Wednesday, August 28, 2019

In the Deep: Song of the Abyss (Tower of Winds 2) by Makiia Lucier

They came in the night as she dreamt, in her berth, in a ship sailing home to del Mar. Two carracks, painted Scorpion black. No emblem flying to hint at a kingdom of origin.

"Quiet!" Gunnel ordered. She wore her sword. "Up, up, quickly, Reyna!

Sea raiders!

To the sound of sound of soft humming, the crewmen lie still, as if somehow enchanted, while the guttural sound of a vaguely familiar language is heard, ordering the crew of pirates looting the ship. As a map maker, Reyna knows she must save the charts of trading routes, the lifeblood of the kingdom of del Mar. With them safe in a water-tight quiver, she goes overboard and swims through the monster-filled sea until she reaches an island, a land which she recognizes as Lunes, one for which she has learned the language, but still strange and seemingly undergoing a crisis, with no torches or signs of activity, but where she hopes to find a del Marian trading ship to take her home.

As the rising sun shows her a landing, she sees the dark figure of a young man slumped, as if in grief.
In Lunesian, in a voice that rolled deep and pleasant in the dark, "Between the two of us, I wonder who's had the worst night of it!"

He tells her that he is Levi, a son of the King who has just died.

Reyna vanishes into the dawn, but later, she meets up with him again. He is the second son of the king, and when Reyna's ship is towed into the harbor with its dead, the two of them find themselves assigned the task of finding his older brother and locating the mysterious raiders before they strike again.

With Reyna's navigational knowledge and Levi's knowledge of sailing ships, they sail out from Lunes into the Sea of Magdalen and through the Strait of Cain, with its maelstrom filled with drowned but undead souls, and trace their pirates to the distant land of Miramar, a secretive and xenophobic people with exquisite etiquette and with the barbaric custom of tutto mortise, burying their ruler with his chosen retainers. It is to this land that the mysterious raiders belong, inexplicitly swapping their stolen booty for shiploads of Lunesian clay. In managing to stay alive and discover the unthinkable logic behind the piracy, Reyna and Levi find themselves falling in love.

In her Song of the Abyss (Tower of Winds) (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2019), author Makiia Lucier fashions an compelling fantasy romance within an extravagantly imagined world drawn from the Mediterranean society of the early Enlightenment period. Del Mar resembles Portugal in the days of Henry the Navigator, and Lunes is reminiscent of the Venice of Marco Polo, while Miramar suggest a rigid, ingrown Asian empire. Within this exotic setting, Lucier tells the intrigue-filled story of two strong-minded, star-crossed, but chaste lovers whose love and loyalty grow during their own odyssey through their world. The sequel to Lucier's Isle of Blood and Stone (Tower of Winds), this title sets the roles of the characters for the last book of the trilogy, perfect for knowledgeable young adult readers with promise for those who crave a bit of sophistication, an amalgamation of familiar cultures with fantasy, in their romance novels.

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