Coles cleverly preserves many of the naval traditions that have become synonymous with historical seafaring adventure stories. The leadership structure aboard Daring, the divisions between the sailors and the officers, and even the commands shouted out in the middle of battle feel ripped from the pages of a Patrick O’Brien novel. In fact, the environment of the ship is perhaps Coles’ greatest achievement in Winds of Marque ... Winds of Marque maintains a brisk pace from the get-go. Action scenes are crisp and tense, with special attention paid to the visceral feeling of hand-to-hand combat and firing cannon batteries ... Coles achieves a real sense of camaraderie amongst his characters and I found myself wanting to see more banter even before the book was over.
...entertaining ... [Coles] demonstrates a talent for refreshing the familiar tale of a navy ship in search of a pirate base ... Fans of Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey-Maturin series, military sf, or swashbuckling tales will find something to enjoy amid the interplanetary travel, black powder cannons, and close quarter cutlass duels with members of the brutish Theropods and their mighty tail swords.
...[a] fizzy, unstable mix of retro and future naval adventures ... Coles’s setting is a mishmash of sails on towering masts that are manipulated by hand, pistols in braces, and artificial gravity; in mixed-gender crews, lacy-sleeved officers receive forehead-knuckle salutes from the common swabbies. Science fiction fans of the Hornblower or Aubrey/Maturin sailing sagas will likely thrill as the cannons are run out for battles in space.
While former Royal Canadian Naval officer Coles...brings nautical authenticity to this Napoleonic sailing era/space race mashup, he focuses more on the sailing and leaves the sci-fi to buzz away, sometimes forgotten, in the background. Nevertheless, the jaunty pace is unwavering and enjoyable. Coles' female characters could have used greater authenticity, but overall the colorful ensemble adds to the fun. Traditional science fiction lovers may get distracted looking for more space tech, but lovers of classic high-seas adventures and those who enjoy genre-bending SF will find this swashbuckling space adventure a worthy read.