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The Sallee Rovers (Pirates of the Narrow Seas) [Kindle Edition]

M. Kei
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Lieutenant Peter Thorton of the 18th century British navy must struggle to come out gay while surviving storms at sea, ship-to-ship battles, duels, kidnapping, and more in his quest for true love and honor. The Sallee Rovers, Book One of The Pirates of the Narrow Seas Trilogy is an expertly crafted swashbuckler brimming with authentic detail and fully realized portraits of life at sea, written by a tall ship sailor and internationally acclaimed poet.

“Pirates of the Narrow Seas was a dashing good tale full of adventure and mayhem." ~Sage Whistler, author of Broken

“Nail-bitingly intense...I highly recommend that you rush out and get this book.” ~Alex Beecroft, author of False Colors

Winner of a Sweet Revolution Award for “Best Full Cast” and “Judge's Pick”

Product Description

About the Author

M. Kei is a tall ship sailor and award-winning poet who lives on the Eastern Shore of the Chesapeake Bay. He served his apprenticeship aboard a skipjack, one of the last vessels in North America to fish commercially under sail. He currently crews with a tall ship that is a replica of a 17th century vessel and has experienced the perils and pleasures of life with "wooden sail."

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 616 KB
  • Print Length: 282 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0615521363
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Bristlecone Pine Press (21 May 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #454,329 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Story-telling at its best 19 July 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A beautifully written, intriguing story with a hero you have to admire. M.Kei has researched the details of his story so well - so not only was I entertained but I learned a lot too, about history, about sailing ships, and about war and about the past and the sea.
This kind of adventure novel would not normally be my kind of reading but I couldn't put it down and I'm going to go buy the rest of the series.
The author has found a way to marry adventure with the kind of romance which speaks to the heart.
An amazing book and highly recommended.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant tale of adventure. 1 Oct. 2013
By Sasco
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A wonderful book which l really enjoyed. My dad was a naval man so l find myself drawn to this type of tale.
l felt for Peter. It is so sad that being gay meant others had a right to judge and a right to speak down to them. We are all human. We have a right to live and love as we wish to. But sadly even now there are ignorant people in the world.
Like the other reviewer l have learnt alot from this book and l will definitely be reading the rest of them.
Good work. Can't wait to see what happens next.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Displeased 10 April 2013
By Leumas
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This novel was highly tedious for me. The author took a great length of needless words to reach the action, and when the action arrived, it was bland and uninspiring. Also, the way that Cpt. Tangle is introduced is beyond shocking. I could find no attraction to him as a character.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.5 out of 5 stars  15 reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A swashbuckling tale full of colour, adventure and romance--a darn good read! 16 Aug. 2010
By Gerry A. Burnie - Published on
The Sallee Rovers by M. Kei [Bristlecone Pine Press, 2010] is the first of the Pirates of the Narrow Seas trilogy and, according to his bio, the author is not only an experienced sailor, but has also experienced many of the risks and challenges described in the story. He can therefore rightfully claim his status as an authority. Having said that, I must admit that I wouldn't know the difference between a marlinspike and a hat pin. Nevertheless, when the discussion got tactical I had no difficulty following it, nor did I find that it burdened the story--that is, not at first.

In this book we are introduced to Lieutenant Peter Thornton, a likeable sort but insecure in his role. This is partly due to being eclipsed by his best friend, Roger Perry (with whom he is secretly in love); being a partial orphan, and being new to his commission. As luck would have it--or perhaps not--he and Perry are both given assignments aboard HMS "Ajax." The not-so-lucky part is the rather pompous and acerbic master--i.e. Captain Bishop. Moreover, matters are made worse for Thornton because Bishop takes an arbitrary disliking for him, such that he can do no right.

The plot thickens when the Ajax comes upon a sinking Spanish galleon in distress, and Peter and a crew are sent aboard to free the enchained, galley slaves in order to give them a chance at survival. One of these is a commanding, Sallee Turk, who prior to his capture was a high-ranking captain of the Sallee Rovers (i.e. pirates).

Somewhat true to his nature Bishop sets them adrift to save his own skin, and Peter and two other crew members are abandoned aboard the sinking galleon. Joining forces with the Sallee Turk, Captain Tangle, the galleon is saved and Peter becomes the right-hand confident of the swashbuckling Tangle. Thus begins a relationship that covers the gambit from admiration to frustration, and from conflict to romance.

As mentioned previously, the first half of this story moves with the pace of a schooner under full sail, and adventure abounds on the `bounding mane.' Peter is likeable, Perry is charming, Bishop is a pompous fool, Tangle is dashing in an `Errol Flynnish' sort of way, and the supporting characters are all distinct and credible. The naval strategies and skirmishes with the Spanish off the coast of France are exciting and engaging such that you want stand up and cheer for the good guys.

However, to me the pace seemed to slow in the second half when the story delved (perhaps a bit too much) into the belief's and practices of the Islamic religion. Understandably, the author wanted to make a distinction between Islam and Christianity that Peter had to consider, and because it is all very interesting, but an overabundance of detail at the point where the reader is looking forward to a climax makes the story drag rather noticeably. Not seriously, but enough to detract.

