"It was a slender length of rusted steel, tapered to a point at one end and jagged at the other, as if it had broken. A thousand people would step over it and think it trash, but not her.
This was the tip of a rapier.
Sixteen-year-old Jill has fought in dozens of fencing tournaments, but she has never held a sharpened blade. When she finds a corroded sword piece on a Caribbean beach, she is instantly intrigued and pockets it as her own personal treasure.
The broken tip holds secrets, though, and it transports Jill through time to the deck of a pirate ship. Stranded in the past and surrounded by strangers, she is forced to sign on as crew. But a pirate's life is bloody and brief, and as Jill learns about the dark magic that brought her there, she forms a desperate scheme to get home—one that risks everything in a duel to the death with a villainous pirate captain."
Jill is on vacation with her family when she stumbles upon a portion of a rusted sword. A sword that transports her back in time, plunking her in the middle of a pirate ship; complete with a fearsome crew and many "argh"s. The scenes and characters tend to follow typical pirate lore; however, Vaughn boldly places strong females in the alpha roles; a refreshing change to the traditional pirate social hierachy.
I adored the characters, especially Captain Marjory Cooper and Henry. Why wasn't there a tad more romance to this novel? This is really my only beef. The characters were well done and accessible. The setting was gorgeous and I could literally taste the ocean salt. The action scenes were believable and entertaining. A lot of heart and soul went into the writing. I just really felt like the Jill-Henry dynamic should have been explored more. Then again, I have a tendency to be a sap and not so secretly want a pirate of my own ;p.
Steel is definitely worth a read. Transport yourself back to times on the high seas just with the flip of a cover!
You can read the first chapter on Vaughn's page.