I wasn't going to read another indie novel this year, but how could I resist the offer from one of my book club members to read this novel by a local author, especially when she said it was in the same vein as The Chronicles of Narnia.
Ashton, the 8th son of the King of Aeloran, Mathis St Almeric, is searching the islands of the Aethermarinus for the Silvertip Sedge - a plant whose unique properties can save the life of his dying father. Ashton's ship the Aeveste can travel beyond the ether, but it is on a different plane that he kidnaps a crew that will prove their worth and loyalty during their many adventures.
The Avaeste's First Mate Morris - a swamp monster - is one of Ashton's most loyal friends, along with the ship's Engineer (a goblin called Dew) and
Santee (a tiny magical sprite). These four friends learn much about each other and the crew, during their dangerous voyage, and learn that nothing is always what it seems.
All heroes have a nemesis lurking is the background and this comes in the guise of the evil Calegra Camba Descada. Descada and his crew will stop at nothing to get hold of the rare Silvertip Sedge destroying everything and anyone in their path.....
I thought that this was a very imaginative story and I loved the imagery of a sailing ship traveling through the heavens. It didn't take me long to like the characters and the narrative style, and I thought that there were some great chapter headings such as the opening 'The surprising use of blackcurrant juice' and 'The taming of the crew'. There's nothing overtly nasty in the telling of the story, even with regards to the bad guys, which gives a very pleasant feeling to the whole novel.
At over 350 pages it is fairly long for the target audience, but the story develops really well and I think that it will be enjoyed by young and old alike.