A standalone Porthkennack historical novel
His future depends on bringing the smuggler to justice. His heart demands to join him.
Customs officer Peregrine Dean is sent by his patron to investigate rumors of corruption in the Porthkennack customs house. There he is tasked by the local magistrate to bring down the villainous Tomas Quick, a smuggler with fingers in every pie in town. Fired with zeal and ambition, and struck to the core by his first glimpse of Tomas, Perry determines to stop at nothing until he has succeeded.
Tomas Quick is an honest thief—a criminal regarded by the town as their local Robin Hood. He’s also an arrogant man who relishes the challenge posed by someone as determined and intelligent as Perry. Both of them come to enjoy their cat-and-mouse rivalry a little too much.
But the eighteenth century is a perilous time for someone like Perry: a black man in England. Two have already disappeared from the wrecks of ships. Tomas and Perry must forsake their competition and learn to trust each other if they are to rescue them, or Perry may become the third victim.
NOTE: All profits from the sales of this book are donated to Black Trans Advocacy (blacktrans.org).
Beecroft (Under the Hill) has fun retrofitting an old trope with a queer sensibility as she links her Age of Sail series to Riptide's shared world of Porthkennack. In this late-18th-century Robin Hood esque adventure, the relationship between the stuffy lawkeeper and the charismatic outlaw is complicated by sexual tension. Ambitious customs officer Peregrine "Perry" Dean is sent from cosmopolitan London to Porthkennack, Cornwall, to rout out corruption. He receives a dubious reception both for his profession and because he's black. He's astonished to find that the notorious freckled smuggler Tomas Quick is more beloved and respected in the seaside town than the rich Sir Lazarus Quick, who has commandeered Perry to execute his personal vendetta against Tomas. Perry soon learns that Tomas is glad to be his ally in the rescue of black men who have been captured from shipwrecks to be sold as slaves, and he embraces a compassionate new balance between inflexible law and human needs while also, incidentally, embracing Tomas. It's easy to love Beecroft's headstrong, imperfect heroes and their social dynamic, but their romance feels like an add-on; nevertheless, readers who appreciate LGBTQ twists on classic stories will find this one cleverly and appealingly told.