Quintspinner: A Pirate's Quest

Quintspinner: A Pirate's Quest

by Dianne Greenlay

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Overview

As the daughter of a London physician in 1717, sixteen-year-old Tess Willoughby has seen her share of horrors and been to some of the city's shadiest quarters. But a simple trip through the chaos of a London marketplace takes a bizarre twist. Tess witnesses the murder of a renowned elderly seer and unwittingly becomes the mistress of the woman's prophetic spinner ring. Even worse, Tess's panic-stricken trip home leads her to discover a secret family history that shocks Tess to her core.

Unable to give up the bejeweled ring, Tess must embark on a treacherous voyage to the pirate-infested waters of the West Indies. Trapped on a merchant ship and unwillingly betrothed to the murderer who covets the power of her ring, Tess finds strength and comfort in the company of a handsome sailor, even though this growing temptation will most certainly jeopardize their lives. Even stranger, she soon realizes that even though her fiancé is ruthless, he alone can secure her safety throughout their perilous journey.

Thrust into a world she doesn't understand to fulfill a role she is only beginning to grasp, Tess questions everything she has believed up to now. Her only hope of saving those she loves is to accept her destiny. And yet, the strange influence of her spinner ring could change everything ...

Full of high seas action, dangerous magic, and a dash of romance, Quintspinner is a swashbuckling adventure that twists and turns with the fury of a hurricane.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781450233972
Publisher: iUniverse, Incorporated
Publication date: 07/07/2010
Pages: 340
Product dimensions: 9.00(w) x 6.00(h) x 0.76(d)

First Chapter

Quintspinner


By Dianne Greenlay

iUniverse, Inc.

Copyright © 2010 Dianne Greenlay
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-4502-3397-2


Chapter One

William would never forget the last day of his life as he knew it.

He was being attacked for the first time that morning. The rough grip clutching him dug into his shoulder and shook him hard. His heart bolted into a sudden pounding frenzy.

"William! Wake now!" The voice was shrill and pierced his sleep. His eyes shot open and focused on the face hovering above him.

His mother. Even in the dim pre-dawn light, he could see a deep furrow of worry lacing her eyebrows together. Her lips were pressed into a narrow frown and he couldn't quite read the emotion fueling her painful grasp on him.

Worry or anger? It didn't matter. Whatever it was, it wasn't going to be good.

"C'mon lad! Up with you. Your father and brother didna' return from the pub last evening-still drunk as mice in the dregs of a brandy barrel, I 'spect-but that's no relief to Millie, will it be, with her bag near ready to burst, nor to those of us needin' kindling to have kept the flame tucked overnight. Sometimes I curse the day John Robert discovered his dammed drink!"

His confusion at being woken well before sun up was quickly replaced with alarm. Not home? Neither one? William wearily struggled to sit up on his straw-filled mat. A tangled lock of sandy colored hair swung down into his face and he tucked it behind his ear. He recognized his mother's angry use of his father's proper names.

"Bring us wood and dung as fast as you can, lad, and I'll set to save what embers I can. Your sister will start the milkin'. Quickly! Off with you now!"

He could hear the strain in her voice. His Da' not home? Nor Johnny? His mother's worry was well placed then. His father would never have left the evening milking undone. At the very least his older brother, John, would have been sent back to help do the chores. And no wood for the overnight or morning fire!

He quickly slid both feet into the boots lying on the floor beside him. The worn leather had molded to his feet like a second layer of calloused skin. Throwing his woolen tunic on overtop of his night shirt and trousers, he quickly lashed it around his waist, and called out.

"Lucas! C'mon boy, let's have a look." From a woven floor pad, the grizzled hound lifted his head in response to his name, but the relative warmth of the house called more strongly to his arthritic joints than his master's voice, and he merely yawned and laid his head back down upon his front paws. "Fine then, you old fart! Stay here while I go looking." Lucas simply closed his eyes and exhaled a contented sigh. William didn't blame him. The dog was nearly as old as William was now and the past winter's ache had settled and stayed in his bones. Being allowed to stay inside was a special treat. Giving his dog a fond scratch between the animal's ears, William pulled the tunic's hood up over his own head, and stepped through the hut's doorway into the chill of the damp air.

