D. Wallace Peach is, to me, the master of world creation. In The Ferryman and the Sea Witch she blends a romping nautical adventure with a population of beautiful and deadly Merrows (think mer-people on steroids) and various greedy, powerful rulers and just plain nasty characters against a vivid backdrop that transports you to the vastness and beauty of the sea with her gorgeous descriptions.
The story: The officers on a ship from the country of Brid Clarion captured a Merrow, the Sea Witch Panmar’s daughter, in a net. Out of the water, she is dying. Callum, the ferryman, demands his captain to free her but is refused. In retaliation for her death, Panmar rips the ship and sinks it into the Deep. Callum survives because he tried to save her daughter, and Panmar allows him to be the only one to cross the Deep between the countries of Brid Clarion and Haf Killick without being sunk. But there is a punishment: Callum can’t step on land until someone of royal blood in Brid Clarion or Half Killick is sacrificed.
Neither Caspia, the queen of Haf Killick, an artificial island nation, nor Thayne, the king of Brid Killick, are willing to pay royal blood to satisfy Panmar’s vengeance. So Callum keeps sailing, year after year, bringing fruits, vegetables, cloth, and other livelihood items for Haf Killick and bringing back treasure in payment to Brid Clarion. Complicating matters is the fact Caspia has Thayne’s son as a hostage and Thayne has her daughter.
There are plenty of secrets held by the main characters and twists and turns in the story kept me turning pages as fast as I could. Callum’s frustration and anger and growing sense of isolation impart to the reader as does the nasty doings Caspia, Thayne and the fickle Panmar. The Merrows are particularly delightful, at once playful and deadly.
But I also read the author’s books for the gorgeous and lyrical quality of her descriptions. As a sailor myself, I was right at home on Callum’s ship, hearing the slapping of the lines and sails, feeling the rocking with the waves, and smelling the brine of the ocean.
This is a must-read for anyone in love the with sea, the concept of mermaids (Merrows) , and sheer fantasy!
The cover is a winner, too!
About the author from Amazon):
D. Wallace Peach started writing later in life after the kids were grown and a move left her with hours to fill. Years of working in business surrendered to a full-time indulgence in the imaginative world of books, and when she started writing, she was instantly hooked. Diana lives in a log cabin amongst the tall evergreens and emerald moss of Oregon’s rainforest with her husband, two dogs, two owls, a horde of bats, and the occasional family of coyotes.
The author can be found
On twitter: @Dwallacepeach
On her blog: http://mythsofthemirror.com
On her website: dwallacepeachbooks.com
You can find The Ferryman and the Sea Witch on Amazon: