PIRATES OF THE TIMESTREAM by Steve White
Pirates of the Timestream is actually the third of Steve White’s Jason Thanou of the Temporal Regulatory Authority series. I didn’t read the first two, so I was somewhat concerned about jumping into the books this far in. That wasn’t a major concern, though. The author brings you up to date and fills you in on what you need to know. Unfortunately, that consisted of a long backfill at the beginning of the novel when I would rather have been immersed in an adventure.
Once I got to the new problem, after a side trip to Jason’s homeworld which didn’t really add anything to the plot either, we got underway on the adventure back to the time of the pirates to figure out where a mysterious alien spacecraft came from back in the 18th century.
The plot plays fast and loose with the characters, but there’s a lot of exciting history going on at the time. Henry Morgan, the pirate king – although he would have disavowed the title and shot on sight anyone daring to suggest it, is a colorful character and a lot of fun. Being somewhat of an armchair historian myself, it was cool to see how White plays within the framework of existing knowledge of the time period and puts his own spin on things.
The story drifts away from Jason at several points, picking up on other characters, and I didn’t feel quite as connected to him as I wanted to. He remained distant, but he was the hero so he was present at all of the important events and even saves the day most of the time. But the presentation of characters, including the deaths of some – one of them a POV character at one point, kind of dissipated the overall suspense that was building and events became somewhat expected.
I like the world(s) that White has set up within the series. The mix of aliens as well as different future cultures provides a great backdrop for continuing adventures, and I’m curious enough about things to go back and read the first two books as well as look forward to the next book in the series.
Artist Don Maitz created the cover for the book, and if you think the pose and colors look familiar to you, it’s because you’ve seen his artwork on the Captain Morgan’s Rum advertisements.