This book is full of interesting political intrigue!!!!!! I am 16 years old, and I think politics is boring and stupid, but Sea Without a Shore's old-world-ish politics were fresh, interesting, realistic, and altogether entertaining. The way Russel integrates the old legends of mage lore into the Moontide and Magic Rise series is great because it is very believable, and interesting as you follow the characters, on either side of the Farr court, discovering more and more about the legendary mages. Tristam's part in the book is being the modest hero, whom everything seems to happen to because he is special, no doubt. Russel accomplishes much with the long dialogue of the characters and their subtle movements. Never a dull moment, enough intelligent conversations intertwine with exciting action. In this book, the Swallow finally reaches Varia, a seeming tropical paradise that provides ample culture, tradition, natives, and mysterious places for much adventure into the unknown. The Dutchess is always a source of mystery, her strong yet vulnerable character revealed yet never fully understood. The characters made this book, as does the great ending that involves most of the main characters. A must-read! I can't wait to read their predecessors, the river into darkness series!