Read an Excerpt from SEAFIRE by Natalie C. Parker

Sisterhood is survival in the upcoming novel SEAFIRE by Natalie C. Parker, and you can read a preview today!

Natalie C. Parker’s highly anticipated, action-packed Seafire will be the first of a trilogy focused on a pirate crew made up of all women, and led by captain Caledonia Styx. Pirates? Sisterhood? Action? What more could we want!

Though it comes out at the end of the month, Penguin Teen has released an excerpt that features the prologue and entire first chapter! Check out a bit of chapter one below:

PROLOGUE

Before

Caledonia stretched along the prow of the Ghost as the ship sliced through black water. At night, the ocean offered only a dark reflection of the sky above, and the promise of a cold grave below.

Her mother, Rhona, crouched near, a rifle balanced on her knees, eyes surveying the sea road ahead. “Our way forward is marred. Do you see?” she said.seafire

Caledonia studied the eddies in the water, searching for the signs that meant there were rocks ahead, or a sunken ship, unusual swirls, or a sudden chop of waves. Rhona was always the first to spot them, but Caledonia was getting better.

“Rocks,” Caledonia said, and without waiting for permission, she turned and called to her father where he stood on the bridge. “Three degrees port!”

The Ghost nosed south to avoid the sharp danger. On either side, familiar outlines of small islands rose around the ship. These were the waters of the Bone Mouth, a series of islands and rocky protrusions that offered flimsy sanctuary to anyone brave enough to sail them. They were treacherous in daylight, and nearly impassable at night, except by Caledonia’s mother, Rhona Styx, captain of the Ghost. Under her command, they sailed as smoothly as if on open blue waters.

Years ago, Rhona liked to remind her daughter, they wouldn’t have needed such stealth. When Rhona was a girl, she sailed from the colder northern currents, past the towering Rock Isles, all the way down to the Bone Mouth without any more danger than the occasional storm. Then, so gradually few noticed until it was too late, a man named Aric Athair had grown a fleet of ships armed and armored for taking and killing. His fleet of Bullet ships stretched in a violent chain across the only way in or out of these expansive waters. Anyone on the wrong side of his notorious Net found themselves bent under the pressure of his thumb.

Now, after years of dodging Aric Athair and his Bullets, and facing dwindling resources, Rhona had decided the time had come for their small band to punch through the Net. For months, they’d searched for the best way. They’d studied the Bullet ships from a distance and determined the weakest point was at the tip of the Bone Mouth, where even Aric’s ships were loath to sail. The Ghost could make it, but first they needed food—fruit, nuts, and meat if they could get it—to supplement their stores for the unknown waters beyond.

Tonight, they resupplied. But tomorrow night, they ran for the very last time.

“You and your brother prep for the shore run.” Rhona’s red hair rolled behind her, battling with the wind.

A small thrill straightened Caledonia’s spine. From the age of six, she’d campaigned for the responsibility of shore runs to be hers. Only in the last year had her mother finally conceded and assigned her the task. But as much as Caledonia cherished the trust her mother placed in her on those occasions, she knew her little brother hated those long dark rides to shore. He would spend the entire night terrified of being so far from the safety of their ship. “Let me take Pisces.” Caledonia climbed to her feet and followed her mother. “We’re a good team. Besides, Donnally’s too young for shore runs. He’s only twelve turns, you know.”

Rhona laughed her grizzly laugh. “You know this from all your experience?”

Caledonia pictured Donnally’s eyes tight with fear, his mouth pressed into a stoic line as he struggled not to disappoint their mother.

“I do,” she answered.

“Cala, the only way your brother will learn is by your side,” Rhona said with a sigh, but there was no fight in her words.

Mother and daughter skirted the bridge, then took turns sliding down the companionway ladder to the deck below. Even in the moonless dark, they knew their way easily around the Ghost. The ship had become a refuge for families looking to escape Aric’s rule. As their numbers grew, every inch of the ship was transformed to meet a variety of needs—masts supported sails and laundry lines, the galley was transformed daily from a mess hall to a bunk room, even the deck was host to stacked garden beds and two goat pens. While more than a dozen men and women were still topside at this hour, most of the crew was asleep in the small cabins below. There were lookouts posted forward and stern and up in the nest, but here in the Bone Mouth, the Ghost had never come across one of Aric’s Bullet ships at night. Bullets were vicious and bold, but most lacked Rhona’s seafaring skill.

Caledonia spied her brother crouched behind one of the four mast blocks studding the centerline of the ship, an overlarge jacket hulking around him like a gray cloud. He had their father’s dark hair, their mother’s fair complexion, and a nose that curled up at the tip, giving him a look of perpetual surprise.

The lines of a blunted arrowhead tattoo half-filled with black ink peeked out from beneath his curls. A matching one was drawn on her own temple. It was custom on the Ghost for parents to mark their children with unique sigils in case of capture. The mark would give those children the chance to find their family again someday.

We love how Seafire is looking so far! You can read the rest of the prologue, as well as the first chapter, on Penguin Teen. The book is also available for pre-order before its August 28th release!

What do you think of what you’ve read so far? Let us know!

After her family is killed by corrupt warlord Aric Athair and his bloodthirsty army of Bullets, Caledonia Styx is left to chart her own course on the dangerous and deadly seas. She captains her ship, the Mors Navis, with a crew of girls and women just like her, whose lives have been turned upside down by Aric and his men. The crew has one misson: stay alive, and take down Aric’s armed and armored fleet.

But when Caledonia’s best friend and second-in-command just barely survives an attack thanks to help from a Bullet looking to defect, Caledonia finds herself questioning whether or not to let him join their crew. Is this boy the key to taking down Aric Athair once and for all…or will he threaten everything the women of the Mors Navis have worked for?

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