Sacrificed: Heart Beyond the Spires by Bey Deckard
Series: Baal’s Heart #2
Source: Review by Request
Copy provided by the Author
My Rating: 5 of 5 Stars
Reunited once more, the crew of Baal’s Heart must make the long and treacherous journey south to the towering spires of the Devil’s Isles. The path through the mountain range is fraught with peril; mayhem and tragedy plague the pirate ship, but what the men find beyond the spires is the most shocking of all.
In this sequel to the acclaimed Caged, the pirates are dragged into a dangerous new world by Captain Baltsaros’s all-consuming obsession. In the midst of terror and chaos, Jon learns that the captain and first mate have been keeping secrets from him. But will the truth tear them apart?
I just feel the need to slow-clap it out for Bey Deckard right now, because this book was fucking gorgeous…
It was getting easier for the captain to see the two boys together like this; they offered each other the solace that Baltsaros just wasn’t capable of, and their relationship was a much-needed bridge for the gap that had always existed, unbeknownst to him, between Tom and himself. He decided that he simply needed both of them to feel whole; it worked to soothe his possessiveness somewhat.
Sweet Jesus this book really knocked my socks off! It was beautifully written and had me hooked immediately. I barely put the damn thing down… You only need so much sleep when you have a book like this waiting for you on your Kindle. 😉
I loved the first book, Caged: Love and Treachery on the High Seas, and I was jumping at the chance to continue series… I was completely blown away by this follow-up. It’s quite possible that it was even better than the first, and that’s no small feat.
This story picks up six weeks after the end of the previous book.
Tom, Baltsaros, & Jon are back on Baal’s Heart and are setting off on a new journey together.
The relationship between the three men has not been completely mended after the betrayals of book one, and flashbacks are woven into present-day action in order to catch us up on the past few weeks.
Flashbacks are a tricky thing to master, but I found that they were wonderfully well-incorporated into the narrative.
The iron fist that Baltsaros led with was tucked into a satin glove lined with the softest fur. Men looked up to the captain; they praised his fairness and feared his anger. They emulated his grace, refinement, and unshakable self-confidence; they bowed their heads in loyalty and vied for his attention.
I find it’s quite common for readers to choose sides in literary love-triangles. Personally, I prefer to see a triad work out all the way to the end. I was never on ‘Team Tom’ or ‘Team Baltsaros’, but I certainly had my moments of doubt as I read through this story. All three of the main characters evolved throughout this book, but the captain was a sight to behold.
It was immensely entertaining to watch the struggles Baltsaros went through in this book. He is a sociopathic pirate gripped by untold emotional scars, a man who murders for sport, and is driven to absolute madness – and here I’m grinning like a fool as I witness this character struggle to find his way – I’m not sure what kind of sadist that makes me… The glimpses of gentile affection and near redemption made Baltsaros an even more complex character – It is easy to understand how someone like Jon could find himself so wrapped up in this fascinating pirate.
I won’t spoil the big moments for you – but know that there came a point in this book – a conversation between Baltsaros and Jon where I actually yelled at Baltsaros and had to set the book down for a second. It takes an awful lot to get me sucked so deeply into a story that I’m verbally chastising fictional characters for their behavior…
Jon. Passionate and gentile. Jon with his boundless hope that the three of them would find some kind of arrangement. “Bloody fucking naïve fucking Jon,” slurred Tom, shaking his head.
Jon’s character really flourished in this book. He’s come a long way from the sickly terrified boy who was knocked unconscious and dragged to the deck of a pirate ship nearly a year and a half ago.
In the previous book Jon grappled with his intense attraction to Baltsaros – he could see the dangerous monster lurking behind the captain’s eyes, but he allowed himself to be seduced anyway. Jon struggled with his relationship, with the violence inherent in piracy, and ultimately he had to figure out how to reconcile his connection to Baltsaros with his growing attraction for the first mate.
In this book, Jon’s character is embracing a thread of violence which seems to have woven its way into his psyche. His time as a pirate has changed the young man into something quite imposing when the moment calls for it. And oh man, Jon has some seriously bad-ass moments of glory and gore in this story.
“He sees the good in me, Da, plain as day. That’s somethin’ worth fightin’ for. Maybe even somethin’ worth dyin’ for.” His words sounded strangely choked.
Oh Tom… Brutish, ruthless, deadly, yet affable Tom… Such a complicated character and such a joy to read. There are hidden depths to this man which become quite clear as this story progresses.