Having said that, this is a good solid read and I look forward to reading the others in the trilogy, Pirates of the Narrow Seas.

Gerry Burnie
"Two Irish Lads" & "Journey to Big Sky"
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Conflicting Desires 19 Sept. 2011
By Gary Severance - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition
M. Kei has written a swashbuckling historical/nautical novel every bit as exciting as C. S. Forester's Horatio Hornblower series. I read the latter series as a teenager and enjoyed the coming of age stories in the British Navy during the Napoleonic era. Pirates of the Narrow Seas: The Sallee Rovers is the first in a series also, and I plan to read all of them.

M. Kei's novel is more than the beginning of the exciting adventures of Peter Thornton, a young man who ran away from home when he was just a boy and signed on to the first ship he could find. It is richly detailed in terms of 18th Century history of England, France, Spain, and Northern Africa. The focus is on sailing in times of war, and nautical terms are used that require the use of the Kindle's dictionary and more advanced sources for definitions. The novel offers a very good learning opportunity about sailing in a variety of ships.

The novel also is much more than a replication of the maturation of Horatio Hornblower and description of naval action in war. Peter Thornton is gay with repressed desires held in check by strict adherence to his code of duty as a Lieutenant in the British Navy. Being true to himself and to his allegiance to the Navy cause conflict in his interaction with other characters. Peter's tension makes him rigid and recalcitrant causing his captain to single him out for harsh treatment. Of course, Captain Bishop does not know the reason for the anxiety because Peter keeps it a secret. The charge of homosexuality in British naval service, as in our own military until recently, would lead to harsh punishment.

The novel is not limited to nautical action, history, and sexuality, it also involves religious beliefs. Sallee is a common name for all Muslim corsairs originally residing in the city of Sale in northern Africa. Thornton becomes involved with Sallee men in action saving a Spanish galley in a bad storm. The galley is manned with slaves convicted in Spain of serious crimes. A Muslim slave, "Tangle", is revealed as a high ranking Sallee officer, and Thornton and Tangle develop an interesting relationship made fast by dangerous events and sexual desires. Tangle teaches Thornton about Islam, contrasting it with Church of England beliefs held by Thornton. Over time and through many adventures, Thornton broadens his points of view about religion, duty, honor, and human sexuality.

This is a very interesting and exciting first novel in the Pirates of the Narrow Seas series. I'm looking forward to reading the next two published novels in the series, Iron Men and Men of Honor. M. Kei, an internationally known poet and author of the Journal, Atlas Poetica is now writing Man in the Crescent Moon, a standalone novel about Tangle as a young man.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A surprisingly good read 22 Aug. 2010
By Michele Pelkonen - Published on
This novel has been a surprising love affair for me. I picked it up out of boredom and because I had been a sailor in my youth, so nautical books tend to interest me on a light level. However, the characters in this book are wonderfully crafted, and I began to actually take a keen interest in them, and was flipping pages to quickly get to their next event. The nautical background is amazing, and there's a great balance of 'proper' English seamen and 'roguish pirates' to make things stay interesting. I found the views on the Muslim religion very eye-opening, especially given today's views. I don't want to give away the plot and the story, but suffice it to say that from the first page, I felt like I was listening to a well-told adventure coming from an old friend. I couldn't wait for the next chapter to begin, and when the book was done, I was quick to go after #2. And #3 will be fast on the heels of that one. I love the visons that the descriptions create, and can definitely see this as a fantastic movie! The gay component is really not a fixation, and simply is an interesting twist on a romantic tale, rather than an overpowering theme. The theme is about loyalty, overcoming bad choices and bad situations with grace, and learning who someone is, deep inside. A wonderful read, and I wholly recommend it to anyone who loves nautical ficture, swashbuckling and a fantastic story!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Powerful, Spell-Binding Tale! 3 Nov. 2012
By Yancy - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
"The Sallee Rovers" is book one of M. Kei's swashbuckling series, "Pirates of the Narrow Seas." Anticipating the author's newest novel, "Man in the Crescent Moon," and tales of Captain Tangle as a daring young corsair, I felt compelled to revisit "The Sallee Rovers" -- the spell-binding story that began it all.

"Yet how very tempting to throw off the English uniform and sail under the redoubtable Captain Tangle,
serving as a lieutenant to one of the ablest and most notorious captains of the age!"

In the tradition of nineteenth century novelist Captain Frederick Marryatt, M. Kei has woven a grand adventure and an enticing tale of valiant men at sea. By skillfully threading his own story into an historical setting, Kei's maritime world oftentimes mirrors the real.

Intrigued by history of Morocco's independent corsair city-state, the Republic of Salé, I've been hungry to read more of the Sallee Rovers. Scholarly works document the Republic's dynamic and distant past, when the infamous corsairs raided as far away as the coasts of Iceland and the British Isles. Yet, the exploits of the Barbary Corsairs of Algiers, Tunis and Tripoli are generally the historian's focus - while the others, mentioned less often, now seem more the stuff of legend.

In the spirit of adventure, "Pirates of the Narrow Seas" offers its own thrilling tales of "The Sallee Rovers" and the Republic of Salé.

