Baltsaros, Tom, and Jon are back on the open seas after their last blood-filled adventure. With Baltsaros’ mind fractured, he continues to be a safety concern to himself and his crew. Having taken over as captain, Jon, with the assistance of Tom, tries to navigate their way home, while attempting to bring Baltsaros back to them. When parting ways offers Baltsaros the best chance at recovery and increased safety for the crew, what transpires next will threaten to completely tear the already fragile relationships. When Baltsaros’ long buried childhood memories crack open, retribution becomes the sole focus. As the men set out on a new quest, Baltsaros finds that trying to sort through the shattered fragments of the past may in turn sacrifice his present when admiration leads to jealously, obsession, and madness.
Fated: Blood and Redemption is the highly anticipated third book in the Baal’s Heart Trilogy. If you have been following along on the adventures, you will definitely want to read this final installment. If you haven’t, you should start back with the first adventure in Caged: Love and Treachery on the High Seas. I would tell you that this book picks up where the last book left off, but while it does, it doesn’t, and then it does again. (You will have to take my word that the above statement really does make perfect sense.)
Where the second book, Sacrificed: Heart Beyond the Spires, had a lot of strategic action at almost every turn, Fated alternates between movement and increased character development. We are offered more: more of Tom’s shattered childhood, more of what is at the heart of the darkness that lives within Baltsaros, and more of Jon changing and trying to adapt. It’s pirates in a historical fantasy setting, yet it’s intimate and it’s personal. There is also humor in unexpected places as Tom frets over his jealousy that Baltsaros has only tried to kill Jon and not Tom. There is also no better place for characters to offer up moral ambiguity than in this world where they can let loose without thought to consequence. But, there is always a consequence. It’s not all about trying to find the light, but for some characters, it’s about the struggle to find a balance between the lightness and the darkness. With three distinct main characters, the author is able to give each of them exactly what they need to evolve in a way that stays true to the character. The story offers some focus on what you have instead of what you don’t and the family you make instead of the one you lost. It may sound poetic and easy, but it’s not. This author absolutely does not make anything easy for these already broken men and keeps at them right until the last dark and violent moment and the very last word. Yet, mixed in there is a lifeline thrown and a ray of hope that breaks through.
The writing once again takes center stage and once again it absolutely has to be recognized. The author has a respect for the art of story telling and a command of language, or several languages as the case may be here. There are flashbacks throughout the story that move the adventure along with a history that has been well layered and presented throughout the trilogy. We know these characters so well that the flashbacks transition as seamlessly and effortlessly as a recalled memory. It is also effortless to step back into this universe as the world here is once again richly detailed and the words assemble themselves in perfect alignment, creating a series of perfect moments with a striking visual intensity. The characters all have distinct voices that remain true with every word and the characters thrive on the conflict that is forced upon them time and again. I can offer a five-star rating and can say Deckard’s writing is impressive and that he is wickedly and wildly talented, and while it’s all true, it somehow sounds ordinary when in fact it is extraordinary.
While this trilogy seems to have come to an end, it will not be the end of this world as at the end of the book we are treated to an excerpt. Fated: Blood and Redemption and the entire Baal’s Heart trilogy defines the reason to read and in the author’s own words…“The last book in the trilogy is dark, violent, tender, and full of heart.”