| Before Captain Jack Sparrow became the legendary pirate, he was an honest merchant working for the East India Trading Company. (Well, before he was an honest merchant, he was a pirate, but thanks to a few false friends and a tiny bit of breaking the pirate code, he had to leave the dishonest life of piracy for safer shores). There, he meets one Cutler Beckett, the director of West Africa for the EITC, with whom he shares an interest: ancient treasure. Beckett has a simple request: that Jack find the lost island of Kerma, which contains the ancient civilization of Zerzura and her treasures. And easy enough job for one as accustomed to digging up ancient, lost treasure as Jack, but he must decide if it’s worth Beckett’s price.
I enjoyed the first half of his book a lot, but it got bogged down by a lot of factors. There was too much back story that ultimately didn’t feel necessary to the climax or plot. It was very uneven. The past was built up and fleshed out, but once they finally started looking for the island, everything went very fast and felt unsatisfying.
My other problem with it is that Jack Sparrow just isn’t very interesting as a central protagonist. This story is strongest when it focused on someone else (like Ayisha and Beckett) with Jack being viewed through their eyes. This book had a hard job getting Jack’s voice to be realistic as a precursor to what he will become, and I think at times it succeeded brilliantly, but non-mad Jack was not very interesting.
I wish the book had been shorter, more succinct, and less epic in its scope.