Where Loyalties Lie by Rob J Hayes
Where Loyalties Lie is the first book in The Best Laid Plans duology and will be followed up by The Fifth Empire of Man shortly. This novel was assigned to me as part of Fantasy Book Review's contribution to the Self Published Fantasy Blog Off and it has progressed to our internal semi-final stage. I think many fantasy readers will wish to read this based on the next two words: grimdark pirates! The two main characters in this pirate-tastic tale are the legendary Captains' Drake Morrass, who's only out for himself, and Keelin Stillwater, the best swordsman within the pirate isles. The two become unlikely allies as a larger threat beckons. The Empire is burning cities, killing women and children, and are essentially looking to eradicate piracy and all involved whilst manning the largest and greatest warships ever seen. The pirates need to unite or they are finished.
Instead of Point of View perspective, this narrative is presented as Point of Ship perspective, following numerous individuals who frequent the different vessels. This is a really interesting take on character presentation, doesn't get confusing, and led to a quality and deepness to the main players of which there are about 12. Grimdark is normally littered with 'bastards you love to hate,' for the majority, I don't think that assumption fits here. There are a few utterly evil characters sure, but I think in an environment where rape, murder, and robbery are the norms, that the World is the real bastard here and even the cut-throat pirates do what they do just to survive and they have elements of goodness, ambitions, and hopes. I clearly saw how some of the characters developed and almost became better people due to new comradeship and the ever looming threats. The way it's superbly well written, I truly felt like I knew the characters after a chapter or two, and when I finished the book I kept thinking about them. Thinking about what had happened, their often notorious pasts which were generally just hinted at, and what could possibly happen next. I would recommend taking a few notes regarding characters so you can remember which ships characters like Princess, Feather, Keelin, and Yanic are on.
This story includes Treasure Island-esque elements such as pirates loving rum, ships hierarchies, and one Captain even has a parrot. These things never feel forced or cliche and suit the world expertly. This book has some dark scene so be warned, especially a rape scene that happens early on to a likable character. One of the reasons I like grimdark is that no-ones safe and literally, anything could happen in those scenes. The sea battles were exquisite, as were the characters relationships - past and present. As stated, it's a dark environment but the narrative is littered with humour which sometimes keeps things light in the face of terror. The World seems typical but well-created fantasy. I believe this is set in the same world as and follows the events of The Ties that Bind. It has numerous religions, magics, and monsters. There may be some nuggets here a fan of his previous trilogy would recognise however, this duology is a complete standalone. In similar fashion, this book needs paying attention to. I don't think anything that was written here is coincidental and will, therefore, relate to upcoming drama, showdowns, or past revelations. Although we get to know the characters relatively well they are still mysterious and make future reveals and future engagements an intensely exciting prospect. Where Loyalties Lie is written and edited brilliantly. The ending has 2 or 3 action-packed climactic scenes which were great. It's completely self-contained but maybe at the finale, the sides are set for what I hope will be a breathtaking conclusion. I requested the ARC of book 2 off Rob about 10-minutes after I finished this one which I guess speaks volumes on how engrossing and enjoyable this story was. Where Loyalties Lie is piratical grimdark mastery, superbly written, with utterly engaging characters, and is a true contender for this years #SPFBO. Details of which can be found here: http://mark---lawrence.blogspot.co.uk/2017/05/spfbo-2017-phase-1.html
This Where Loyalties Lie book review was written by James Tivendale
All reviews for: The Best Laid Plans
Where Loyalties Lie
The Best Laid Plans #1
Everybody knows Captain Drake Morass is only out for himself. As the fires of a dying city burn on a distant shore, Drake sees an opportunity to unite the other pirate Capt...
The Fifth Empire of Man
The Best Laid Plans #2
The Pirate Isles are united under Drake Morrass’ flag, but the war has only just begun. There’s still a long way to go before he’s able to call himself Ki...
Have you read Where Loyalties Lie?
