It’s the Golden Age of Piracy – a time when greed, ambition and corruption overcome all loyalties – and a brash young captain, Edward Kenway, is making his name known for being one of the greatest pirates of his day.
In the brilliant new novel, Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag, discover the story of how Edward, a young privateer, became one of the world’s most deadly pirates and was drawn into the centuries-old battle between the Templars and the Assassins.
Author: Oliver Bowden
Release Date: 01/11/2013
My Rating of ‘Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag’: 5 out of 5
My Chosen Format: Paperback
I am a huge Assassin’s Creed fan. It’s literally my favourite thing in the gaming world. I love everything about it and think it’s a genius idea and hope it goes on forever (if not in games then in books, film, tv or some format). I own all of the novels (I’ll get round to reading them … so little time) and was sorely let down by the first one I read (Renaissance). It got a very generous two stars from me in that review. So, it was with very low hopes that I picked up Black Flag.
The first chapter was enough to make me realise I could give it five stars then and there. It is told in first person narrative, is laced with humour and seriousness and swashbuckling action AND it doesn’t read like a videogame walkthrough/transcript (which is what made Renaissance so poor, in my opinion).
I will struggle to put into words how much I enjoyed Black Flag, especially when compared to Renaissance (I know, the whole point of a review is to put into words how much I enjoyed it, but it was that good I just might struggle).
Edward Kenway is the perfect protagonist for Black Flag. He’s a rogue of sorts as he’s kind of on the edge of the whole Assassin brotherhood (he has the gifts but none of the respect or desire of the assassins) yet still wants to fight the Templars due to their crimes against both he and his family.
In the game, you start off as a half-drowned Kenway, washed up on an Island with nought but the shirt on your back and the breath in your lungs. The book, however, starts off with Kenway as a lad back in England, living with his family and trying to earn his keep as a merchant for his father’s wares. You fast learn that Kenway is a troubled lad who enjoys drinking more than he enjoys most else. His personal choices send his life off into unforeseeable directions that lead us into this wonderful tale of piracy, romance, heartbreak, sorrow and revenge. This is why, in my opinion the book is better than the game. You get to know Edward as a person and you feel his pain and sorrow.
The cast of characters are wonderful. As with all Assassin’s Creed books/games the cast are real people from history. As much as this series is made for entertainment, it’s also a good tool to get a bit of learning into people. We have everyone from Stede Bonett to Blackbeard, from Woodes Rogers to Calico Jack and Anne Bonny. Quite literally everyone who made the ‘Golden Age of Piracy’ so golden.
I know a lot of people out there who aren’t big on video games tend not to read novel adaptions of videogames. Totally understandable. I would, however, implore anyone who wants to read a piracy-based novel (even if they hate videogame adaptations) to try Black Flag. Unless you know Black Flag is based on a game, you honestly wouldn’t be able to tell from the book. It’s one of my favourite pirate novels and right up there with one of my favourite historical fiction novels.
You also don’t have to have read any other Assassin’s Creed novel. This is a standalone book that can be enjoyed without any knowledge of the franchise.