If you’ve followed my book reading advice over the last years you have already read The Viper and the Urchin series. If you need another reminder of that recommendation the series starts here: The Bloodless Assassin. Quick, go read those books.
Great, now that you are caught up The Opium Smuggler takes a step back from the series and gives the backstory for Adelma, everyone’s favorite heavy-drinking, ax-wielding smuggler.
If I were to be at all critical of this story it would be to say that it seems that the messages, and even a bit of a moral, is laid out with a heavy hand. And I did feel that way for a bit and then I realized that this book is about Adelma. The woman who does anything she pleases, as she pleases, with two axes to back up her decisions, all while drinking men under the table and running her own smuggling ship. Adelma knows no way of approaching a situation other than head on. There is no subtlety about her (unless she’s sneaking something through customs), no pretense. So why should I be surprised when the same is true of her finding her way earlier in life? So, if this book approaches those life lessons with the heavy hands used to brawl and work, I forgive it. This is Adelma’s story and it wouldn’t ring true any other way.
Would I recommend it? While this book could be read as a stand alone, I think it would be best to read it in conjunction with the rest of the series. However if you have read any of The Viper and The Urchin book and have met Adelma, you will absolutely want to know how she started her smuggling journey and her relationship with Radish!