The Pirate Prince
by Connie Mason, historical (2004)
Leisure, $6.99, ISBN 0-8439-5234-2


Oh, praise be to the Cheese that Connie Mason is still diligently trying to keep the corniest Fabio-riffic kinds of pirate stories alive! The author's latest offering The Pirate Prince is a hoot. Full of purplish silly sex and lots of adventures with blessedly little plot to get in the way of the cheese buffet, this book is the perfect "Bimbo that Reads" accessory, fun for people who could appreciate the campier elements of this book and pain for people who expect Ms Mason to miraculously transform into Laura Kinsale between the previous book and this one.

I've always wondered why so many romance heroes living in the Middle-East always have some English blood in them, as if a drop of English blood makes them superior to the always perverted psychopath true-blue Middle-Eastern rival of these heroes. Here, our half-English hero Prince Dariq of Turkey becomes a pirate to counter his half-brother Ibrahim who have murdered their father and is now holding Dariq's English mother hostage. See what I mean about the noble half-English hero and the pure-blood evil villain? This is in 1564, by the way. Dariq's latest prize is Willow Foxburn, who is a virgin sold to Ibrahim. In fact, the ship is carrying her to Ibrahim when Dariq seizes it. Willow is on some half-baked attempt to starve herself to death before she is pawed by some Middle-Eastern dictator but ooh, when Dariq shows up, you better not blink or you'll miss the few pages of scintillating conversations that take place before Willow is eagerly surrendering her lock-stock-and-barrel property-of-Ibrahim maidenhead to our hero.

I don't get it, to be honest. Then again, I don't get all these heroines who would melodramatically declare that they'd rather die than to have sex only to swoon and quickly drop their skirts to the first good-looking hunk that comes around. There's some Catholic schoolgirl joke in this scenario somehow, I suspect. Is it because Dariq is half-English, Willow?

Of course Dariq has bazillions of lovers before but no one can compare to Willow. For Willow, she doesn't need bazillions of lovers to know that her heart and soul now belong to Dariq, so oh! Dariq decides that he loves her to, but oh, he has bartered her off to Ibrahim in exchange for his mother! So what now? And let's not forget the cultural differences between the hero and the heroine that are keeping them apart, although Ms Mason doesn't pretend that these differences include religion, wealth, or the fact that he will take sixty more women into his harem sometime in the future, so I don't know what these "cultural differences" are. I mean, Dariq at one point tells himself that he won't be accepted as the member of the Ton (yes, Dariq intends to live for some three hundred years more so that he will get to see all the Ton things in England) but Ms Mason has Willow quickly thinking soon after that moment that Dariq looks like a member of the Ton (she too intends to live for three hundred years, I suppose). Yup, just like I suspected, it's all about being pale-skinned and looking like some Englishman, hmmmph!

But don't worry, readers, because if you'd remember, Dariq's mother is English. I'm sure you can guess how Dariq gets to finally de-Turkinize his roots and finally become a "real" (read: English) hero to our approval.

The villain is ridiculous and I really love how the heroine's maid keeps changing name all the time. First it is Kitty and then it is Polly. But everything is good because the main characters are so busy shagging that every three or so pages is a sex scene. They aren't sexy, these scenes, as much as they are amusingly purple, but I approve of them nonetheless because the characters are too busy having fun to do too many stupid things that may annoy me. Between a story powered by loin pumps and a story powered by dumb, I'd take the former anytime.

The story is resolved in a convenient but rather implausible manner, there is really no plot here as much as there are sex scenes interrupted intermittently by villainous cacklings and antics of Ibrahim. But who am I kidding? I don't think anyone expects that from Connie Mason. So yes, this book offers some silly, unintentionally comedic fun both as an exercise in bad writing and as a story of campy fun. Therefore, The Pirate Prince serves the purpose it is created, so once more Connie Mason delivers the goodies with style. All is right in the world again.

Rating: 73


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