Wednesday, July 18, 2007
John Berlyne, who previously reviewed Paragaea for SFRevu, has now reviewed Set the Seas on Fire for them as well.
Set The Seas On Fire does not engage the reader in the same way that Paragea did – it is a far more evenly paced work and consequently lacks the unpredictable element of its sequel (not necessarily a criticism, this). That said it admirably provides the very story elements one desires in this kind of novel – not least an exotic tropical island setting that, underneath a veneer of verdant flora and beautiful naked native women, harbours threatening and unfathomable dark spirits that will crush and corrupt the sceptical white man. Bonaventure himself – a paean of empire and empiricism is sorely challenged during his time on the island, his British reserve shattered by experiences both physical and spiritual, but takes a good while for Roberson to throw his fantastical elements into the story – dark and strange things are hinted at obliquely, but we must wait to experience them. This notwithstanding, Set The Seas on Fire adds another very competent and confident story to Roberson's ever-growing, increasingly impressive interconnected cannon – one can expect more from the characters one has met in this novel, and not necessarily in the same kind of setting.