cover image Call of the Bone Ships

Call of the Bone Ships

R.J. Barker. Orbit, $16.99 trade paper (512p) ISBN 978-0-356-51184-9

The second ripping yarn in Barker’s Tide Child series returns to the watery world established in The Bone Ships, where metal is rare and the skeletons of arakeesian sea dragons provide the only material strong enough to build large battleships. Resourceful captain Meas Gilbryn’s obsession with ending the Hundred Isles’ futile war with the Gaunt Isles has been stalled by the reappearance of arakeesian dragons, previously believed to be extinct. Her attention is further diverted when she discovers that agents of her mother’s Hundred Isles government are abducting shiploads of people at a time for an unknown purpose, including the entire population of the rebel colony of Safeharbour. While Maes charts a rescue mission aboard her ship the Tide Child, fist mate Joron Twiner continues to struggle toward self-acceptance while working to understand his mysterious connection to the Windseer, an entity with the power to control the wind. Barker successfully develops these fascinating personal concerns while unravelling the dark purpose of the mass kidnappings. Awe-inspiring set pieces, including a gigantic sea dragon rising out of an island’s shattered fragments, will especially delight fantasy fans. Series readers will be pleased. Agent: Ed Wilson, Johnson and Alcock Literary (U.K.). (Nov.)