An urgent lowing greeted him as he strode the few steps it took to reach the livestock shed's doorway. Running footsteps from behind told him that Abbey was already on her way to milk the cow. For a heartbeat William felt a pang of guilt for his little sister. The cow's bag would be swollen hard and the animal would be more miserable and uncooperative than usual. Millie was calmer with a female's handling of her teats at the best of times, it seemed to him.

Probably comes from having the same kind of equipment, and knowing how to handle 'em without harm.

William trotted silently further down the rutted path, its surface having been torn into parallel troughs by years of foot traffic and cart wheels. Anything useful as kindling had long since been picked clean near the buildings. His keen eyes gradually adjusted to the dim pre-dawn light. He preferred to find branches and twigs to burn, rather than to have to return with an armful of dung from the cowshed. Although the manure burned slowly and gave off decent warmth, its smoke was thick and noxious.

He was closer to the village than to his home by the time he came across anything worth picking up. Skirting around the edges of the underbrush that lined both sides of the path, he gathered a small armful of dried twigs. They would burn up in no time, he knew. He continued to scour the bushes deeper into the underbrush in hopes of discovering a few decently sized branches.

Just a bit more and I'll have enough to make the porridge fire, anyway.

He realized it was the wrong time of year to be finding much dead wood. Everything was leafed out and no limbs on the trees or bushes were dry enough to have been shaken down by wind passing through the thickets and forest.

Scrambling out of the underbrush, he clutched the twigs and a few skinny branches to his chest. Reaching the road once more, he stumbled in one of the ruts and pitched forward onto his knees, dropping his kindling. An intense bolt of pain shot through his leg as his kneecap cracked against an exposed cobble rock. William ground his teeth together in quiet agony.

Goddamn these ruts! Where in the hell are Johnny and Da' anyway?

Still on his hands and knees, he lifted his head and glanced down the road. Something off to the side glowed eerily white, lying in an area of dark trampled grasses. He squinted in the semi-light and cursed the rut again for being the cause of his knee pain. Damned stupid stumble-

William strained his eyes on the strange discoloration ahead, his knee pain immediately forgotten.

What the hell is that?

Chapter Two

A branch! A large friggin' branch!

He struggled to his feet and fixing his gaze on it, lurched towards it. Living at the edge of the forest as his family did, William knew the different woods on sight, and he also knew their properties-which smelled sweetest when burning, which was strongest for fences, and which wood was flexible enough for bows. Even so, in this dim predawn gray, he could not place from which kind of tree it was. The shape was unlike anything that he was familiar with. He kept his eye on the precious branch as he hurried onward. Upon reaching it, he bent down and froze in mid-reach.

Not a branch.

Wood, yes to be sure, but it was the splintered remains of a broken club, its shattered end darkly stained. William's nostrils flared as the faint metallic scent wafted up from the dark patch of grass.

'Heme' they had called it in the slaughter shed. "It's the heme 'o the blood what gives the smell," his father had once told the boys. Johnny had declared that he smelled only the pigs' shit, but William had been blessed with a sense of smell more keen than most, and to him the warm blood smelled vaguely like the hot metal in the blacksmith's shop.

"You're part wolf, I swear," his father had declared. "Ya' see and smell things the rest of us can't. Whatever use that will come to though, I can't declare."

William held the broken club to his nose and sniffed. It was the heme alright. Alarmed, he threw it down and it landed with a soft wet thud onto a saturated piece of cloth lying in the crushed grass. William bent closer and peered at the spot. His stomach lurched.

Da's cap!

Wet with the heavy morning dew. Wet with blood. It laid in the grasses as though already part of the earth.

Oh Jesus! It can't be! His heart hammered in his chest as cold panic washed over him. Oh God! Wha-what happened? His father was a large man. Determined. Stronger than most. What could possibly have gotten the best of him?

