Signet, Mar 2003, 6.99, 368 pp.
In 1614 in the Caribbean, the Spanish vessel Santo Domingo attacks the English merchant ship Argus. It becomes obvious to outside observer Privateer Captain Juliet Dante of the IRON ROSE that the Spaniards plan to sink the Argus, killing everyone on board. Her crew surprises the Santo Domingo and captures that boat while saving the lives of most of the English on board the destroyed Argus. Included in the rescue is King James' latest envoy to the Caribe privateers, Duke Varian St. Clare, who has orders from His Majesty to obtain a cease and desist to all piracy.
Though they argue about their respective ways of life, Varian and Juliet are attracted to one another. As they fall in love, both knows one of them must compromise if they are to share a life together. However, before either can make up his or her mind, troubles on the high seas may decide for them their future as danger threatens to kill both of them.
Though typical in many ways of the historical pirate romance, THE IRON ROSE uses a gender bender lead female to provide the audience with an invigorating exciting story line. The key to the brisk plot besides the action is Juliet, a strong independent leader whose lust for life grips Varian (ask him about her scissors hold) and the audience. Though the climax seems abrupt, fans of the sub-genre will take great pleasure with this vividly strong seventeenth century tale.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner