In this first in a swashbuckling space adventure and sci-fi series by a former Royal Canadian Naval officer, a crew of misfit individuals in the king’s navy are sent to dismantle a dangerous ring of pirate raiders.
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.