At the start of Imperial Renegade Captain Richard Owen is awarded a medal and a charge. He is to deliver the King's most trusted customs officer, Mr. Lloyd to the Massachusetts colony and later return him to England (once his business there, whatever this may be, is done). This is supposed to be easy duty as reward for his recent service to the crown, but early into the trip all goes wrong when a nervous Mr. Lloyd murders two of the crew members in what he believes is self defense. They have been extremely hostile towards him for some unknown reason and he overheard talk of murder linked to his name. Now Captain Owen has to decide if he should hang the murderous Mr. Lloyd or deliver him as instructed. He chooses to hang him (apparently by the rules) and this is where the story goes wrong for me. This decision is made far too easily and it seems like a really dumb decision which indeed it turns out to be. Why does he not simply jail the man and deliver him in leg irons if necessary, but deliver him as he has been instructed by the King? I strongly feel that if he is to take this decision it has to be absolutely necessary, no way around it - the ship on the verge of mutiny or something. Otherwise when he is sentenced to hang by a Colonel Paxton upon arriving in Boston for not seeing to his duty and killing the man he was to deliver, I have no sympathy for him. He should absolutely expect this.
It took me a long while to get over this and try to enjoy the next part of the story (the mayhem that is Boston is nicely drawn) but I never fully recovered from it and never became fully engaged with the character of Owen. I guessed he would wind up taking part in the American rebellion that is playing out in Boston at the moment of his arrival and this is a nifty concept, but he does not take part until page 92 when the movie is almost over. Most of the space in between is taken up with chase scenes.
The story could be further strengthened if Owen were to become wooed toward the Colonists concerns rather than have no choice but to fight on their side due to his own concerns. I did not see the character grow and change in any way. Shaw was a more compelling character to me, but I did not understand his commitment to Owen. Perhaps if it were his advice Owen were following when he made his fatal mistake, but the opposite was true.
Love the Black ship's captain/pirate ship at the ending, (a former slave ship, I'm guessing?) but his intention in returning to England is not clear.
Also if the concept of the pressed crew were made clear at the beginning (perhaps through a conversation) it would be something to play with toward a reason of why the crew is harassing Lloyd and so hard to control. As it stands Goodlander goes from carrying Lloyd's bags graciously in one scene to wanting to throw him overboard the next. I guessed he might have been pressed into service, but this was not made clear until near the end.
I think this has real potential with some work on story and character to be done.
Review of: Imperial Renegade: The Siege of Boston
reviewed by Captiva on 09/04/2011
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