When Ted Bascombe is rescued from a slave ship by a notorious 18th century West Indies pirate (under the guise of operating as a privateer), he finds himself in an unlikely apprenticeship as he learns the arts of navigation and piracy. Flashing ahead several hundred years, marine archaeologist Ted Rhodes lands himself a job in the mysterious world of underwater treasure hunting and antiquity recoveries where he puts his extensive scuba-diving experience to good use.
Pirate Hunter has a lot of good things going for it. Tom Morrissey skillfully weaves the stories of Ted Bascombe and Greg Rhode together, drawing striking parallels out of lives existing centuries apart. The story is found not so much in the treasure-hunt, the capturing of prizes, or the recovery of sunken artifacts, but rather in the emotional journeys taken by Ted and Greg as they journey through pasts filled with pain into the clearer waters of forgiveness.
The two intertwined stories were meshed incredibly well and were what kept me in on the story right through until the end. The rather poor handling of the romantic storylines just served to jar me from the rest of the story rather than enhancing it. It is fairly common for male authors to sort of fudge up the romantic sub-plots and it can seem that they are only inserted to sell any possible female readers. That is the way the romance comes across in Pirate Hunter. Greg really seems a bit of a loser - noncommittal emotionally and to faith, what Sheila sees in him remains a mystery to me. Ted's courtship on the other hand is sweetly traditional - and I loved reading those parts - but the actual emotional buy-in never arrived.
I was struck by the similarities between some of the characters with popular big-screen pirate heroes (Pirates of the Caribbean anyone?) These are more understated and realistic, and are grounded firmly in historically accurate piracy as opposed to the fantastical, but I couldn't keep myself from drawing a comparison. Tom Morrissey draws upon his own extensive deep-sea diving experiences to provide a lot of technical detail for the treasure hunting scenes, and his research into nautical terms is just as impressive.
So, while I had to deduct some points for the romances that just didn't fly for me, this was still a very enjoyable, and even at times humorous read. If you are in the mood for some nautical adventure and don't need the wind of romance to fill your sails you might want to check this one out.
Morrisey does a fine job with this novel. It is a great story that seamlessly moves through time from one chapter to the next, and back again. The characters are well developed, and Morrisey's experience and research are evident on each page. The underlying story of family and forgiveness was a true blessing.
A very interesting blend of 1600's action with a current day archaeology expedition. It was a captivating read, as chapters blended together. I hope that Morrisey gets another nomination for a Christie Award for this novel