Once Upon A Romance

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The Barbary Pirates by William Dietrich


Cover art: The Barbary Pirates Reviewer: Michael Smith
Title: The Barbary Pirates - 4st in the Ethan Gage Suspense series
Author: William Dietrich
Publisher: HarperCollins
ISBN-13: 978-0-06-156796-4 (Hardcover)
Release Date: March 2010
Genre/Sub-genre: Mystery/Suspense
Year/Setting: 1802 Europe
Overall Rating: 3.75
Sexual Content Rating: Subtle
Language (Profanity/Slang) Content Rating: Mild
Violent Content Rating: Moderate (battle scenes)
William's Website: www.williamdietrich.com

The book involves the pairing of an American adventurer, Ethan Gage with a trio of savants (an English geologist, William Smith; a French zoologist, Georges Cuvier; and an American inventor, Robert Fulton). For me, the book started slowly, I had trouble understanding how four different individuals came together as a team. I got interested in the book after seventy pages. I am glad that I stayed with it, since the author weaves various plot threads together for an exciting conclusion.

The story begins in 1802 in Paris, where Mr. Gage and the savants are engaged on a mission from Napoleon Bonaparte to search for an ancient weapon. The quartet battles a mysterious & demonic group (Egyptian Rite) from Ethanís past in Paris. They are pursued and meet with danger in the canals of Venice before journeying to a Mediterranean island destination.

The search of the island is a bit nerve-wracking, since they seem prone to get into situations that question whether or not they will survive. They are captured by the group and taken to their stronghold in Tripoli. Ethan discovers that his lover and a son he never knew are being held captive. The American navy is at war with Tripoli and is patrolling offshore.

Can Ethan free the savants along with his lover and son? Will Ethan aid the Egyptian Rite in their quest to obtain the ancient weapon?

To save his lover and son, Ethan agrees to search for the weapon in exchange for release of the savants. The Rite discovers the location and steals it. During a sea battle, Ethan is blown overboard and is captured by an American frigate captain. Can Ethan persuade the navy to enlist the savantís aid to devise a method to destroy the weapon? Will the Tripoli raid be successful? Will Ethan save his lover and son?

The last seven chapters lead you through the Tripoli raid to an exciting conclusion which answers these questions and more! This is the first time I have read one of William Dietrichís books, and while I was confused at first, the characters did come alive and I was drawn in to the story, rushing to find answers to my questions. This is a refreshing period story which leads you to a thrilling climax. I am glad that I read this book.


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