The Bone Ships v Paracelsus

Book: The Bone Ships
Author: RJ Barker
Publisher: Orbit
Published: 2019

RJ Barker’s second trilogy opens with the POV character sat on an out of the way island drinking himself into oblivion. He’s nominally the captain of a ‘Black ship’ but only because the rest of the crew found it amusing to name him so. His authority is less than nothing. The crews of Black Ships are after all criminals who’ve received the death sentence. Their ‘service’ on these particular Bone ships is the only way to put off the moment they actually meet the Hag.

Then out of legend walks Lucky Meas, one of the most famous ship mother’s to have ever walked the deck of a Bone ship. She challenges the down-on-his-luck Joron Twyner for command of the ship, winning it handily, but offering him the chance to earn back his dignity as her right hand man.

What then follows is a beautifully told tale of redemption, and refusal to allow a cruel world to prevent the right thing from being done. Because momentous events are unfolding, the first Arakeesian has been sighted in living memory, and it’s from their bones that the eponymous Bone Ships are built. Thus the question of who will claim it arises, or whether it should be claimed at all.

If you like swashbuckling piratey fun then this book has that in abundance. If you like weird and wonderful fantasy creatures, it has that too. And if you enjoy immersing yourself in unique fantasy cultures then why have you not started it already?


Beer: Paracelsus
Brewery: Stiegl
Style: Bio-Zwickl (Organic Lager)
Strength: 5.2%

Quite a sour taste to it. Not unpleasant but not a favourite.

Looks wise it’s quite off-putting. Sort of a muddy brown, bilgewater look.

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