Kestrel, the King’s Privateer, is preparing to wait out the annual storm season when she receives an unexpected royal order to capture and deliver a rare creature for the king’s menagerie. Before she can weigh anchor, news reaches Kestrel of a long-ago friend in desperate need of help—in the opposite direction of her assigned voyage. In addition, her ship may be haunted by something big, loud, and terrifying.
Before Kestrel can plot a course, she crosses paths with an enigmatic dancer who offers an enticing bargain: sail her home to the Continent, an ocean away, and she’ll reveal the mysteries of magic Kestrel has longed all her life to know.
The temptation of answers endangers her crew and might ruin her privateer status. Worse, taking on this passenger could thrust her into the clutches of the ever-watchful Danisoban mages who lie in wait for her to make the perfect mistake.
Every decision is fraught with danger. Each wrong turn may mean her death or the death of her crew. And Captain Kestrel can walk away from none of them.
Kestrel, the pirate who can whistle up the wind, returns in book two of the Mad Kestrel Series. Captain Kes will defy the king, gamble with her friends’ lives, and run the risk of capture by evil mages to get her hands on the magical knowledge so long denied to her.
Publisher: Lore Seekers Press (June 24, 2022)
Publication date: June 24, 2022
Print length: 319 pages
Check it out on Amazon: http://mybook.to/KestrelsDance
Check out Book One: http://mybook.to/MadKestrel
Love the Mad Kestrel series and want to stay up to date on Misty Massey’s next release? Follow Misty on Amazon here: author.to/MistyMassey or check out her website: https://www.mistymassey.com/
“I’m waiting for someone.”
The man pulled out a chair with his foot, and seated himself, pushing a mug to her. “I’ll wait with you, then. Name’s Tooley.”
Direct, this one. No flowery poetry to try and sweep her off her feet. He probably didn’t know enough words to call a pup to heel, much less to romance a woman. Back at the table, several of his fellows were smirking and nudging each other. One fellow reached into his jerkin, pulled out a paper bill and laid it on top of a growing stack. A betting stack, but no one was tossing the cubes. There was only one other chance they might be betting on. If there was a wager on his success, someone was about to be disappointed.
Kestrel watched the foam in the mug dissipate in slow, languid pops. “Best if you press on now, lad.” He cleared his throat. “There’s a right lot of wicked fellows about. What kind of gentleman would I be if I left a lady undefended?”
She leaned back in her chair, and laid her hand on the leather dagger scabbard strapped to her thigh. “A lady I’m not.”
He waggled his eyebrows in a way that he must have thought was appealing, but only reminded Kestrel of wooly worms writhing in the sun. “You’re going to be more of a challenge than I thought, Captain.” “You know me.”
Tooley scooted his chair closer, and took a swig from his mug. “Aye, sweeting. I’m the man what’ll be winning you.”
The others were huddling closer to each other, their laughter now unmistakable. She wondered whether he was the best they had, or whether they were hoping to embarrass their companion by watching him fail so publicly. It didn’t matter much either way. Kestrel pushed the ale back toward her suitor. “You’ve lost your bet. I’m not interested. If I was, I wouldn’t choose a man who’d lay money on my knees parting.”
Guffaws exploded from the crowd behind him, and money began changing hands. Kestrel didn’t join in. She kept her gaze fixed on Tooley.
Color drained from his face. His jaw tightened. Slowly, he rose to his feet, took another swallow of ale, and set his mug down on the table. “No woman tells me what I can bet on,” he said, his voice measured. “Think you’re above me, do you?” Reaching down, he grabbed his mug and flung the contents in her direction. Ale splashed across the table, filling the air with its pungent tang.
Kestrel rolled out of her chair, drew her dagger and dropped into a fighting crouch. There was nothing for it now. “You’ve spilled your beer,” she said.
Tooley growled, low in his throat. He drew his own weapon. A knife, with a wicked serrated blade. She’d read the signs aright. And now he was between her and the door.
Review from Booklist for The Mad Kestrel Series:
Massey debuts with a colorful romp through strange lands and stranger seas. In a world in which magic is a monopoly of the Danisobans, and all children showing signs of power are taken from their parents and raised by that order, young Kestrel had hidden her talent and eventually escaped to sea, where magic is cancelled by water. Now risen to the post of quartermaster of a pirate ship, she loves her life. But to keep it, she must never let anyone know that she can magically control the wind. When her captain is entrapped and arrested, the young quartermaster must gather and command the crew for a rescue. That takes all the strength and wit Kestrel can command—and guarded use of her magic. This Errol Flynn–ish swashbuckler features loads of action and larger-than-life characters, plausibly grounded in the realities of life at sea. A real page-turner, and a successor is in the works.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Misty Massey is the author of Mad Kestrel, a rollicking adventure of magic on the high seas, Kestrel’s Voyages, a collection of short stories featuring those rambunctious pirates, and the upcoming Kestrel’s Dance. She is a co-editor of The Weird Wild West and Lawless Lands: Tales of the Weird Frontier, and was a founding member of Magical Words. Her short fiction has appeared in many anthologies and she’s working on a series of Shadow Council novellas for Falstaff Press featuring the famous gunslinger Doc Holliday. When she’s not writing, Misty studies and performs Middle Eastern dance and will, on occasion, surprise everyone with a batch of home-baked snickerdoodles. She’s a sucker for good sushi, African coffee, SC Gamecock football, and the darkest rum she can find. You can keep up with what Misty’s doing at mistymassey.com, Facebook and Twitter.