Here be ad­ven­ture

SFX - - Reviews -

re­leased 11 Fe­bru­ary 480 pages | Pa­per­back/ ebook

Au­thor Clif­ford Beale

Pub­lisher So­laris

Mer­per­sons and pi­rates, swash­buck­ling sword- wield­ers and world- shak­ing se­crets kept by a re­li­gious elite. Say what you will about Clif­ford Beale’s new fan­tasy novel, but it has all the el­e­ments that prom­ise a Satur­day morn­ing se­rial- tinged read­ing ex­pe­ri­ence.

Bet­ter still, Beale is a sto­ry­teller who can han­dle plot adeptly enough to cre­ate a hugely com­pelling nar­ra­tive. From the mo­ment thief- turned­monk Ac­quel Galenus takes some­thing he shouldn’t from a sa­cred tomb, Guns Of Ivrea gal­lops along. Or per­haps sails along might be a bet­ter anal­ogy, con­sid­er­ing how much of the story re­volves around cor­sair princeling Ni­colo Danamis, a lazy young man who gets a harsh les­son in the need to pay at­ten­tion to what un­scrupu­lous un­der­lings might be do­ing.

It’s all ter­rific fun, although the pub­lish­ers’ com­par­isons with Ge­orge RR Martin and Mas­ter And Com­man­der au­thor Pa­trick O’Brian are a lit­tle over­cooked; as yet, Beale’s fic­tion doesn’t have this the­matic depth. None­the­less, with plenty of plot threads left at best only loosely re­solved and hints at dark de­vel­op­ments ahead, we’re look­ing for­ward to shout­ing, “Ahoy there!” to the se­quel. Jonathan Wright

For­merly ed- in- chief of Jane’s De­fence Weekly, Clif­ford Beale is trained in 17th- cen­tury- style rapier com­bat.

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