For the majority of the first book in this series, Tom was the odd man out in this complicated relationship. Now the three men have accepted and embraced their feelings – well, sexually at least – there are still plenty of warring emotions when you get past all the delicious sweaty moments spent in the captains quarters…
Jon exudes an honest tenderness which had been missing between the captain and Tom…
Baltsaros insists that his growing fondness for young Jon is a weakness which he must fight against.
Tom clearly sees the benefit of being loved by such a warm and kind creature, yet craves the captain’s rough handling…
Our three favorite pirates are attempting to work out this complicated dynamic between them while facing an endless list of physical and mental setbacks. Their journey to unknown lands through an uncharted path lends a fantastic parallel to their relationships with each other.
Tom has kept the captain’s secrets for ages, and has lied to cover up the older man’s more depraved tendencies… He has lied to Jon… And due to Jon’s empathetic gift, he has spotted every lie and has chosen to look the other way.
Secrets are revealed – the depths of which threaten to undo all they’ve worked toward…
Meanwhile, outside forces are conspiring to tear these men apart…
This story is dark and twisty in the most wonderful way.
& Heart-pounding suspense!
I won’t spoil the new land for you – I think it is best for the reader to experience that adventure right along side the main characters. However, I will say that the imagery is glorious – richly detailed and incredibly unsettling…
I found myself chatting with author Jae T. Jaggart about this series and how deeply satisfying it is to read a historical novel which embraces detail. All too often we come across books which are little more than contemporary stories wrapped in period costuming. So not the case with these books. I slip so easily into the landscape Bey Deckard has created, that he makes it look easy. It’s fucking impressive. This series is beautifully detailed, entirely original, and I’m completely enthralled with every single aspect.
And… I’m off to read the next book right this second because I can’t get enough of these characters!
Baltsaros had saved him again. Saved him and claimed him, just as he had so long ago. Tom’s chest hurt, and his eyes burned.
Collapsing into the captain’s arms, Tom buried his face in the man’s shoulder. He smelled Baltsaros’s scent—the subtle musk of him, cologne, clean skin, ocean air. Tom clutched at him, gathering handfuls of the captain’s loose white shirt at his back,
“Da, I’m sorry. I’m sorry… gods, I’m sorry…” he sighed over and over against the captain.
“Tom, you’re completely inebriated. What are you apologizing for? Everything will be all right. Can you stand? Here… hold onto this for a moment please,” said Baltsaros, leaning him against the big rain barrel. Tom swiped at his eyes and steadied himself as he watched the older man drag Little Dan across the deck. Leaving a wide, red streak behind him, the captain then lifted the dead man up and over the gunwale.
A graceful smile widened the captain’s curved lips when he turned back to Tom, his hands bloody as he reached out to take the big man’s arm.
“There’s no need for apologies, my tomcat. You’re mine… Which means you’re mine to protect. Do you understand me? Gods you stink—how much have you had to drink? No wonder you get yourself into such trouble,” muttered the captain, shaking his head. “Now, are you listening to me, you stubborn thing? Jon told me you were scared, and I think I know why. Tom, there’s no justification for your fears. It’s really very simple: I want you by my side… I need you with me. How can I get that through your thick skull, boy?” He reached out and touched Tom’s face, thumb sliding along his sore cheek. “I am the one who’s sorry.”
Need. Tom looked away as his heart stumbled and his breath was torn from him. With that simple word, his doubts sank along with the dead men overboard. The captain needed him.
“Aye, Da. If ye’ll still have me after all my foolishness,” he replied with an awkward grin.
There was no mistaking the fondness in Baltsaros’s dark eyes as he smiled back at his first mate. With a nod, Tom looped his arm around the captain’s neck for support and let himself be led to the stateroom below the quarterdeck.
About the Author:
Artist, Writer, Dog Lover.
Born and raised in a small coastal town in northern Québec, Bey spent his early summers on his uncle’s boat and running wild on the beaches of the surrounding islands, lighting fires and building huts out of driftwood and fishermen’s nets. As an adult, he eventually made his way to university and earned a degree in Art History with a strong focus on Anthropology. Primarily a portrait painter and graphic artist, Bey sat down one day and decided to write about the two things that he felt most passionate about: sex and the sea.
Bey currently lives in the wilds of Montréal with his best buddy, a spotty pit bull named Murphy. Caged: Love and Treachery on the High Seas is his first novel.