Banned from the sea by a vindictive master pilot and cast out of Crosspointe’s Pilot Guild, Thorn believes his life is over–until he’s conscripted to serve aboard the rogue ship Eidolon, which is pitch black, a shadow in the night, and sails with an unknown purpose.
Thorn finds himself pilot to a mutinous, wreck-cursed crew, taking orders from an insane captain, and battling not only the terrifying magic of the sea, but also a traitor to whatever secret mission the Eidolon serves. The saboteur is desperate to stop the black ship from making port even if that means killing every soul aboard.
Certain his kidnapping and duty on the black ship is no coincidence, Thorn must find a way to survive long enough to get the answers he needs. Who destroyed his life? And why?
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About the Book
The Black Ship
by Diana Pharaoh Francis
Crosspointe Book Two
Bell Bridge Books
October 7, 2014
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This book exceeds all expectations, existing as both an incredible standalone novel and a thrilling sequel to The Cipher. Anyone who enjoys classic fantasy, well thought out worlds, seafaring adventures, political fantasy or just great characterisation should read The Black Ship.
Thorn is a well-developed, sympathetic, interesting and believable hero. The interactions between Thorn and Plusby were great fun to read, and it’s a testament to Diana Pharaoh Francis’ skill as a writer that it’s possible to sympathise with both characters when they fight each other.
Thorn and Plusby were alike in that their backstories are both heart wrenching and woven seamlessly into the book. The trials they have faced have made them into the men they are, and the trials they go through in The Black ship continue to mould their choices, relationships and character in a way that is incredibly interesting to read.
The crew of the Eidolon were numerous, and at times it is difficult to remember which of the charmers has which role on the ship. This may also be because the book is compelling enough that it’s impossible to slow down while reading it, there are certainly enough quirks given to the charmers to differentiate them.
Savaiu and her people were an interesting addition to the book, furthering the world of the Crosspointe Chronicles with the demonstration of their culture and hinting at plot points to come. A returning character’s reaction to them likewise brought home the unconventional nature of Thorn’s actions.
The world of Crosspointe was already an intriguing, well thought out one; but The Black ship drives that to new heights with further details of the magic, religious and political systems of the world. Previous characters reappear, but never take the focus off the characters you come to know and love in this novel.
The action in The Black ship is never drawn out, anytime a threat is identified, the characters pull together to solve it, usually creating or uncovering an even bigger threat. The tension never drops, or feels played out, every resolution is hard-won and interesting—the book really does flow from strength to strength. In this way, the relationships that grow between the characters develop organically, which makes them great fun to read.
Thorn’s family life, the fate of Savaiu’s people and the hints as to the fate of Plusby’s wife are all tantalising threads that will likely be picked up and woven into future Crosspointe novels, and anyone who enjoys fantasy or Diana Pharaoh Francis’ writing will find something to be excited about in The Black Ship.
The review copy of this book was purchased by the reviewer. All titles reviewed on this blog are a fair and honest assessment of the book. No monetary compensation was received in exchange for this review. For more information regarding our review process, please visit our Review Policy & Review Request Submission page.
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