When we last left the swashbuckling, ribald and irreverent Ethan Gage, he had barely escaped from the clutches of the infamous Barbary Pirates in the novel of the same name. The year is now 1803, and the American adventurer is actually settling down with his new wife, Astiza, and their young son, Harry. The early part of the book gives a nice recap of the prior Gage adventures that allow for audiences to jump right in without feeling lost.
"The series continues to amaze me and is written with such an even and light tone that it is instantly accessible to any who venture into these pages. THE EMERALD STORM is Ethan Gage and author William Dietrich at the top of their game in another page-turner sure to please all who dare to read on."
Since this is an Ethan Gage novel, readers quickly recognize that any respite for familial interaction will be short-lived. Ethan is an American citizen who has been pivotal in many celebrated historical adventures on behalf of his country --- some of which have found him siding on different occasions with both the British and the French. This makes for strange bedfellows as Britain and France are once again at war.
For some reason, Napoleon still sees value in Ethan and overlooks the fact that he is in league with the British patriots who helped him in his last hair-raising adventure. Things start to crumble quickly when Ethan attempts to sell a stolen emerald that the French government believes to be part of a much larger and magical cache that will enable them to defeat the British.
While in possession of this emerald, Ethan is taken hostage by a vicious former French police officer named Martel, who proceeds to torture him unmercifully. He also kidnaps young Harry and disappears with him. To rescue their little boy, Ethan and Astiza must work closely with a band of Brits who have their own agenda --- one that may be closely related to the Gages’ dilemma.
Martel realized that the emerald Ethan possessed could be part of the treasure of the Aztecs --- the long-lost treasures of Montezuma! The action takes them to the Caribbean where the British agents working with Ethan have their own mission involving obtaining gold to finance a black slave revolt in Saint-Domingue. This will be a direct blow to France and their wealthiest colony.
Ethan and Astiza must now participate in the race for gold and funding of a major slave-uprising, and keep their eyes and ears open for any news about Martel and the kidnapped Harry. After Ethan lends his assistance in attempting to free the black slave known as The Black Spartacus, he receives the full allegiance of his British comrades as their paths become one on the island known today as Haiti.
THE EMERALD STORM firmly captures all of the political tumult of the time and paints a highly realistic picture of the onset of one of the longest and deadliest revolts in all of history. We also see the sociological impact that products like sugar had on these times --- a possession that is said to be worth more than the total economic output of Canada. Ethan Gage remains one of the most exciting characters in modern fiction, and I’ve referred to him previously as being a cross between Indiana Jones and Jack Sparrow. With his latest adventure, I find that comparison does not do him enough justice as this plight pushes him further than he has ever had to go before --- morally and physically.
Any time with Ethan Gage is time well spent, and I defy any reader not to be immediately taken in by his charm and wit. The series continues to amaze me and is written with such an even and light tone that it is instantly accessible to any who venture into these pages. THE EMERALD STORM is Ethan Gage and author William Dietrich at the top of their game in another page-turner sure to please all who dare to read on.
Reviewed by Ray Palen on May 17, 2012