Author ~ Megan Derr
Publisher ~ Less Than Three Press
Published ~ 13 July 2016
Genre ~ Fantasy M/M Romance
High Commander Lesto Arseni is the most feared man in the Harken Empire. None but the High King dares risk his wrath—and a pirate who once punched him in the middle of the imperial pavilion. A pirate who later snuck away with Lesto to an empty room, touched him in ways far more memorable. And then immediately bolted like a man who'd gotten what he wanted.
Shemal just wants to live a normal life, leave his pirating days behind him and prove that he's respectable now. The last thing he needs is the two idiots who show up wanting his help with the noble they've kidnapped—the very man Shemal had been hoping to prove himself to, the man he hasn't forgotten since Shemal punched him a year and a half ago.
This is the second book in the Tales of the High Court series and one I was dying to read. Lesto was one of my favorite characters from the first book and having him paired with the pirate had me making grabby hands. Perfectly balanced between action and romance this tale has got everything I've come to love in Megan Derr's work.
In the first book in the series, High Commander Lesto appears with a black eye after a brief (off page) altercation with a pirate awaiting trial. This tale comes to reveal that this wasn't the only exchange those two had. The Pirate of Fathoms Deep picks up the story a year and a half later, with Lesto in a tight spot that brings him, by coincidence, to Shemal the pirate's doorstep. The same pirate that had been cocky enough to hit him while still in shackles and whom Lesto has had a hard time keeping out of his mind. Shemal is more than a little shocked to see Lesto again. After being pardoned, he retired to a remote area and tried to stay out of trouble while pining over Lesto, however he doesn't hesitate to offer his help and while they travel together they eventually have to confront each other and what happened between them when they first met.
Lesto's character was very detailed in the first book so I thought I knew what to expect. The way he acts around a lover though was something novel and an aspect of him I enjoyed a lot and gave his character new depths. Shemal on the other hand was a new character and I can say that I was delighted with how he was presented. The parts that are from his point of view show a great juxtaposition between the self-assured pirate he presents to the world and the affection starved, slightly self-deprecating man he truly is. Lesto, despite having enjoyed a privileged life, has denied himself the simple but meaningful pleasures in life for far too long. What he craves is a partner and a home and the only one he's ever wanted is his pirate. Shemal can't picture himself as an ideal partner for a man who is essentially royalty and is constantly waiting for the other shoe to drop. Learning how to communicate is the only way they can both have what they desire.
The story jumps straight into the action, throwing the two main characters together. With a bloody massacre on a ship being the central mystery of the story, a mistaken identity, fights with creepy foreign mercenaries and the slightly irritating but justifiable miscommunications between the two characters, this read was anything but dull. There were enough Lesto and Sarrica interactions to satisfy anyone who loved them in the first book, and for those who love it as much as I do, enough High Court drama to please you. The Farlander culture is also further explored in this book as it's where Shemal is from and it was an interesting insight to his upbringing. Tara, Allen and Rene also have brief appearances but they are relevant to the story and not cameos which I enjoyed very much.
The book stays faithful to the first one as far as the world building and the characters are concerned. There are some differences in the writing and the pace, which I thought were fitting since they fall in place with Lesto's and Shemal's rougher characters and the fact that there's much more on page sex. The book is equal parts action and humor and it doesn't really go to the dark places the first one went. I loved it in the first one but I can't say I'm disappointed with the lighter mood in The Pirate of Fathoms Deep as I live for witty banter and a bit of swearing in my romance. I would have gone for a little less insecure Shemal, but I could understand where he came from. There was also a point in the middle of the story where I felt there was a falter in the rhythm and it threw me off, but it could have been intended as a “calm before the storm” twist so I don't count it as a major flaw.
To sum up: A romance with sword and fist fights, a pirate out of his depths on dry land and a High Commander with a soft heart, do I need to say more? If you have read The High King's Golden Tongue you're going to love The Pirate of Fathoms Deep and there's a third story coming which is really, really promising! My advice? If you haven't yet read the whole series you should definitely do it - so worth it. The world building is great, the characters are captivating and while you're waiting for the next book you can always look at the gorgeous covers!
Meet Megan Derr
Megan Derr is a long time writer of LGBTQ romance and keeps herself busy reading, writing, and publishing it. She is often accused of fluff and nonsense. When she’s not involved in writing, she likes to cook, harass her cats, or watch movies. She loves to hear from readers, and can be found all over the internet. For more information on other books by Megan, visit her website: www.maderr.com.