We're looking at a late-April simultaneous release of the next two JSH Book Club installments - The Bartender, featuring illustrations by J.T. Dockery, and a pirate novel entitled The Seventeenth Island. Meanwhile, the science fiction epic Solar Station A, originally scheduled for this slot, has been moved to a summer release. Solar Station A will likely be the first of the book club offerings to be presented in a hardcover print edition independent of any online-based platform like Amazon's.
The Seventeenth Island takes place almost entirely aboard a sailing vessel of French pirates out to loot the buried treasure of their evil arch-enemy, a sadistic Italian buccaneer named Vincenzo. While the crew are out to get rich on the possible spoils, the Captain's motivations are really about revenge and righting what he sees as extreme ethical wrongs committed by Vincenzo, even by pirate standards.
Soon the dissonance between the goals of the Captain and the crew begin to form a growing wedge between them, as a series of disastrous incidents convinces the superstitious men that a curse has been placed on their voyage. Maurice, the ship's quartermaster, desperately tries to maintain the balance between the Captain's sentimental zeal and the crew's mutinous dissatisfaction before they find themselves literally and figuratively sunk.
The influence of my recent visit to St. Augustine, that great ancient city of pirate activity, also colors both novels. The mysterious state of Florida also rears its head in another work in progress, a horror novel about a boxer in the 1940s.