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Fire on Dark Water

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A debut historical novel about a female pirate's life on the high seas.

Born a despised gypsy and tricked into a life of brutal debauchery, Lola Blaise quickly learns the harsh ways of the world, and of the men who inhabit it. But in the New World waits a different sort of life, full of danger and passion, where one false move could mean death: a life of piracy.

On the island of Nassau, Lola earns her keep as a prostitute until she lands a place on the Revenge, a ship captained by the infamous Blackbeard, the greatest buccaneer who ever lived. To survive the lethal treachery of a pirate's life Lola must use every hard-earned skill in her arsenal-and become the woman she was always meant to be.

336 pages, Paperback

First published April 19, 2011

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About the author

Wendy K. Perriman

6 books2 followers
Wendy Perriman grew up in England. After graduating from the University of Lancaster she completed a Post-Graduate Certificate in Education at Bristol University then taught English, Drama, and Dance at various international secondary schools in England, Germany and the United States.

Wendy moved to America in 1994 and is now a dual citizen. She returned to academia and was awarded a Ph.D. at Drew University in 2003. Here she also won the Michael Ellis Prize for the most innovative M.A. thesis, and the Helen and William Hale Chamberlain Prize for the best-written doctoral dissertation.

She loves to visit BOOK CLUBS via SKYPE. Contact through web site below.

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5 stars
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Displaying 1 - 16 of 16 reviews
Profile Image for Kristin  (MyBookishWays Reviews).
601 reviews202 followers
June 24, 2011
You may also read my review here:http://www.mybookishways.com/2011/06/...

Fire on Dark Water begins in 1702 England, when 10 year old Lola Blaise is spirited away from her gypsy family by people that would sell her to men wanting to “experience” a virgin. Yeah, the world Lola lives in is nasty, brutal, and unforgiving, especially where gypsies are concerned. Lola eventually falls in with a gang of thieves and is eventually caught and sent to Newgate, where she is banished to America for 7 years to be retrained for colonial labor. On the ship, she’s befriended by three doxies, Violet, Maude, and Dollie, who do their best to shelter her from the bullying and abuse by the other prisoners. They can’t save her from the captain, however, who turns Lola into his own personal form of entertainment. After a mutiny attempt by the prisoners goes wrong, and it’s discovered that Lola helped procure a weapon, the ringleaders are promptly tortured and thrown overboard, while Lola is forced to watch. Lola then helps take care of prisoners and shipman afflicted by various forms of nastiness. So, after what I personally think of as the “Ship Ride from Hell”, Lola is sold into service to a family in Carolina that lost their previous housekeeper to fever. Lola is to help with all manner of medical emergencies on the plantation, and is determined to make the best of this situation. Such begins Lola’s experiences in the service of the girl who would eventually become Anne Bonny and her father. A fateful marriage will lead her to the West Indies, life on the high seas, and eventually, Lola would become Blackbeard’s thirteenth wife.


Fire On Dark Water is not a mystery, nor is there an epic quest. It's about a gypsy girl, abandoned and adrift, making her way in a hostile, unforgiving world. Lola’s voice is sturdy and unapologetic, even when she describes some of the horrible things she must submit to in order to survive. I had to keep reminding myself during the first part of this book, that Lola was only ten because the things she has to endure will make your heart ache. These are things no person; man, woman, or child should ever have to go through and is a glimpse into the dark hearts of men, and women. It was use or be used, and Lola clawed for her place the best she knew how. Intelligent, cunning, and resourceful, Lola survives in a world that most of us wouldn’t last more than 10 minutes in. The author creates a world rich in treachery and desire, and Lola Blaise’s story is one you won’t want to miss. If you like pirates, strong, intelligent women, and historic adventure that doesn’t let up, you’ll love Fire On Dark Water.
Profile Image for Gail.
53 reviews9 followers
September 16, 2011
Pirates!!

I picked this up at the Borders going out of business sale because I liked the cover. (Yes, I buy books because I like the covers. Sue me.) I also saw the word "pirates" on it somewhere, so it was a no-brainer. Luckily, it was also a very good read. Gritty, great voice, historically interesting, violent, and PIRATICAL!

In terms of Anne Bonny fiction (which this is, tangentially), I did like The Only Life that Matters and Kingston by Starlight better, but not by much. The protagonist (who is NOT Anne Bonny, FYI) has a thoroughly engaging voice, even if I did find her a bit tread upon. It wasn't that she was all "woe is me," it was just I'll be damned if crap just didn't stop happening to her. She just kept getting the dregs of life, and that frustrated me. Another miss for me was that there was a lot of sex going on, but we never get to "see" it. On second thought, most of the sex was nonconsensual. But still. Pirates! Sex! Show me!

