I have known A. J. Roberts for several years, but I had never read any of his writing, so, when his first book, Gentlemen of Fortune - A Swashbuckler Tale, was published, I was keen to secure a copy and read. it. The book is slim, only 59 pages in all, that is not a criticism, I was able to read it quickly.
Rosanna Barclay has arrived in Port Royal from England, in search of her missing father. Upon arrival, she meets wandering scoundrels Kestrel and Scar, whom she hires as bodyguards.
She soon learns that her father was a pirate who disappeared after attacking a French payroll carrier. Worse, he double-crossed a powerful information broker who had originally bankrolled the theft.
Rosanna and her companions bluff their way aboard a pirate vessel in order to reach the island where the treasure might be. But their new captain isn't in favour of a treasure hunt, and the broker's agents are close behind.
Gentlemen of Fortune is a short book set in the West Indies in the late seventeenth century. It tells the tale of Rosanna Barclay and her search for her father with the help of two rogues, Kestrel and Scar.
The story is fast-paced and laced with humour that made me laugh out loud. The characters are well described as are the settings. The author avoids a predictable ending and leaves the possibility open for a sequel involving the interesting characters he has created.
I really enjoyed the book and look forward to reading more works by this author.
Born in Lancashire, A. J. Roberts has been writing as a hobby since the age of seventeen. This initially stemmed from writing campaigns for pen-and-paper roleplaying games and later developed into short stories reminiscent of the pulp magazines. Always a fan of swashbuckler fiction (especially Zorro), he wrote a story featuring a pair of wandering scoundrels partly inspired by Fritz Leiber's Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser. It was while writing this he found that he wanted to see the protagonists he created get into all kinds of trouble in different stories.
After discovering an annual writers' retreat in Derbyshire (Swanwick Writers' Summer School), where he now leads and presents courses, he decided he wanted to take things further. In 2018 he left his job as an accountant to begin studying for a Bachelor's Degree in Creative Writing. While he's experimenting with new mediums on his course, he hasn't forgotten the old pulp style he was originally inspired by.