I picked up Fell Cargo because of its obviously piratical title. This book has maybe the best back cover hook of all time:
"Long believed dead, pirate Captain Luka Silvaro returns to reclaim his ship and embark on a deadly new mission. But the high seas are now more dangerous than ever, and the captain and his scurvy crew of rogues must face pirates, curses, sea monsters and even worse foes. Can Silvaro and his allies track down the dread Butcher Ship and defeat her gruesome undead crew before they too are turned into mindless zombies?"
Who could turn that down?
So I got the book. Devoured it in two days. It has a density of incident that would make Edgar Rice Burroughs blush. In 250 pages, there are four major naval engagements, each involving at least three ships and each ending in a bloody boarding action. There is a treasure map, a stowaway, a voodoo ritual, a prophetic dream, chum in the water, kidnapping, a witch, a sea serpent, a cursed mummy, and a case of hidden identity revealed at the dramatically appropriate moment. Duels of honor decided with swords, drugged wine, sharks, walking the plank, abandoned death ships, and vampire feedings (yeah, that's right) each appear more than once.
Oh, and zombies. Fighting pirates!
Now, here's the crucial part: I read the whole book without gagging once. Years of grading student termpapers have given me an unusually low tolerance for bad writing. I suffered through Robert Jordan's Eye of the World, and Terry Goodkind's Wizard's First Rule, but I'll go no further. I don't care what happens in the second book (or the twelfth, in Jordan's case), if I have to slog through prose that bad to find out.
But back to task: Dan Abnett's writing is, er, _good_. That is, at no point did I wince or groan, and twice I was so moved that I copied down passages into my "favorite quotes" files.
In conclusion, you can go to bed with Fell Cargo and not feel guilty in the morning. I'm going to go read a ton more of Abnett's books, and you should, too.