ve got in their cargo hold…those folks apparently not being innocents simply because they’ve got stuff Roberts wants.
I have to admit this piece of the puzzle caused me pause, but the story itself was well told. We see Roberts battling somewhat with this designation of pirating (although not nearly enough in my opinion), but also battling with those who would aim to do further wrong in his eyes. And we also see him focused on treating everyone the way they should be treated, even if his reasons for determining how their karmic place seems questionable at times.
Ultimately, this is another great swashbuckling tale where we see how life on a pirate ship might not be all rosy between the scum and villainy who are generally on those ships. And Roberts, the man of God, is in the middle of it all, trying to keep control.
By the end of the book, we do see Roberts begin to turn back to his roots, but the question remains…can you be a pirate and a man of God?
Definitely worth the read, especially if you enjoy any of McLean’s other books. And Roberts is a rather endearing character. The lapses in his judgment could definitely be seen as more character flaws than flaws in the writing, so don’t think I’m taking away from the skill of McLean here.
In other words, give it a read already. It’s a load of fun!