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Wednesday, January 4, 2012

A Seaworthy Tale: Astreya II, The Men of the Sea

I've mentioned before how I might be biased because I ushered the Astreya Trilogy through the entire publication process. I've changed my mind. These are objectively enjoyable tales, each one with its own enchanting personality.

If you're skeptical of sequels, I should point out that Astreya, Book II: The Men of the Sea is in reality a continuation of the story and Book I is not complete without Books II and III. The story picks up minutes after where The Voyage South leaves off, when Astreya is faced with a decision to resist his kidnappers, who turn out to be his only blood relatives, or to willingly learn about them, their astounding technology and skills, and the legacy of the Wanderer's Curse. Astreya's burgeoning romance with Lindey seems to hang in the balance, as he is never sure whether she can forgive him, no matter what decision he makes. Or whether he will ever see her again.

In The Men of the Sea, we meet an entire cast of new characters even while we keep pace with our old friends from Book I. The new characters are nearly all pirates, but not the type gleaned from certain theme park rides. These pirates have real motivations and fears. The leader is an intriguing psychological study in frustration, while the likes of Adramin, Mirak, and Mufrid you'll love to hate. The story moves through water and time at a swift pace, bringing unpredictable adventures at every turn. No matter what you look for in a good story, you can't help being thrilled at the battle at sea. That would seem to be the climax -- but no! Even more secrets are revealed and quests undertaken! You'll dread the end of this book, but you can still take comfort in the knowledge that Book III, The Wanderer's Curse, is coming soon.

The Men of the Sea is perfect for readers who already have their sea legs and love the Age of Sail, but the lubbers out there will love this book at least as much as Astreya I, possibly more.