REVIEW: MAN IN THE CRESCENT MOON, by M Kei, reviewed by Christopher Hawthorne Moss
MAN IN THE CRESCENT MOON by M. Kei
M. Kei's nautical tales continue by taking a step back in time. The swashbuckling "Captain Tangle is a very young man following in his captain father's footsteps at sea off the Sallee coast. Isam, the young man, is living in his uncle's house with his many female cousins. One of the cousins runs off with a scoundrel, and Isam and his two male cousins go after her to bring her back and punish the man she eloped with. The three young men find her as well as the scoundrel's manservant with whom Isam has fallen in love and who returns as Isam's slave. Interspersing this central storyline are naval battles, chases across the countryside, capture by petty rulers, intrigue and sabotage, and a hard lesson in how one treats one's supposed love.
Anyone who has read Kei's Pirates of the Narrow Seas series knows his skill with fast paced and heart stopping naval adventure. He is at his best in this novel when sticking to that sort of storyline. Isam's underwater sabotage of an enemy vessel is as exciting and memorable as any I've read.
The turmoil in which Isam finds himself when back at home is less engaging and even feels misdirected at times. Nevertheless Kei's knowledge of the people and their times and his loving presentation of them, never mind that it is a fictional country, is fascinating and well worth waiting for the action to pick up again.