Anyway. Worth a read, for sure.
Profile Image for Eh?Eh!.
351 reviews4 followers
September 16, 2011
I deceived myself - upon reading the back blurb I thought it would be about a female pirate, as in a woman who wields a sword and commands the ship or at least swings on ropes. That would've been pretty awesome. But it held to what was probably closer to the true condition for women in that time and surroundings, used and abused and tossed aside.
779 reviews56 followers
June 14, 2011
Fire on Dark Water by Wendy K. Perriman
Historical Romance –June 7th, 2011
4 stars

Lolomura (AKA Lola) Blaise’s, adventure started in London when she was kidnapped and brutally mistreated at the age of ten. Through a series of incidents, she has made her way to the New World and ended up in Providence, a pirate’s heaven. There she works as prostitute. Her tumultuous journey continues as she catches the attention of Blackbeard, marries Blackbeard, and rubbed elbows with Annie Bonny, the only female pirate.

Lola provides a first person narrative into the seamy world of pirates in the 1700s. At times, I felt like this book was a thinly veiled non-fiction that delves into the brutal world of piracy and prostitution. While interesting and at times difficult to read, Lola’s story rips away the disney-esque view of pirates and actually exposes them as scums and criminals of the worst sort. This book is not for the faint of heart; there is a plethora of violence between the pages - rape, child abuse, torture, and beatings are commonplace. Though the author does not describe each violent act explicitly, the resigned tone of Lola voice speaks volumes about her suffering.

As much as I enjoyed reading the book, I was really upset by the lack of payoff. Lola went through so much pain and horror, but she never found happiness. This is a fictional book and I need a Happily Ever After ending to make up for all the violence and evil that permeates the pages! I want Lola to find happiness, darn it!

If you have a strong stomach and wish to read about real pirates and their atrocities, Fire on Dark Water, is right up your alley. If you need your Happily Ever Afters, I do not suggest this at all.

Reviewed by Pauline from the Bookaholics Romance Club




Profile Image for Stacy.
226 reviews57 followers
June 13, 2011
Many know that I have a love affair with historical fiction. To me I suppose it is the lure of a world that is like mine, but so greatly different; from the clothes, to the vernacular, to the customs, to the time period, etc. It’s in these worlds (if they’re cleverly written) that I can find myself transported and feel as though I am part of the landscape. In Perriman’s debut novel, I felt like the preverbal fly on the dank and gritty walls, and y’all I needed a long hot shower after this one. *shivers*

As the warning states above, this is not a fairytale. It’s the grimy underbelly of pirating; from child molestation, to savagery, to rape, to murder to everything else that’s seedy. Perriman captured the true essence of piracy (greed, lust) and created characters and situations that perfectly blend history with fiction.

Lola Blaise is a survivor. Her life was turbulent at best. From early on she was thrown in situations and circumstances beyond her control. Bad things happened to her, horribly bad things (things I don’t even want to mention). Through all the “bad things,” Lola took them in stride and did what she needed to survive. However, I felt like she lacked strong emotions. Therefore I never felt connected to her character. Only once while reading did I shout “no” loud enough to wake my husband. I felt that with all the “bad-ness” I should have been shouting more.
Profile Image for Romancing the Book.
4,420 reviews210 followers
September 13, 2011
Reviewed by Amie Lou
Book provided by publisher for review

Ahoy! And beware--there's no Cap'n Jack here. Fire on Dark Water is a novel about piracy and the gritty lives the pirates lived told through the eyes of a gypsy whore. It has not been romanticized--it is real, bloody, and not for the squeamish. But...it is also elegantly written, blending fact and fiction into a riveting tale. Perriman's voice of Lola is so enthralling, you'll forget you're sitting in a recliner in the 21st century instead of taking every step alongside her.

Lola Blaise accepts her fate early in life. A gypsy compromised at an early age, abandoned by her people, and eventually indentured, she earns a living the only way she can--as a prostitute. But Lola is resourceful and has a few tricks up her sleeve. She makes herself useful to others and ends up "marrying" Blackbeard and serving aboard one of his ships as an apothecary.

