Teen fencing champ, Elizabeth Latimer, is a girl of her times. Armed with the latest palm computer, she leaps into an oceanic vortex in pursuit of Daniel, an oh-so-awesome pirate. He knows the whereabouts of her missing marine archaeologist mom, but instead of reuniting them, he leads her into an impossible mission—to help the pirate Calico Jack Rackham rescue his girlfriend Anne Bonny. Anne is being held captive by the Governor of the Bahamas. Elizabeth is identical in looks to Anne, and when she emerges from the vortex onto Rackham’s boat and tells him she’s his descendant from the 21st century, he roars “witch!” In a world where men solve their problems by running a foot of steel into their enemies’ guts, Elizabeth has only two weapons at her disposal—her fencing skill and her palm-sized computer with which she stays in touch with her sister Lulu. But the Universe has its rules—and she is tied by two of them. Number one, she can’t reveal modern technology to the pirates. Number two, she can’t kill anyone. If she breaks either of these rules, she’ll change history and alter the future. Worst case scenario? Liz and her family will cease to exist!
Fight Like A Champion, Not Like A Wench!
Elizabeth Latimer was a pirate hunter. She wasn’t always a pirate hunter. But even before she hunted pirates, she was a freakishly awesome fencer. She was also an expert scuba diver and a seasoned catboat sailor. She spoke four languages: English, French, Chinese and Spanish, and she had an uncanny telepathy with animals.
Her best friends were her fourteen-year-old sister, Lulu, who just happened to be a computer brainiac, and a talking parrot named CJ, which was short for Calico Jack. Her mom was the famous Tess Rackham, adventurer and treasure hunter bar none. Tess dug out pirate shipwrecks, salvaged cargoes and hocked the most valuable stuff to collectors. Four years ago, she was a prof at the University of Victoria where she researched sunken ships and taught a course called the Archaeology of Piracy. But then her husband, John Latimer, died. He was a fanatic of pirate history, a builder of model pirate ships and a sailing pro. He was also Elizabeth’s dad. He drowned in a sailing accident and Elizabeth never went sailing again.
Elizabeth had no choice but to become a pirate hunter because Elizabeth, or Liz, as she preferred to be called, had the curse of pirates in her blood. But, in the twenty-first century, who, in their right mind, wanted to be a pirate hunter? Her supreme formula for life was to be an economics/commerce major and work in a bank when she finished school. She would then marry a lawyer and have a grand ordinary life, extraordinaire. It would be a life where parrots didn’t cuss and fourteen-year-old sisters didn’t hack into their school’s computers, where moms didn’t hunt treasure and dads didn’t drown while sailing. And animals couldn’t read her mind.
But the day her dad died—four years ago—Liz knew the pirate curse was there to stay. So, she had to do something to remind herself of why John Latimer died. She painted one nail, her lefthand thumb, and she painted it blood red. In the centre of her thumbnail, on the bloody background, she drew a skull and crossbones in black ink. Liz knew that what had consumed her parents might, one day, consume her, too. And crying great big cartoon tears wouldn’t change a thing. It was only a matter of time . . . That time came, on a cool spring morning, around seven a.m., when Elizabeth Latimer entered the University of Victoria’s gymnasium door.
On the fencing piste, Liz’s opponent was waiting for her, strutting his stuff. He had a cool, cocky attitude, a lean, powerful build and the spin-worthiness of a dancer.
Liz drew on her protective glove with its white gauntlet and tested her sword hand’s grip. She waltzed onto the fencing piste and rolled her eyes. In answer, her opponent flexed his foil as though it were a cutlass. She snorted. Who did he think he was? Captain Jack Sparrow? Unlike her, he already wore his face mask. He wasn’t supposed to wear his mask until they were both in the start position. They hadn’t yet begun the bout and already he was BTR.
Well, if he wanted to break the rules, she would teach him some. She fastened her mask to the protective bib at her throat. She plugged the body wires attached to her form-fitting lamé jacket into the spools connected to the electronic scoring box and indicated for him to do the same. He hesitated for a second. She waited, then raised her hands in a ‘What gives?’ gesture.
They had no referee. Laura Baeker, the fencing coach, wasn’t due to arrive for another half-hour. He was required to hook himself up. Without a ref, it was the only way to keep score.
“What’s the matter?” she said, irritably. “Plug yourself in.”
He looked down at the complex set of wires attached to the special conducting cloth that made up his jacket, then turned his eyes to her. His expression was concealed behind the mask.
She rolled her eyes, reiterated, “You got a problem?”
He shook his head, mimed her act of plugging in the wires, then stood back.
Elizabeth tested the equipment against her lamé jacket which conducted the electronic signals. Lights flashed from ‘the box’ and she set the scoreboard to zero. She retreated to her en-guarde line and watched her opponent find his.
Okay, mystery boy. Let’s see what you’ve got. She saluted him and he returned the gesture. She raised her foil and waited for the electronic voice to shout “Play!” She glared at him through her mask. He was tall and limber and deflected her blows with the sass of Captain Jack.
The floor of the narrow fencing piste pounded with the shuffling of their feet. He lunged and she parried, feeling the sting of his foil. His dizzying footwork was priceless. Where had he learned footwork like that? He had superior balance, speed and athleticism. The way he accelerated, decelerated and switched directions had her dancing at a cataclysmic pace.
They fenced for three minutes, then some lights flashed from the box and the electronic ref shouted “Halt.” The points sprang onto the monitor. Liz ground her teeth, stamped her foot in disappointment and returned to her en-guarde line. “Play!” the electronic ref shouted.
The early morning sun shot through the gym windows, blinding her for a second. She blinked, lunged. Somewhere in the bleachers a voice shrieked—
Deborah Cannon was born in Vancouver, British Columbia. She is the author of five short stories and four novels. Her archaeology conspiracy thrillers are mentioned in a recent study on popular culture alongside treasure hunters Indiana Jones and Lara Croft, and praised by award-winning author T.J. MacGregor.