01/11/2009. Contributed by Vikki Green
pub: Simon & Schuster. 64 page paperback World Book Day Special Edition. Price: currently a few pence if you know where to look (UK). ISBN: 978-1-41693-241-3.
check out website: www.simonsays.co.uk and www.vampirates.co.uk
'Dead Deep' by Justin Somper is a light-hearted short story involving Connor Tempest, Bart and Jez Stukely, three inseparable friends from Captain Molucco Wrathe's ship, The Diablo. They are known as the Three Buccaneers and begin to paint the Callo de Marinero, a floating collection of pubs, restaurants and gambling dens red. Things are going well until they upset a nasty piece of work called Moonshine and enter an arm wrestling contest at The Dirty Dolphin.
The arm wrestling turns out a little differently to their expectations. The arm wrestler turns out to be female and Bart falls hopelessly in love, much to his comrades' disgust. In the meantime, Connor upsets Moonshine and all three get caught up in a chase all the way to the end of the Callo de Marinero when they are rescued by Bart's new friend.
It turns out Kalli has some friends who take the three pirates aboard and take them to Hell's Cove for the swimming and diving. Connor and Jez are both disconcerted by Bart's deepening infatuation with Kalli. Needless to say, the whole trip takes a turn for the dangerous and the three only just survive it.
It is a short story aimed both at those who are already enchanted by the Vampirates universe and want something a little lighter and as a taster for those who have never tried the books. It also serves to introduce a character who becomes one of the darker characters in the later books.
It was a great deal of fun, had some laugh out loud moments and in the light of what happens in the next book gives a glimpse of one of the antagonists before he becomes evil. I read it straight after volume one and thoroughly enjoyed it. If you want a taster of the Vampirates universe and don't want to read one of the main volumes, try this.
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