"Closer and closer they came. The sight was a glorious one:
two vessels racing towards each other as the sun lifted above the rim of the world."

Mid-eighteenth century, the British Royal Navy is between wars. With his close friend Roger Perry, Lieutenant Peter Thorton reports to His Britannic Majesty's frigate Ajax. Their relief at obtaining an assignment, and being off half-pay, is diminished all too quickly by the tyrannical nature of their new captain. An efficient officer serving as third lieutenant, Thorton is targeted by Captain Bishop's continued ill will. After an envoy from the Sallee Republic joins the ship, the Ajax sails through the English Channel, their destination Correaux on the coast of France.

Taciturn by nature, Thorton had wrapped himself in the protective cocoon of protocol and etiquette, duty and danger that was naval service. Misreading Roger Perry's words of support for something more, Thorton finally reveals the attraction he feels for his only friend. Repelled by Perry, Peter feels desperate and alone, yet the Sallee Envoy proves an unexpected ally.

A powerful storm sweeps the Bay of Biscay. Reluctantly, Captain Bishop allows assistance to a floundering galley, and Thorton and others are sent over the side to offer aid. Spaniards escape onto the British frigate, leaving their galley slaves to drown. Thorton demands the key for their release before the Spanish captain can flee the ship. Calling for its crew's return, yet endangered in a raging sea, the Ajax pulls away. Peter and his men are abandoned, their only hope to save themselves and hundreds of condemned chained to a sinking ship.

Among the slaves left to perish is a charismatic Sallee rover. Known as Captain Tangle, Isam bin Hamet al-Tangueli is Kapitan Pasha of the Corsairs of Zokhara. And yet later Peter is to realize, it was not he who had rescued Tangle, it was Tangle who had rescued him.

Rapidly paced, the momentum of "The Sallee Rovers" never falters. The characters are endearing. At the heart of it all are Isam and Peter - as caring spirits sustain them. The ships are magnificent characters in their own right, and the nautical detail is extensive. "Pirates of the Narrow Seas" is a seafaring adventure to remember.

M. Kei is a sailor-poet in the finest tradition. The imagery he creates is a celebration of the tall ships he loves, and a gift to all of us who have ever wished to sail them.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pirates of the Narrow Seas 1: The Sallee Rovers by M. Kei 14 Aug. 2010
By Elisa - Published on
As usual when I read an historical novel I try to judge it more for the feeling it left me than for the details accuracy. Truth, if the author did a lot of mistakes, I really can't enjoy it. I think M. Kei is pretty accurate in his description even if, in my historical ignorance, I really am not able to put a precise date for the events: it's a period in which France and England are not at war between each other, it's a period when the Sallee Republic was at war with Spain (I for example had to check where and when the Sallee Republic existed).

Regardless the period, sodomy is still a hanging crime in the British naval army and Lieutenant Peter Thornton well knows it. Why he chose to enlist is still a mystery to me, since he ran away from home right for that reason, he was found out groping a fellow boy; before that, he was supposed to follow his stepfather's trails as a preacher, after that, he has no family and home. He said that enlist was his only chance, but still I think that it was a poor chance due to his preferences in matter of sex.

Other than the obviously trouble he is facing, there is also the little factor that Peter is not exactly a "hero". He is a good officer, but he is maybe a little to stick to the book. He is good to follow order, but I don't see him much in the role of captain. Peter has too much of a kind soul, he will forgive everything and everyone.

At the beginning of the novel, he is pining over his fellow lieutenant Roger Perry, who is actually a good guy, but also as straight as it comes. It's quite an unrequited love, even if Roger loves him as a brother; he would never consider being something more for Peter. When Peter has the chance to leave the English ship to join a corsair crew at the order of a Sallee captain, there is nothing that bound Peter to his home country, no family or love. More, where Roger refused his love, Tangle, the corsair, is instead courting him like no one else did before.

Most of the novel is spent at sail, attacking one ship or the other, mostly Spanish ships, and meanwhile Peter learns to loose a bit of his English contempt to the Moroccan custom. But still, in his heart, he remains a Christian, and at the moment, he is not really ready to change his beliefs; the strange thing is that, even if Peter prefers the company of men, he is totally inhibited when it arrives to sexual relationship. He still considers sodomy a sin, and so he tries to bend "things" to his own comfort level: if he doesn't perform sodomy, maybe he is not a sinner. I think there is for sure a very negative experience in Peter's past, when he was a young boy recently enlisted, something he hints at but never goes further in describe, something that still conditions him.

Peter is for sure a complex and deep character, and he is the protagonist of the novel; Tangle, the corsair, is someone who grows in the like of the reader, but, for a reason or the other, I never felt like he was the right man for Peter. He is not bad, au contraire, he is really caring with Peter, he helps him, and, as Peter said, he is probably a better Captain that others Peter served, but still, I felt him more like a pater familiae than a lover for Peter. Probably the reason is that Tangle is too much for Peter, Peter needs someone different to be happy, someone who doesn't shadow him, someone more at his level, in few words, an average man like Peter is.
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