The Captain's Witch is my first introduction to this author. I was immediately drawn in to her story, which is mesmerizing and darkly erotic from the prologue. The writing is so skilled that it is one of those books that makes the reader read with the wonder of childhood before critical thinking inevitably becomes a part of the reading experience. For that alone Jarman gets 5 stars as it is a rare occurence as we get older. I also liked it enough to buy her famous historical We Speak No Treason II (We Speak No Treason S.) and plan to read it immediately, so clearly the author has hooked me.
But that critical thinking won't let go. The plot centers around two warring kingdoms, one good, one evil, the evil one secretly ruled by a demoness who gains her power by stealing the souls of men through the act of sexual congress. She prefers virgins who wish to remain virgins. There are a lot of young men chaste by choice running around Karenia, which I just realized strains credulity a bit. Their soul struggles as they whirl into the orgasmic void to be damned forever are repeatedly and viscerally described. It doesn't take Dr. Freud to see that those vaginas are all just waiting to eat you and your soul into the bargain.
The demoness, Malkar, has a daughter, Lilene and Lilene is the inheritor of her power. Lilene doesn't know this yet, but will discover it when she first sleeps with a man. She and the main character, Tallis are of course hopelessly and obsessivly in love with each other. But, Lilene has been influenced by the good religion of the story and is secretly leading a rebellion of the downtrodden underclass in Karenia. Will Tallis's soul be forfeit once sexual congress with Lilene is achieved? Will the demoness/witch Malkar rule the entire world? The story is good and moves along quickly and the descriptions are lush and the characters compelling, but there is that niggle of bother about the purity of men besmirched by the ravening maw of women. It felt at the very least like a very large fear of the power of female sexuality an obsession of both sides of the gender aisle since time began. And at the very most, it is outright misogyny.
By all means, read and enjoy the Captain's Witch; its a great read, but keep in mind its underlying themes. And if sexual detail offends you, this is not the book for you. I plan on reading We Speak no Treason very soon and will be alert to Jarman's portrayals of women and sexuality in that work and will revise this review should it merit it.
- Paperback: 418 pages
- Publisher: Norilana Books; Revised, New edition (Nov. 30 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1607620464
- ISBN-13: 978-1607620464
- Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 2.4 x 22.9 cm
- Shipping Weight: 590 g
- Customer Reviews: 2 customer ratings
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #4,750,255 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)