William dropped onto his hands and knees, oblivious to the shrieking pain in his knee. His stomach was heaving. The burn of the bile in his empty stomach filled his mouth and his shoulders hunched high under his ears as he heaved, choking and spitting.

Then suddenly, horribly, his eyes came to rest on a calloused pale hand protruding from the tangled roots of the hawthorn bush beside him, the broken wrist bent at an odd angle, the entire arm awash with blood.

Oh Christ Almighty!

William strangled a cry in his throat and his stomach heaved anew. The dry heaves tore at his insides and he gasped for breath. The curl of the fingers, the shape of the broad thumb, so much like his own-

Dear God! Let him be alive!

Jerking his head up from the sight of his grisly find, William scanned the area around him. His breath came in ragged gasps. Am I alone? Oh God! Lucas! I need you here, boy! Who did this? A club? It wasn't an animal! Bandits? Are the attackers still around?

Self-preservation instincts took over. Seeing no one and hearing only his own blood roar in a frantic whoosh in his ears, William reached out for the protruding fingers.

"Da'?" he whispered in the semi-darkness. Clasping the cold finger, he shook it as though to wake its owner. The hand was already stiffening in death.

"Da'!" William's silent scream was punctuated by the whoosh in his head. His breath came in burning gulps as he reached out and parted the bushes. His eyes travelled from the hand, up the bloodied forearm, to the body, then upward to the face. His vision blurred with hot tears. Oh Da' -

The words died in his throat. The sightless blue eyes were not his father's.

The roaring inside his head increased to a high pitched squeal. He felt his thoughts spinning, spinning, as he sank mercifully into blackness. The void sucked him down into nothingness, away from the terror of his discovery.

His head dropped with a soft thump onto the cold chest of his brother's stiffening corpse.

* * *

William never felt the rough hands that pulled him from the bush, nor felt the coils of rope splitting his skin as the strands were tightened, cutting into his wrists and ankles, binding them together.

Chapter Three

To the girl on the stool, the scream was at once both ear-shattering and guttural. The hairs on her arms and the back of her neck stood on end and her heart pounded furiously against her chest wall. The woman on the low bed beside her moaned and writhed in agony, gripped in a contraction beyond her control.

"Tess!" The woman hissed, the contraction slowly ebbing away. Her eyes clenched shut in fear and pain.

"I'm here," Tess responded and shifted her weight forward on the stool, gently wiping the woman's brow. In spite of the fire burning in the hearth, cold rivulets of her own sweat trickled down between Tess's shoulder blades.

Being the daughter of the much sought after London physician, Dr. Charles Thomas Willoughby, Tess had heard similar cries of distress coming from the many pregnant patients her father attended to. She had, on several occasions, accompanied him into the bed chambers of these laboring women for their deliveries, handing him whatever linens, medical potions, and tools that he required. However, this time, the screams burst forth from her mother, and it was horrifyingly different.

Elizabeth Willoughby lay on the cot, her nightshift pasted with sweat to her chest. A thin sheet draped her lower body. As her eyes slowly opened, she fixed Tess in a glassy stare. She breathed a series of shallow gasps behind chattering teeth.

"C'mon, Mum," Tess encouraged, in a voice that she hoped did not relay her own fear. "Squeeze my hand and bite down on this linen when the next pain comes-"

Another wrenching scream cut Tess off as her mother's body tensed then arched with the fury of the contraction.

Something is very wrong!

Tess again mopped the sweat from her mother's forehead, and wiped a sliver of drool which slid down from the corner of her mother's mouth. She tried to keep her voice low and soothing.

"Cassie's gone to find Father! Father went to tend to a mishap down on the docks but they'll be back any minute."

Cassie would be able to find Dr Willoughby as quickly as anyone, but beinglabeleda"niggerservant",shemighthavebeensubjecttointerference by any number of London's citizens. Tess fervently hoped that Cassie had been able to make her way to the waterfront unimpeded.

"Any minute now, they'll be here-do you hear me? Elizabeth Willoughby, answer me!" she scolded, but her mother did not respond. Not even to the use of her formal name.

"Packing, Tess." Her mother's cracked whisper was barely audible.