We've found that while readers like to know what we think of a book they find additional reader reviews a massive help in deciding if it is the right book for them. So if you have a spare moment, please tell us your thoughts by writing a reader's review. Thank you.
Where Loyalties Lie reader reviews
8.5/10 from 1 reviews
There are currently no reader reviews for this book. Why not be the first?
Write a reader review
Thank you for taking the time to write a review on this book, it really makes a difference and helps readers to find their perfect book.
More recommended reading in this genre
At the Convent of Sweet Mercy young girls are raised to be killers. In a few the old bloods show, gifting talents rarely seen since the tribes beached their ships on Abeth....
When a scrawny, unwanted child - so lowly that she does not even have a name - is sold into slavery, a chain of events is set in motion that will have a profound impact on ...
The Legend of Eli Monpress
With the pressure on after his success in Gaol, Eli Monpress, professional thief and degenerate, decides it's time to lie low for a bit. Taking up residence in a tiny s...
Matthew Woodring Stover
Renowned throughout the land of Ankhana as the Blade of Tyshalle, Caine has killed his share of monarchs and commoners, villains and heroes. He is relentless, unstoppable, ...
To find the Sword, unearth the Barrow. To unearth the Barrow, follow the Map. When a small crew of scoundrels, would-be heroes, deviants, and ruffians discover a map that t...
Age of Assassins
Girton Club-Foot, apprentice to the land's best assassin, still has much to learn about the art of taking lives. But their latest mission tasks him and his master with ...
A Dance of Cloaks
The Underworld rules the city of Veldaren. Thieves, smugglers, assassins... they fear only one man. Thren Felhorn is the greatest assassin of his time. All the thieves'...
George RR Martin
A collection of twenty-one original stories by a list of contributors including a new A Game of Thrones story by George R. R. Martin. Follow along with the likes of Gillian...
The Scroll Thief
Malachy and his sister rely on his talents as a thief to survive the dangerous streets of Klathport, former capital of the once-great kingdom of Ithian. Stealing a few pape...
Saddened because they have left one of their number in a grave in the wilderness, Harold and his companions continue their journey to the dreaded underground palace of Hrad...
Treachery and corruption lurk at the end of every street, in the holy city of Othir. It's the perfect place for a freelance assassin with no loyalties and even fewer sc...
The Waking Fire
For decades the lands of the Ironship Syndicate have been defended by the Blood-blessed - men and women able to channel the powers contained in the potent blood of wild dra...
Looking for more suggestions? Try these pages:
Books of the Month
A selection of books - old and new alike - that were a joy to read.
The Pirate Isles are united under Drake Morrass’ flag, but the war has only just begun. There’s still a long way to go before he’s able to call himself King, and traitors at every turn. The Five Kingdoms and Sarth have assembled a fleet of ships unlike any the world has ever seen and they intend to purge the Pirate Isles once a...
Ian C Esslemont
After the disappointments of Li Heng, Dancer and Kellanved wash up on a small insignificant island named Malaz. Immediately, of course, Kellanved plans to take it over. To ...
Age of Swords
Michael J Sullivan
Raithe, the God Killer, may have started the rebellion by killing a Fhrey, but long-standing enmities dividing the Rhunes make it all but impossible to unite against the co...
A Time of Dread
The Ben-Elim, a race of warrior angels, once vanquished a mighty demon horde. Now they rule the Banished lands. But their dominion is brutally enforced and their ancient en...
The Last Dog on Earth
Adrian J Walker
Every dog has its day... And for Lineker, a happy go lucky mongrel from Peckham, the day the world ends is his: finally a chance to prove to his owner just how loyal he can...
The Shadow Crucible
Taking humanity back to their primordial beliefs and fears, Estella confronts Mikhail’s faith by revealing the true horror of the lucrative trade in human souls. All ...
The Dog Stars
Hig, bereaved and traumatised after global disaster, has three things to live for - his dog Jasper, his aggressive but helpful neighbour, and his Cessna aeroplane. He's...