Fire On Dark Water is a great read, eloquent and near poetic, despite its rough topic. It entertains, informs, and gives the reader a candid look into a long past time--the real pirates of the Caribbean.
Profile Image for Tiffany Day.
564 reviews13 followers
July 10, 2015
Seldom does historical fiction meld a female protagonist with realistic storytelling; at this, Perriman succeeds. This well-researched pirate saga isn't filled with romantic tales of reformed rakes, nor of a heroine of privilege looking for love. Instead it is a gruesome story of violence, adventure and survival - all told from the narrative perspective of the resourceful Lola Blaise. I was riveted to the yarn spun by the stongwilled Gypsy lead who exemplified the fortitude required of those who more-than-likely made up the nameless, faceless "everymen" coming to the New World. Disregard the horrible cover, as this was one of the best novels I've read in some time. I cannot wait to read more from Wendy K. Perriman!
Profile Image for Lyssa.
202 reviews
March 14, 2012
Fire on Dark Water was definetly not my cup of tea. I must say first that it was very well written and researched. The setting and descriptions seemed accurate and realistic. However, I do not enjoy reading continuously about rape and abuse. Women were used up and discarded like refuse. The main character was raped and beat so many times I couldn't imagine her continued will to go on. After a brutal scene of gang rape on a pirate ship, I found it hard to belief that Lola could just lay around and heal without repercussions. I did enjoy the descriptions of Blackbeard. The author obviously wanted this story as graphically horrible as possible. I was glad when Lola managed to exact revenge at the end, but still it wasn't enough. I would not recommend this to anyone.
Profile Image for Tara Chevrestt.
Author 26 books293 followers
September 13, 2012
Great writing style. I don't think I could do better, but the story itself wasn't what I hoped for. It's not as strong a woman as I expected. It's not a lady pirate. It's a woman going through--holy moly--just about whatever a woman could be put through back then, to the point it was a bit much. And well, frankly, anytime a writer uses a real historical or famous character, someone isn't going to like your portrayal of them. I rather like Ann Bonney's bits in other books...and her character in this...ugh. It's not how I like to think of her.

It's a novel full of misfortune, hate, whores, and cruelty. It's not a light read.
Profile Image for Cory.
3 reviews
February 1, 2012
I LOVED this book. I enjoy anything and all Pirate related things so this book was an easy fit. It is a Historical fiction about a young Gypsy girl who ends up being married to Blackbeard, is friends-ish with Calico Jack Rackham and Anne Bonny. All of the Pirate related information is accurate with a little bit of a twist with the Gypsy girl's story. So much fun to read, I couldn't put it down and finished it within a day or two. If you want Pirates and adventure this is the book for you!
Profile Image for Karen Brisendine.
15 reviews5 followers
May 6, 2013
Great story, strong female characters, accurate account of history, can't wait for the sequel.
Profile Image for Once.
2,344 reviews69 followers
January 27, 2012
This story attracted my interest because I like to read period, historical novels, but I had a hard time connecting to this one. If you are expecting a sweet romance, this is definitely not it, It is completely the opposite is harsh, violent and not for the soft of heart.

Lola is a young gypsy girl that learns the hard way that her life was to be a living hell. Early on she is raped, abused and taken advantage of and subsequently thrown into slavery, but she learns the best way to live through it. Being a survivor at heart she uses her smarts to make her own destiny and finally finds a place aboard the ship commanded by Blackbeard to become his 13th wife and becomes the pirates queen. The story is written as if she is giving an account of her own life.

All along intertwined in fantasy you’ll find actual historical places and characters which portraits an era that only the strongest can survive. If you can put aside the constant bad things happening, the abuse and the fact that you are enraged for the majority of the story and that you feel a constant outrage and suffering then, this is a story for you. It is not one of my favorite ones and definitely not an easy weekend read.

review link: http://www.onceuponatwilight.com/2011...
Profile Image for Kellie.
39 reviews
February 22, 2012
Fire on Dark Water, by Wendy K. Perriman was my first experience with Historical Fiction. I did not know what to expect, since I generally stick to the Sci-Fi Fantasy genre. Therefore, I was taken out of my comfort zone, which is a good thing at times. After all, how do you know if you don’t like something, until you’ve tried it? Fire on Dark Water is a daring book, which plays with one’s emotions. From the first chapter onward, Lola Blaise’s tragic life was indeed gripping...


http://www.simplystacie.net/2011/08/b...
Profile Image for Melissa.
35 reviews1 follower
January 5, 2012
I enjoyed the read, but there were times that it seemed like the author was trying too hard to write like a female pirate.

I did enjoy the "historical" characters and how the author wove them into the novel. There were instances that I didn't care too much for the storyteller, Lola, and to be honest I did skim through a bunch of pages because it didn't really have too much going on.
Profile Image for Jaclyn.
22 reviews1 follower
December 7, 2011
Already have two books going but had a hankering for the sea last night. This book fits the bill. Pirates and gypsies? Yes please! Only one chapter in and already hooked.
Displaying 1 - 16 of 16 reviews

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