What did she say?

"Packing? But you've not had the child yet, Mum-" Tess stopped short as her mother weakly pulled back the sheet covering her abdomen. Tess's eyes widened in fright. A dark spreading stain was seeping along the bedding between her mother's legs.

"Oh my God, Mum!" Tess shrieked and sprang to her feet. She raced across the room to the barrel that held the cleaned battings of raw cotton. Jamming an armful of the yellow fluff between her mother's thighs she pressed with both hands.

"Father says steady pressure is the key to stopping any bleeding," she gasped. "You'll be alright, you'll see, Mum!'

What is keeping Father? He should have been back by now! How long can bleeding like this continue? Tess sent up a silent prayer. Please, God, don't let her die! Don't let them die!

She felt stiff with building panic. She wasn't sure if it was being fuelled by her mother's impending doom or the thought of bearing the brunt of her father's quick temper. She adjusted her pressure on the cotton wad and felt a small hard knob push back into the palm of her hand.

What is that?

Sweat dripped freely from the tip of Tess's nose and chin now; droplets slid from her forehead and burned her eyes as she blinked fiercely to clear the sting.

It feels like a -it can't be! Please, Dear God, don't let it be!

Tess pulled the edge of the sodden cotton bundle back and quickly felt for the knob again.

There it is! A heel! Slippery with warm blood and birth fluids, it was definitely a tiny foot.

Dear Mary in Heaven, the baby is coming the wrong way!

A sanguineous effluence announced another contraction's arrival, but this time her mother was silent.

"Mum?" Tess anxiously scanned her mother's face. No reply.

"Mum!" It was Tess's turn to scream. "Don't you leave me! Father's coming! This baby needs you! Stay with me!"

What to do? What to do? Her thoughts crashed and collided with each other. Get the baby out! a voice inside her instructed. It sounded vaguely detached yet familiar and comforting.

Tess positioned herself with one hand on her mother's swollen belly and began pushing towards her mother's feet. With her other hand, she grabbed the baby's foot and gently pulled. Another nub protruded from the birth canal, announcing the arrival of the second foot. Her mother's swollen torso hardened again and again. Tess lost count of the contractions before the baby's tiny body finally emerged with one horrible bloody gush.

A boy! I have a brother! Tess had not thought of the child in terms of a sibling until this moment.

"God, spare him!" she pleaded in audible prayer. As if in answer, the baby's head emerged with the next contraction. The tiny boy laid ominously still in Tess's hands, his face and body quickly deepening to a dusky purple.

Too long! It took too long!

Frantically Tess swiped the mucous from her new brother's face then grasped and squeezed his rib cage with her hands.

"Breathe!" she screamed into the still blue face. The shock of her scream had its desired effect. At once, the curled up arms and legs flew open and the baby sucked in a gurgling breath, then emitted a high pitched squeal of indignant newborn rage. Tess had never heard a more beautiful sound. A sob of relief escaped from her chest. He's alive!

"Tess!" a voice roared. "What in God's name have you done?"

The angry words thundered from the doorway. Tess gasped, nearly dropping the infant in her panic. Reflexively clutching the screaming bundle to her chest, she whirled around to meet her accuser. Her father's imposing frame charged into the room.

Chapter Four

A foul musky rot.

William's semiconscious brain attempted to sort the two scents out. A soft sniffing sound and a quick brush of fur against his chin startled William into full wakefulness. Darkness engulfed him, his surroundings unfamiliar and threatening. He tried to remember where he was. Not on his own sleeping mat, tucked under his warm woolen bedding, that was for sure. How did I get here? He lay still for a few seconds, the sour taste of vomit still strong in his mouth. For a moment, his own blue eyes fluttered open but he could see only dim outlines in the lantern lit darkness.

