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The Red King

The Red King - Rosemary O'Malley

A very solid historical/pirate adventure story about a pirate captain who plots revenge against a madmen who had tortured him. He intercepts a ship and rescues a young man who was being sent to the madmen as a “prize”, and he realizes that maybe he has the last piece for his plan to work. (Little does he realize how important this piece would become to him.)


I really like historical adventure stories, especially the pirate variety, so for the most part, I enjoyed this book. The MCs were engaging, the side characters were both colorful and fleshed out, the dialogue was good, and the settings felt very vibrant and real, whether it was on the ship at sea, or at a small village on the coast of Africa. The writing was very smooth, and I appreciated how effortless the author included details to make all the settings feel very real.

The developing romance between Rory (the pirate captain) and Andrew (the rescued captive) was sweet, thrilling, and romantic.

It’s a long story though, at over 120,000 words, and I felt the pacing dip from about 30% to close to 60%. There was some nice relationship development here, as well as plentiful sexy times, but it definitely felt slower for about 100 pages.

The guy that Rory wants to kill is a terrible villain, and there is some awful violence in the third quarter. At first, it was tempered because the MC walks into it “willingly” but soon that changes because the guy is terrible, and there is violence and non-con. I really dislike non-con, and I wasn’t sure of the level that was going to be here, but there is some on-page, and it was heavy and unpleasant, which kind of wrecked my reading, to be honest.

If you’re fine with some non-con, you will probably be fine. If you really dislike it or have a hard time with it, then that section might be too much for you. It was really upsetting and stressful for me.

Everything ends very well though, so don’t worry.

If you’re okay with some heavier violence/non-con, and you enjoy historicals, then I would definitely recommend you check this out. It’s a long romantic adventure where you follow the characters from the high seas to the deserts to evil fortresses. There is a sweeping love story in there, and one that ends very satisfyingly.