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Mad Kestrel    by Misty Massey order for
Mad Kestrel
by Misty Massey
Order:  USA  Can
Tor, 2008 (2008)
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

After her parents' deaths when she was small, Kestrel lived as a street urchin, hiding her magical abilities, in fear of being taken and trained as one of the powerful Danisoba mages. Eventually she turned to a pirate's life on the high seas.

As Mad Kestrel opens, she is quartermaster on the Wolfshead, captained by Artemus Binns, the only one who knows the dangerous secret that she herself can work magic. During a storm, they encounter the Thanos, whose handsome captain appears to be using magic - his ship disappears in front of their eyes. They continue on to Eldraga for shore leave. When they meet the mysterious captain again, he makes Artie an offer his greed will not permit him to refuse. The next day, Artie is arrested and Kestrel learns that the captain, Philip McAvery, has commandeered the Wolfshead and sailed away with her ship.

After escaping a bounty hunter who was ready to sell her to the Danisoba mages, Kes takes action. She gathers her crew, hijacks the Thanos, and sails out of Eldraga, with the intent of avenging herself on McAvery and rescuing her beloved Artemus. Along the way, surviving sea battle and a mutiny, she tends a magical plant, and learns that Artie kept his own big secrets - and that neither friends nor enemies are quite who they appear to be. She catches up with Artie at Pecheta, where she wounds an ambitious prince and meets the Ageless King himself.

As this rollicking adventure of piracy and magic ends, Artemus Binns retires, handing on his baton and his secrets to his young protegée - who accepts, with conditions. I expect that we'll see more of Mad Kestrel.

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