Under the jolly roger

Under the jolly roger / L.A. Meyer. First published 2005.

After my previous post I figured it was time to move on to something different. Under the jolly roger is the third book in the Bloody Jack series. It features a return to the naval novel-style adventures of the first book after the school story interlude of Curse of the blue tattoo.

Brief plot summary

Having made her way back to England aboard the Pequod, Jacky immediately attempts to track down her sweetheard Jaimy. After an encounter with his mother’s classism and a romantic comedy-esque Hilarious Misunderstanding, Jacky finds herself press-ganged into service on the HMS Wolverine.

So how is it?

Meyer continues to keep the series interesting. He really steps up the various allusions in this volume, from relatively easy to catch literary allusions (Jackie begins the book as a lady’s made to Captain Ahab’s wife) to references to famous events of the day (Jackie’s involvement in a major battle of the War of the Third Coalition at the end of the novel).

Meyer does a good job of avoiding making the book too reminiscent of Bloody Jack. While Jacky is once again serving in the Royal Navy, this time she reveals her gender almost immediately in an attempt to force the captain to set her free. This creates a different dynamic, with less time spent on Jacky’s attempts to remain unnoticed and more time spent on Jacky’s attempts to ensure her personal and economic safety.

The novel ends with Jacky on her way back to Boston and the Lawson Peabody School for Girls. This is part of the series’s tendency to alternate settings between sea stories and land stories, but Meyer continues to keeep things changing. The events of this book also set the stage for one of the major recurring plotlines in later books which help to continue to keep Jacky and Jaimy separated without having to rely too much on a series of Hilarious Misunderstandings.

I don’t really have too much else to say about this one. It’s a strong continuation of a strong series. If someone has enjoyed the series so far then they should enjoy this one too, otherwise there’s no real reason to recommend it.

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