by Charlotte Boyett-Compo

March 2000
ISBN: 1-931201-55-2
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This book disturbed me a lot. It is basically the story of Syn-Jorn, most specifically centered on his fate. His romance and marriage to Genny, although secondary to the plot, describes a very deep passion and love. It doesn't start that way, however, as Genny detests Syn-Jorn with a bitter hatred that is unpleasant to read about. The language she uses is coarse and, at times, unnecessary.

What disturbed me mostly about the story are the brutal punishments that seem to me to be the main part of this book. The graphic detail they are described in throughout the story is quite appalling. Granted, it is a fantasy book and should be viewed in that context, but I still found the concentration on the punishments by the author to be detracting from the plotline, that seemed to be rather flimsy, at any rate.

The setting is mostly at sea and the land scenes concentrate little on surroundings so it is difficult to get a picture of the setting. Although it is a bit hard to imagine the various locale, the sailing voyages and the descriptions given of life aboard ship give a picture of a very primitive society.

Genny seems unusual as she seems to be the only female who sails with the crew. She is the Captain Weir Saur's sister, which probably explains why she travels with the crew, while the other men's women do not.

In terms of dialogue, although the story is a fantasy one and can have the luxury of using certain contemporary, as well as historical, idioms, it seemed out of character when Genny used a phrase like 'a silk purse out of a sow's ear'. Genny applied this phrase to describe Syn-Jorn and it seemed inappropriate within the atmosphere of the book.

Unfortunately, I just could not find anything to like in this story. The book is probably well enough written but again I think the emphasis on the brutal punishments make this hard to see. Thus, I can only give it 2 stars.

Reviewed in February 2002 by Mary.

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