Lanterns! At once all of his senses screamed high alert.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from Quintspinner by Dianne Greenlay Copyright © 2010 by Dianne Greenlay. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Quintspinner: A Pirate's Quest 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
LiederMadchen on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I am not entirely sure what I was expecting from this book. Probably a light-hearted adventure with romance and derring-do and a splash of magic. Quintspinner was not at all what I expected. The story is dark and harsh, so cruel that it was at times painful to read, but I couldn't stop. No matter how awful it got, I had to keep reading to reassure myself that there was some hope for Tessa and Cassie and the others.I really liked most of the main characters. Tessa was strong and interesting, William was likable and heroic. And Cassie, poor Cassie. I came to care for her the most, and I could truly respect how she stayed strong despite everything that happened to her. There was one thing that she did (can't tell you what, major spoiler) that disappointed me, but I could sympathize anyway.Edward Graham was very intriguing. He started as a villain, and then perhaps he wasn't so bad, and then he was a villain again. It was difficult, even towards the end, to tell what his true intentions were and I am not entirely satisfied with the author's explanation of his motives. Perhaps in book 2...No matter how much I liked the characters and the storyline, there were a few points that just grossed me out or made me shudder. The pirates in this book were in no way the "gentlemen pirates" that one finds in Errol Flynn movies. There was gore, cruelty, rape, torture and even cannibalism. While this makes them perhaps more realistic, it also makes the story more disturbing.This book was a mixed bag for me. I liked the characters and story, but there were many elements that I disliked. Will I recommend it to all and sundry? Probably not. Will I read book 2 when it comes out? Probably yes.
DanaBurgess on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
When I received "Quintspinner" from the author, Dianne Greenlay, it came well recommended: shortlisted for the 2010 Saskatchewan Book Awards; honorable mention for the Creative Arts Council 2011 Fiction Book Award and recipient of the Reader Views 2011 Reviewers Choice Award. All very well and good but I have had bad luck with highly lauded and award winning books lately so a grain of salt was warranted here. Or not.It has been said that I devour books and rightly so. I did not devour this novel, however. "Quintspinner" is not a book to be devoured - it is a book to be savoured! Just look at the front cover: warm, inviting, hinting at adventure. It made me happy to look at. And then I opened it and was introduced to an era of hard times and strong people; of superstition, adventure and romance; magic rings, the high seas and pirates that would eat (perhaps literally) Captain Jack Sparrow for lunch and go looking for more. I will say that I was a little lost for the first couple of chapters but stick with it. It all comes together and pretty soon you will be drawn in just as I was. I wasn't even half way through the 324 pages when I started hoping there would be a sequel. I knew I wouldn't be ready to let the characters go at the end of this amazing book.Appropriate for older teens and adults, this pirate's quest makes a great foil to the overdone vampire and werewolf stories out there. Available at amazon, chapters/indigo, iUniverse and elsewhere. Trust me - keep your eye on this author, she's a keeper!
TheresaMCole on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Let me begin by explaining that I normally do not read historical fiction. Most of the historical fiction books that I have tried to read in the past were basically the same story told over and over again using different characters. THIS book¿ Quintspinner, is absolutely NOT your typical historical fiction! Combining romance, danger, history, and magic is probably not an easy thing to do well, but Diane Greenlay has created a wonderful work of art which I hope is only the beginning!One of the things that I love about a good book is great characters. Characters that I can relate to and make mistakes just like I do. Diane has gone even further with her characters by making them likeable and interesting. At many points in the book, I found myself thinking that Tess and I must have been formed from the same mold. ¿Act first, think later¿ has always been one of my faults, and it was amazingly refreshing to find that Tess shared that with me. The supporting characters are also extremely well thought out, but never overbearing on Tess¿s lead role.What impressed me the most about Quintspinner was the incredibly imaginative and beautiful world building. Mrs. Greenlay has an amazing talent for describing the scenes so well that it feels that you can walk right into the book. When an author is talented enough to paint the picture without requiring much of the reader¿s imagination, it¿s truly impressive. There was only one thing that I would like to have changed, and that is the length of the chapters. When I really get into a book, chapter changes force me back into reality a bit. Quintspinner¿s chapters are very short, which I found to be a little annoying even though I completely understand the reasoning behind the chapter lengths.All in all, I found this book to be very enjoyable and I highly recommend it to anyone. I know that it will be staying on my bookshelf for a future re-read, and that doesn¿t happen very often.
