HomeGroupsTalkMoreZeitgeist
This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Loading...

Or Else My Lady Keeps the Key

by Kage Baker

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1116186,315 (3.54)3
It's 1672 in Port Royal, Jamaica. John James, London bricklayer's apprentice turned pirate, is returning from the sack of Panama with his share of the loot (a lousy 200 pieces of eight) and a resolve to go back to bricklaying, since piracy pays so badly. First, though, he has a duty: he must deliver a letter to a lady. The letter is from his dead comrade, Sir Thomas Blackstone, who was a court intriguer on a mission for Prince Rupert of the Rhine. The letter's recipient is Clarissa Waverly, Blackstone's mistress and accomplice. Before he went off to Panama, Blackstone hid four thousand pounds of the prince's money, unwilling to trust his lady friend not to make off with it in his absence. Dying of battle wounds, he wrote to let her know where he'd concealed the money.… (more)

None.

Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 3 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
It was a nice little pirate romp in a Kage style. No company, just people, mostly men. The ending was a bit of an anti-climax, but as others have said, it was a good ride. ( )
  cindywho | May 27, 2019 |
Pirates loom large in the collective imagination - and even larger in my childhood world of the imagination. Considering that, I've been a bit nonplussed at how few good pirate novels there are. Of those that exist, a good number are for a more juvenile audience than I've gradually become.

However, 'Or Else My Lady Keeps the Key' is A Classic Pirate Novel. It might not qualify as Great Literature - but it fires a broadside straight at all the targets it ought to, swashbuckling its roisterous way through a thoroughly fun (and never a bit serious) adventure.

Our narrator, John, has just come off the account, having returned from Captain Morgan's sack of Panama aboard a privateer, with less to show for it than he'd hoped. Still, his savings, he figures, will cover the outlay to get his own bricklaying business opened. A respectable, if modest life awaits... or so he thinks.

When John delivers a letter from his dead shipmate to a bereaved mistress, she tempts him with a tale of a vast sum of treasure, just waiting to be picked up. If only John will accompany her, she'll split the booty with him. John, while a charming enough man, is - if not quite as dumb as a sack of the bricks he hoped to lay - rather gullible. Soon, his life savings is invested in Mistress Waverly's schemes, and a rollicking, shipboard venture is underway. ( )
  AltheaAnn | Feb 9, 2016 |
Kage Baker writing a book about pirates. How can this not be awesome? ( )
  ben_h | Apr 6, 2011 |
Silly little pirate tale. But told with Baker's usual flair.

Not science fiction. But, as usual with this author, she seems to have the history right.

This short review has also been published on a dabbler's journal. ( )
  joeldinda | Dec 20, 2009 |
Nothing beats a really good pirate story. There’s just an inherent coolness factor to the bygone era where the rogues of the sea terrorized merchant ships. Women enjoy the romanticism of the stories, while men respond to the action and the pirate’s rebellious attitude toward proper society. Because at some point, there seems to be a little urge in everyone that wants to just get away from the rest of the world, chucking off the yoke of everyday life to become truly free.

Kage Baker’s pirate novella, “Or Else My Lady Keeps the Key” turns this urge for freedom on its head. The story revolves around John James, a buccaneer who wishes to throw off the yoke of pirate life and become a bricklayer. You see, bricklaying is more lucrative. And a whole lot less dangerous. But with apologies to all the bricklayers out there, it just isn’t very sexy. Well since “Or Else My Lady Keeps the Key” is about pirates and not bricklayers, it should appear obvious that John doesn’t have much success retiring from the pirate life.

The novella starts with John on that most famous of pirate quests: delivering a dead mate’s letter. John dispatches his duty well (a job in the postal service might be a nice fallback option for him, if the bricklaying doesn’t work out), delivering the letter to Mrs. Clarissa Waverly. Not surprisingly, the letter contains instructions detailing where John’s old mate had left some treasure before his untimely demise. A whole four thousand pounds of treasure, in fact. So Mrs. Waverly cuts a deal with John: help her find the money and she will give him half. So the two of them set off on a journey for Leauchaud, booking passage on a merchant ship. Well it isn’t too long before their ship is besieged by pirates, and Mrs. Waverly and John must join the band of rogues. So begins their adventure filled with naval battles, shipwrecks, voodoo, sharks and a deserted island.

Baker has written a really fun adventure story populated with great characters who hit all the right notes. The pacing is brisk, and the action just keeps steadily coming in waves as Mrs. Waverly and John must overcome all types of obstacles in their search for the treasure. There is nothing groundbreaking here, nor is that the intent of Baker. This is pure entertainment, and in this manner, the novella succeeds remarkably. Even though the ending can be seen from miles away, I didn’t feel this hurt the story. It was the journey getting to the conclusion, more than the ending that mattered.

Last Word:
“Or Else My Lady Keeps the Key” is a great little pirate story filled with all the requisite elements one would expect from such a story. Also, this limited edition novella is absolutely gorgeous, which isn’t surprising since it’s published by Subterranean Press. So if you are searching for a fun and entertaining pirate story that will give you an afternoon of adventure, grab your cutlass, chuck off the yoke of everyday life, and set sail with “Or Else My Lady Keeps the Key”. ( )
  pstotts | Jul 4, 2008 |
Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Epigraph
Dedication
First words
Quotations
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English

None

It's 1672 in Port Royal, Jamaica. John James, London bricklayer's apprentice turned pirate, is returning from the sack of Panama with his share of the loot (a lousy 200 pieces of eight) and a resolve to go back to bricklaying, since piracy pays so badly. First, though, he has a duty: he must deliver a letter to a lady. The letter is from his dead comrade, Sir Thomas Blackstone, who was a court intriguer on a mission for Prince Rupert of the Rhine. The letter's recipient is Clarissa Waverly, Blackstone's mistress and accomplice. Before he went off to Panama, Blackstone hid four thousand pounds of the prince's money, unwilling to trust his lady friend not to make off with it in his absence. Dying of battle wounds, he wrote to let her know where he'd concealed the money.

No library descriptions found.

Book description
Haiku summary

Quick Links

Popular covers

Rating

Average: (3.54)
0.5
1
1.5
2 2
2.5
3 7
3.5 7
4 7
4.5 1
5 2

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 154,574,315 books! | Top bar: Always visible