Following in the wake of his award-winning Scimitar Moon, (2009 ForeWord Sci-Fi/Fantasy Book of the Year), author Chris A. Jackson offers up a new Scimitar Seas tale in the rousing Scimitar Sun. This latest novel continues the adventures of Cynthia Flaxal, the Seamage of the Shattered Isles, and makes one wonder if Scimitar Sun is a sequel, or if Scimitar Moon is more accurately a prequel to the real adventures Mr. Jackson has in store for his readers. In Scimitar Sun, Mr. Jackson takes that timeworn catchphrase "just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water," breathes new life into it, and proves quite handily that it's not only big sharks one has to watch out for.
Life in the Shattered Isles is good for Cynthia Flaxal. She has found love and purpose, and holds great hope for that same peaceful life for her unborn child. The shipyard and docks are flourishing, and the seas are at last safe from the predations of Captain Bloodwind, legendary pirate and scourge of the Scimitar Seas. But the unfounded fears of the empire, the vengeful ire of merfolk, and the boundless greed of pirates set into motion events that threaten to plunge the Shattered Isles into chaos and shatter the tranquility in Cynthia's life. As much as she might wish otherwise, Cynthia finds herself drawn into the unrest as surely as a riptide can pull even the strongest swimmer to a watery grave. Even more factors complicate Cynthia's situation--that matter of a volcano and an untried pyromage, for instance. But, dear readers, perhaps I should keep some secrets and allow you to set sail on your own voyage of discovery.
The unique world Mr. Jackson presents for our reading pleasure may bear some slight resemblance to a mature and carefully blended mixture of "Pirates of the Caribbean" and "Harry Potter", with a dash of old Errol Flynn movies tossed in for good measure. But make no mistake; the story, setting, and characters are as fresh and dynamic as any fantasy creations on the market today, and the author's judicious balance of drama and humor lends variety. If there is one bit of caution I might forward, it might be "Landlubbers beware!" for Mr. Jackson is no stranger to sailing, and this clearly shows in the vocabulary of his work. If one is uncomfortable with nautical terminology, be sure to keep a dictionary handy. That being said, one shouldn't consider this a flaw in the writing, but rather part of its charm. The language throughout doesn't detract from the novel's appeal; instead, it adds layers of accuracy, credibility, and realism.
If Scimitar Sun is your first exposure to Mr. Jackson's writing, he will not disappoint. Likewise, returning fans will also find good reason to applaud. Over several years, I have come to trust this author's sense of pace and to expect vivid descriptions and delightful characters, while often wondering when these talents would fail him. After all the pirates, magic, merfolk, swashbuckling, sprites, warships, and intrigue of Scimitar Sun, Mr. Jackson leaves me to happily consider the possibility he will never fail to deliver. Though this voyage has ended, I find myself looking forward to joining him yet again on whatever further adventures he decides to share with us.