Piratica by Tanith Lee
Set in a closely parallel world in about 1802, Artemisia Fitz-Willoughby Weatherhouse hits her head on a banister falling down steps and regains memories of her mother, a pirate captain called Piratica. The memories have been buried for six years while she has been attending the Angels Academy for Young Maidens near Lundon. Her rich and strict father sent Art there after her mother’s death, in hopes that she will forget her past. Having remembered her mother and the pirate crew, she escapes from school up the chimney and makes her way to Lundon, hoping to reunite with the crew. The plot thickens when Art finds the crew and learns the truth. From there the twists and turns of the plot come fast and furious, as Art decides to carry on as she thinks her mother would have done. Characters appear and reappear, including a dog and a parrot who each become central to the plot.
The action in this book comes quickly, with much humor thrown in along the way. While it’s not strictly fantasy, there are enough elements of not-quite-true circumstances and events to keep the reader guessing. This is a great read for adventure fans!
Piratica II: Return to Parrot Island
A sequel to Piratica, set in a closely parallel world in about 1803, finds Art considered a national hero, married to Felix and living in a mansion. Free England, now a republic, is at war with the kingdom of France. The admiralty calls Art and her old crew back to serve England and fight the French and their allies, the Spanish. Like Piratica, there are many plot threads happening at once, with the characters moving around among many of the events. The dog and parrot from Piratica each take an important role in the book once again, connecting many of the characters.
Because so much of the book depends on suspense and surprise`, I can’t tell any more without giving away too much of the plot. However, I can say the author loads the book with much mystery, excitement and magical coincidences. I loved the characters; each one of them had distinct personalities so I could recognize each of them. While the book ends well, the author has left the door open for a sequel if she decides to write one.
Reviews by Ms. Goldstein-Erickson