Wayne Thomas Batson says that he “writes adventures set in imaginative locales because he believes that on a deep level, we all dream of doing something that matters and that we all dream of another world.” His novel, Isle of Swords certainly brings other worlds to his readers through pirates and monks keeping centuries old secrets.
There are pirates and then there are pirates in this complex book of honour, loyalty and courage. Declan Ross, pirate captain of the William Wallace, is a pirate with standards. After all, “you could take a man’s gold. You could take a man’s silver. . . but you never took a man’s ship.”
Captain Ross, his fiery daughter Anne, and the sea-worthy and loyal crew of the William Wallace are forced to make an emergency repair stop at the island claimed by one of the cruelest and most notorious pirates of the world, Bartholomew Thorne. While there Anne discovers a man nearly dead on the beach. Because of another one of Declan Ross’s standards, “no crewman on the Wallace should ever leave another pirate behind”, the mystery man is taken on board the Wallace when they again set sail. From here, the crew sails on to St. Celestine, a sanctuary of monks which is now being threatened by Bartholomew Thorne.
In addition to the first unexpected passenger on board their ship, the mystery man they picked up on the island, the Wallace picks up yet another passenger from St. Celestine, Padre Dominguez. Padre Dominguez holds a detailed map to the treasure of all time, permanently marked on his back. This treasure, “The Treasure of Constantine”, not only holds great riches, it also contains a secret treasure that no one but Dominguez is aware of. To arrive at such a treasure involves treacherous seas full of cross currents, shards of coral that will rip ships into pieces, a terrifying sea monster that guards the key, and little creatures that can only be warded off with monkey pee.
Isle of Swords is a demanding read with all the stories within the story. The mysterious details surrounding “Cat”, the mystery man the Wallace picked up. . . the deeply emotional, yet at the same time, emotionally lacking relationship between Anne and her father. . . the mystery surrounding Anne’s mother . . . the obsession Thorne has over his first wife’s picture. . . Anne and Dominguez who are both captured by Thorne and chased by Ross . . . the British commander Blake who is pursuing both Ross and Thorne in an effort to rid the seas of their piracy.
I am not usually a fan of pirate stories but this was a real page turner. Thanks to Levi Thorstensen for the recommendation and lending me his copy.
Book trailer by Trent Rogers 6th grade