qarae on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
In the first of what appears to be a series, Dianne Greenlay¿s ¿Quintspinner A Pirate¿s Quest¿ is a fantastic historical-fiction adventure, with a hint of fantasy thrown in. This newbie author has created a wonderfully entertaining page turner filled with dark magical lore, murder, pirates and romance. From the first page the reader is drawn into the tapestry of destiny that is being spun; each thread a fully developed and relatable character or event that influences Tess Willoughby¿s once ordinary life. A naïve teen from the outset of the story, Tess¿s dull life changes drastically from the moment she encounters an old crone and her mysterious spinning ring.Dianne Greenlay has accurately and tangibly captured 18th century activities, portraying the difficulties of daily life in such a way that astounds the reader while simultaneously drawing the reader even deeper into the adventure. From medical practices involving mercury to the pressing of children into service for the navy as `powder monkeys¿, these activities seem so barbaric that it could easily disconnect the modern reader from the experience. But Dianne Greenlay is able to maintain the tether connecting the reader to the story through the use of colorfully descriptive context, bits of commonly known historical references and communicative dialogue between an informed character and an uninformed character, thus educating the reader.While the edition I read had multiple technical errors in the type (I am unsure if this problem resides with the editor or the publisher, not knowing the process that manuscripts go follow), none of it detracted from the experience. One feature that I found I very much appreciated was the short chapters. After reading some fantasy novels where chapters contain dozens of pages, the brevity of each of Dianne Greenlay¿s chapters made this novel easier to pick up and read during a spare minute or two.A fast paced first installment into what looks to be an exciting series, Dianne Greenlay¿s entrance into the literary world offers a fast and furious ride from the first page to the last. I eagerly await the sequels!
AHauer on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Wow- here is a fiction novel that has it all: Murder, Mystery, Suspense, Action, Fantasy and a bit of magic thrown in to make it a very engaging read! For me, the story took on a `life¿ of its own as it seamlessly and vividly played out in my mind while reading. The action on the seas is amazing, and does not leave for a dull moment. For a tale that involves more than one storyline, this was superbly completed to weave the events together. I am very anxious for the next two books as I have been told by the author that she plans to make this a trilogy. I am so excited to go back on this journey!I felt my emotions go for the ride with Tess and Cassie. The fear of being attacked and witnessing the murder of an innocent, the frustration with the doctor, her brother and the fiancé, the shock at learning secrets, the awe of the magical `spinner¿ rings and the joy in finding love with her soul mate. To think of being attacked by a stranger while going to the marketplace and being confronted with someone that others avoid because of who they are. Tess and Cassie are traumatized when they go for supplies and attempt to hurry back home. In the craziness of the aftermath of the attack, Tess learns that she is a `Quintspinner¿ from the local `crone¿, a woman her father forbids her to see. The girls witness an attack on the eccentric woman and fight back to help her. It is when the attackers flee, that Tess acquires the first of five `spinner¿ rings and brief, but incomplete instructions on its use.It is most tragic when her father refuses to believe that the girls are telling the truth over the ordeal and then decides to uproot them from their home in London to Port Royal.We also learn the tale of another, William, as his course crosses paths with Tess. A young man taken against his will and who looses his family in one swift blow to serve on a Navel ship. His father is missing, his brother is found dead and his mother and sister have no idea what has occurred. Yet there is nothing to do but live or die on the ship. William desires to live in hopes of returning home.
indiebrag More than 1 year ago
We are proud to announce that Quintspinner: A Pirate's Quest by Dianne Greenlay is a B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree. This tells you that this book is well worth your time and money!
LiederMadchen More than 1 year ago
