In the sequel to Caged: Love and Treachery on the High Seas, Baltsaros, Jon, and Tom set sail on Baal’s Heart for the Devil’s Isles. They first must make it through the spires along a dangerous path filled with personal demons, terror, and chaos that causes unrest within their own quarters.
Once beyond the treacherous mountain range, the pirates are confronted with a new world that caters to Baltsaros’ obsession. In order to stay with Baltsaros on his journey, Tom and Jon must assume identities that challenge their very cores. It is a personal journey for all three pirates where lies become truth, old wounds are ripped open and shredded with sacrifice and secrets, and the possibility of new wounds healing. It is a suspense filled adventure to see exactly what is waiting for all three men beyond the spires.
Caged: Love and Treachery on the High Seas was the debut novel of author and writer Bey Deckard so it was not possible to know what to expect from that first story. However, I was then anticipating grand things with the sequel, Sacrificed: Heart Beyond the Spires, and I was indeed rewarded with a flawlessly written, epic adventure.
Picking up right after the end of Caged, we are immediately back aboard Baal’s Heart. The first three chapters offer us a window into each pirate’s head as we see how they are navigating since Tom’s return. There are perspective and time shifts during these chapters that alternate seamlessly and illustrate the fact that it is truly the journey of all three men.
On the outside, this is a literal journey to a new land ruled by an emperor that has a taste for exactly what Baltsaros is obsessed with. But, just scratch the surface of that and the entire journey is character driven built around the darker side of human nature. The author expertly manages to give equal time to the plot as well as the psychological development of three distinct characters. Sacrificed digs deeper into the darkest parts of the men that they long to keep hidden from themselves, as well as each other. The wounded parts of themselves that have made them the men they are within the shadows of lost boys wanting to be told they are good. These same wounds that are then ripped open with enough force to implode. But, there is also hope. Hope that the wounds can heal before they bleed out.
The world they are in is unique unto itself and each scene is purposefully achieved to advance the characters. From the little intimate touches of warming frozen hands against hot skin, to crimes of passion, to the beating of a heart in pleasure and pain, love and lust, life and death. The men are opposite and alike in extreme ways, in equal measures at times, and need each other to feel whole. The story examines the complex relationship of three and in no way makes it easy for any of them. It focuses on the perception they have of themselves, the power the men allow each other to have, the power of inanimate objects, the power to take control back when just one person believes in them, and the power of submission on their own terms. It’s the story of sacred words waiting to be spoken and truly loving someone, all parts of them, even when some parts are disturbing. At times the characters may appear unsympathetic, but we follow along because the prose dictates that we do, as what lies beyond the spires will change all three men both physically and emotionally.
The writing on its own is superb as Deckard continually puts one perfect word in front of the other. As he takes the experience one step further, Deckard has again added a soundtrack for the book that can be accessed on the Baal’s Heart website. The music elevates the connection to the story causing a cinematic, visual effect that enhances the story in an unparalleled manner.
There are many reasons to read–one reason is universal. Sacrificed: Heart Beyond the Spires is extraordinary story telling.