I have a particular love of characterization, and when it’s done well, like how it is done in Arkenberg’s “Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea,” I never want a tale to end. Here we meet a pirate lady with a past that has left her scarred in more ways than one, and her character just flows onto the page, even as tiny pieces of her past are revealed alongside the narrative unfolding.
Like all the stories in Scourge of the Seas of Time (and Space), “Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea” is about pirates, but this one focuses the lens so tightly around this one woman in particular, that while you’re aware there’s the larger story going on—and it’s a grand story, with a woman attempting to escape with an unborn heir before those who killed the lineage find her—the personal stakes are the ones that grab you and take hold.
Forced to choose between the safety of her crew by joining those who already nearly killed her once, or to hand over an innocent woman to be murdered, I watched the tale unfold and desperately wanted her to come out on top in some fashion. And oh, how I loved the resolution.