I am not entirely sure what I was expecting from this book. Probably a light-hearted adventure with romance and derring-do and a splash of magic. Quintspinner was not at all what I expected. The story is dark and harsh, so cruel that it was at times painful to read, but I couldn't stop. No matter how awful it got, I had to keep reading to reassure myself that there was some hope for Tessa and Cassie and the others. I really liked most of the main characters. Tessa was strong and interesting, William was likable and heroic. And Cassie, poor Cassie. I came to care for her the most, and I could truly respect how she stayed strong despite everything that happened to her. There was one thing that she did (can't tell you what, major spoiler) that disappointed me, but I could sympathize anyway. Edward Graham was very intriguing. He started as a villain, and then perhaps he wasn't so bad, and then he was a villain again. It was difficult, even towards the end, to tell what his true intentions were and I am not entirely satisfied with the author's explanation of his motives. Perhaps in book 2... No matter how much I liked the characters and the storyline, there were a few points that just grossed me out or made me shudder. The pirates in this book were in no way the "gentlemen pirates" that one finds in Errol Flynn movies. There was gore, cruelty, rape, torture and even cannibalism. While this makes them perhaps more realistic, it also makes the story more disturbing. This book was a mixed bag for me. I liked the characters and story, but there were many elements that I disliked. Will I recommend it to all and sundry? Probably not. Will I read book 2 when it comes out? Probably yes.
Tyler_TichelaarTT More than 1 year ago
I read "Quintspinner" because I sponsored the award in the Historical Fiction category for the Reader Views Literary Awards. It was the first year I had sponsored the award, and since I had no role in the judging, I was curious to see what book would win. And I was not disappointed by the results. I was excited to hear a historical novel about pirates was the winner because I figured it would be a good read, but I had no idea what a talented writer Dianne Greenlay would be or what a great story she would spin. I was thrilled, after reading "Quintspinner" that it had won, and the award is well-deserved. "Quintspinner" is the story of Tess Willoughby, who lives in 1717 London. Tess, while walking through the marketplace of London, meets an old crone who reveals that Tess is a "quintspinner," someone who can control five magic rings. The crone says it's proven by the birthmark Tess has. When the crone is soon after murdered, Tess is left with many questions about her past and the destiny that lies before her, as well as the bejeweled ring the crone has left to her. Tess soon after finds herself on a journey to the West Indies with her adoptive parents. Worse, her adoptive father arranges for her betrothal to the man she witnessed murder the crone. But Tess also finds herself falling in love with a young sailor who was pressed into service on the ship along with his father. All these characters are in for the adventure of their lives, as is soon revealed when the ship is attacked by a pirate ship. Without going into the plot further, a great deal of action, high seas adventures, some magic, and a couple twists of fate make "Quintspinner" a novel never to be forgotten and even to be read and enjoyed again and again. Early on, Tess knows there are five spinner rings, but at the end of the novel, she only has three-a sure sign that a sequel is coming, and I can't wait to read it. To me, "Quintspinner" is the quintessential pirate adventure novel. It reminded me of "Treasure Island," but it was much more fast-paced and interesting than that somewhat boring book, and it reminded me of "Pirates of the Caribbean" for its action and magic, but without the quirky and somewhat stupid characterizations of those films. Like a good adventure movie-and this book would make an excellent film-we move from scene to scene, fluctuating between two storylines that soon come together. The settings in London, on the high seas, and in the West Indies create great visual scenes as a backdrop for a tale of love, adventure, secrets, and magic. I hope the epic Disney film version is not far off. What I most appreciated about "Quintspinner" was the powerful, effective writing. The book is Dianne Greenlay's first published novel, but I suspect she has been working at her craft for quite some time. She knows how to write crisp, tight dialogue, effective scenes, and short chapters that keep the plot moving, keep the action going, and keep the reader interested. More than a writer, she is a true novelist for how she masterfully handles all the elements that make good fiction. If you love a great adventure novel, put "Quintspinner" at the top of your list. You won't be disappointed. - Tyler R. Tichelaar, Ph.D. and author of the award-winning "Narrow Lives"
qarae More than 1 year ago
