Set the Seas on Fire
by Chris Roberson
Review by Bill Lawhorn
Solaris Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9781844164882
Date: 31 July 2007 List Price $15.00 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
Young men crave adventure and Lieutenant Hieronymus Bonaventure is no different. Sailing on the HMS Fortitude in the South Pacific, Bonaventure plays his part in the Napoleonic wars. A chance encounter with a heavily loaded Spanish Galleon leads to an inconclusive sea battle. Heavily damaged by storm and battle the Fortitude makes for unknown territory and a chance for survival.
The Fortitude is too damaged to continue and makes for land. As they sail south they find a small boat with a pair of Spanish survivors. On a small uncharted island they find a group of natives. The captain and crew work to repair their ship. The friendly natives have a strange language and beliefs. Bonaventure befriends a native girl who is more than she seems.
One of the Spanish survivors dies, but the other has a strange story to tell of the fate of the Spanish galleon. The Fortitude's captain is focused solely on capturing the treasure he thought he had lost. But the strange tale leaves Bonaventure nervous. The island that the Spanish found is the resting place of an old god. Most that go to the island go mad and are lost. The Captain is not swayed by anyone's fears and plans to make for the treasure.
Bonaventure must use all the knowledge he has gained at sea and as a youth to survive. He has found love and now must leave; duty must always come first in the Royal Navy. Journey to the depths of adventure with Bonaventure and the crew of HMS Fortitude.
A solid read that shifts between Bonaventure's past and present so the reader can see what made the man that lives the adventure. This is a book that fans of the high seas and the occult can enjoy. Hieronymus is a member of the Bonaventure clan that has been the focal point of several previous works by Roberson. I have not read the earlier works but was able to follow this story fairly easily. At some point I may read the earlier tales to see if it changes my perspective on this book.
The reader copy came in at just over 300 pages, but was a very quick read. The glossary at the end will be of use to reader who is not familiar with all of the naval terminology used. Roberson does a nice job of mixing fantasy and reality to describe the path that our hero must follow.