Robin Hobb returns to the sea with Mad Ship
, the second book in a projected trilogy set in the same world as her famed Farseer
series. Many unresolved questions from Ship of Magic
are answered in this tale of sea serpents and dragons; living ships made of wizardwood; the Bingtown Trader families who sail the ships; and their disfigured cousins, the Rain Wild Traders, who build them.
The Vestritt family's liveship, Vivacia, has been taken by Kennit, an ambitious pirate. Captain Haven is a prisoner; his son Wintrow, who bears the Vestritt blood, finds himself competing with Kennit for Vivacia's love as she becomes a pirate ship. Althea Vestritt, in training to become Vivacia's captain, arrives home to discover her beloved ship lost. Brashen Trell, her old friend and shipmate, proposes that they sail to Vivacia's rescue in the liveship Paragon, who has lost two previous crews and is believed mad. Malta, Althea's niece, seeks help from her suitor, the Rain Wild Trader Reyn, whose family is the Vestritt's major creditor. Meanwhile, the sea serpents who follow sailing ships struggle to remember their history and return to their place of transformation.
Each volume in this series is a major undertaking, but those who enjoy original, epic fantasy, characters who grow and change believably, and fine writing will not want to miss The Liveship Traders. --Nona Vero
From Publishers Weekly
The second book (after Ship of Magic) in Hobbs's Liveship Traders trilogy solidifies the series's promise as a major work of high fantasy, reading like a cross between Tolkein and Patrick O'Brian. Protagonist Althea Vestrit is neither unrealistically beautiful nor mindlessly dauntless. She is a very human character who has her share of doubts as she undertakes to assemble a motley crew of allies (including her former lover, Brashen Trell) to take the blind, insane liveship Paragone to sea in search of the Vestrit family's liveship Vivacia. Meanwhile, Vivacia is enjoying a prosperous career as the flagship of pirate Captain Kennit. In spite of his peg leg, Kennit is a charismatic leader, with a genius for manipulation that his mistress Etta and his prisoner Wintrow Vestrit (Althea's nephew) seem ready to mistake for virtue. And in Bingtown, Wintrow's bratty sister, Malta, finally starts growing up when her family and town face ruin and she must take refuge in the Rain Wild forests. This second installment in the trilogy reveals the connections among liveships, the wizardwood used to build them, the sea serpents and the legendary Rain dragons. Apart from an overly long subplot concerning the feckless young Satrap, the novel is tightly written, with few passages not devoted to characterization, world building or action. Again, Hobb gives high fantasy a salty nautical spin that will please a great many readers. (Apr.) FYI: Robin Hobb is a pseudonym for Megan Lindholm.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.