A few months ago, a customer who has also become a friend told me she loved the books, and said I should definitely read them. By then I was already hooked on A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin and didn't see myself starting another series soon. But then it came to me: I looked for the audio book, as I always need something to occupy my mind while spinning. Though I do enjoy (re)watching Star Trek, Doctor Who, Torchwood, Buffy, and other shows, it's nice to have someone read to you now and then - and Michael Page, who reads the Gentleman Bastard series, does a fantastic job.
I have finished book 2 now, the book where the aforementioned female pirate captain comes into the story. And I am in love! She is a middle aged black woman, pirate captain, talented at sabre fighting, mother of two, and utterly fantastic. And what do I do when I am so in love with a character? Yes, exactly - I pay homage to them by spinning a yarn ;-)
Here she is, the magnificent Zamira Drakasha, Captain of the Poison Orchid!
I decided on dark brown, reddish brown and golden brown to represent Zamira's ship and clothes, and teal and turquoise to represent the ocean. Fibres used are merino wool and bamboo.
For add-ins, I chose sabre charms for Zamira's fighting talents, yak bone skulls for the piracy, and coin charms for gained treasure. Also, I added strips of red silk, as in Zamira's universe being a pirate is referred to as sailing under the red flag, the equivalent of the Jolly Roger. The strips are spun in so the ends of them will flutter magnificently from the finished yarn.
The colours are a bit off in these pictures, as my camera has a slight problem with teals and turquoises - they always seem bluer than they actually are.
(By the way, when I googled Zamira I came upon this article, a response by author Scott Lynch to a critic of the character Zamira Drakasha. As always when something is about (strong, independent, powerful) women, the "critics" (read: obnoxious dickheads) come crawling from their sorry dark holes. The response by Scott Lynch is great, though, and you don't necessarily have to know the story or the character to read it.)
If you're interested in the book series, here are the titles:
1. The Lies of Locke Lamora
2. Red Seas under Red Skies
3. The Republic of Thieves
(Four more books to come, according to Wikipedia)
Essentially, the series is about two likeable (male) con artists and their varying followers who plan schemes to get rich. They are also priests of the so called crooked warden, the nameless thirteenth, god of thieves, and as such have certain obligations which sometimes interferes with their actually getting rich. The schemes are clever and sometimes quite funny, the dialogues are fun, the writing is great... Trigger warnings should be given for a certain brutality, though in my opinion it's much less than in A Song of Ice and Fire, for instance.
Though both of the protagonsists are male and there could be more female main characters for my taste, at least in this world women are visible, and work in varying professions. There are female guard and city watch members, assassins, personal guards, alchemysts, pirates, thieves, magi... And after Zamira and her second in command in book 2, book 3 now features another two women who I hope will get more screen time (is there a word for that when I'm talking about books?), and book 1 also had a few interesting female characters, though they didn't get that much time.
So, all in all - very enjoyable books, fun to read, and even more fun if they're read to you by Michael Page ;-)