In the first of what appears to be a series, Dianne Greenlay's "Quintspinner A Pirate's Quest" is a fantastic historical-fiction adventure, with a hint of fantasy thrown in. This newbie author has created a wonderfully entertaining page turner filled with dark magical lore, murder, pirates and romance. From the first page the reader is drawn into the tapestry of destiny that is being spun; each thread a fully developed and relatable character or event that influences Tess Willoughby's once ordinary life. A naïve teen from the outset of the story, Tess's dull life changes drastically from the moment she encounters an old crone and her mysterious spinning ring. Dianne Greenlay has accurately and tangibly captured 18th century activities, portraying the difficulties of daily life in such a way that astounds the reader while simultaneously drawing the reader even deeper into the adventure. From medical practices involving mercury to the pressing of children into service for the navy as 'powder monkeys', these activities seem so barbaric that it could easily disconnect the modern reader from the experience. But Dianne Greenlay is able to maintain the tether connecting the reader to the story through the use of colorfully descriptive context, bits of commonly known historical references and communicative dialogue between an informed character and an uninformed character, thus educating the reader. While the edition I read had multiple technical errors in the type (I am unsure if this problem resides with the editor or the publisher, not knowing the process that manuscripts go follow), none of it detracted from the experience. One feature that I found I very much appreciated was the short chapters. After reading some fantasy novels where chapters contain dozens of pages, the brevity of each of Dianne Greenlay's chapters made this novel easier to pick up and read during a spare minute or two. A fast paced first installment into what looks to be an exciting series, Dianne Greenlay's entrance into the literary world offers a fast and furious ride from the first page to the last. I eagerly await the sequels!
AnnHauer More than 1 year ago
Wow- here is a fiction novel that has it all: Murder, Mystery, Suspense, Action, Fantasy and a bit of magic thrown in to make it a very engaging read! For me, the story took on a 'life' of its own as it seamlessly and vividly played out in my mind while reading. The action on the seas is amazing, and does not leave for a dull moment. For a tale that involves more than one storyline, this was superbly completed to weave the events together. I am very anxious for the next two books as I have been told by the author that she plans to make this a trilogy. I am so excited to go back on this journey! I felt my emotions go for the ride with Tess and Cassie. The fear of being attacked and witnessing the murder of an innocent, the frustration with the doctor, her brother and the fiancé, the shock at learning secrets, the awe of the magical 'spinner' rings and the joy in finding love with her soul mate. To think of being attacked by a stranger while going to the marketplace and being confronted with someone that others avoid because of who they are. Tess and Cassie are traumatized when they go for supplies and attempt to hurry back home. In the craziness of the aftermath of the attack, Tess learns that she is a 'Quintspinner' from the local 'crone', a woman her father forbids her to see. The girls witness an attack on the eccentric woman and fight back to help her. It is when the attackers flee, that Tess acquires the first of five 'spinner' rings and brief, but incomplete instructions on its use. It is most tragic when her father refuses to believe that the girls are telling the truth over the ordeal and then decides to uproot them from their home in London to Port Royal. We also learn the tale of another, William, as his course crosses paths with Tess. A young man taken against his will and who looses his family in one swift blow to serve on a Navel ship. His father is missing, his brother is found dead and his mother and sister have no idea what has occurred. Yet there is nothing to do but live or die on the ship. William desires to live in hopes of returning home.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Jules-OneBookShy More than 1 year ago
I thought this was a fun and very entertaining book. It takes the reader from adventure to next, exciting adventure. The author created interesting characters that keep you interested in them and rooting for their success. We have the evil villain, the doctor, two headstrong young ladies, a farmer and his stubborn son, a wise old granny, and LOTS of Pirates! There are also several others including Gerta, whom I became especially fond of. The plot was well thought out and I enjoyed the various locales we were taken to during the course of the story. It is obvious that Ms. Greenlay did a lot of research on the ships and the various terminology that goes along with them. This attention to detail adds to the charm of this story. Her medical background also shows in the writing of scenes between the doctor and the main character Tess while they are tending to various wounds and ailments. Legend and mentions of the mysteries of the title "spinner rings" are weaved throughout this story. I wanted to learn more about them. While this book had a great ending, I think the author left room to continue with the storyline. I am really hoping there will be a second book as this has the beginnings of a really good series.