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Publisher: Solaris
Release Date: 2007

1808. While Europe burns and the Napoleonic Wars set the world aflame, the HMS Fortitude patrols the sea lanes of the South Pacific, harrying the enemies of the British Crown. The Fortitude’s captain has set his sights on a Spanish galleon weighted down with a fortune in gold and spices, but Lieutenant Hieronymus Bonaventure thinks the prize not worth the risk.

When the ship is smashed by storms and driven far into unknown seas, the galleon and her treasure lost in the tempest, Bonaventure and the rest of the Fortitude’s crew find themselves aground on an island in uncharted waters. They soon discover that beneath the island’s veneer of beauty lurks a dark secret: an ancient evil buried at the living heart of a volcano.

Sample Chapters available online.


When the HMS Fortitude suffers damage after attacking a Spanish galleon in the South Pacific, the Captain elects to head south into uncharted waters in search of habitable land. They come across paradise in the form of an island inhabited by hospitable natives, but not before locating the survivors of the Spanish galleon who tell a horrific tale of another island further south inhabited by monsters. First Lieutenant Heironymus Bonaventure has always sought a life of adventure, and his dreams and nightmares are fulfilled in the south seas. He falls in love with a native woman, and then faces the demons of the southern island as the Fortitude leaves in search of the Spanish gold hidden there. Bonaventure, wry and humorous, is an engaging character, torn between his love for the islander and his duty to the flag. The novel is an informed discourse on navy life circa 1800, swordsmanship and the relative qualities of Christianity and island deism. For much of its length it's a slow-burning historical novel, with dark undertones, which towards the end suddenly bursts into understated though effective horror.
Eric Brown, The Guardian

Set the Seas on Fire is a thoughtful but rip-roaring adventure, combining Hornblower and Lovecraft with a subtlety certainly not seen in the ‘New Weird’ or other naval stories. The other writing of Roberson’s that I have read has left me astounded at his control of silences and muted responses amidst terrifying situations, and Set the Seas on Fire is certainly in that class. I cannot recommend this book too highly as an intelligent, readable novel.
Iain Emsley, Interzone

The realistic detail in setting and character makes it all the easier to suspend disbelief once the supernatural elements start showing up; you really care what happens to these people, which is quite a feat. So if you like fast-paced adventure stories that don't sacrifice characters on the altar of plot, then you really should be reading Chris Roberson.
Peggy Hailey, RevolutionSF


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