The Silver Tide - Jen Williams

This is the final book in this trilogy, following on from The Copper Promise and The Iron Ghost, both of which I've read and reviewed in the last few months - like I think I've said in both those reviews, these books are almost old-school sword and sorcery except for some tweaks in terms of better representation all round. All in all, I enjoyed this series and would recommend it, as well as being keen to see what Jen Williams writes next. 

 

The Silver Tide picks up pretty much where The Iron Ghost left off, with two of the three main characters struggling to deal with the aftermath of what they experienced in that book. Sebastian is still linked to anything of dragon-kind and we first find him in this book using that link to influence pit-fighting lizards, since feeling anything is better than feeling nothing. Meanwhile Frith has a different problem, as he's now lost the majority of his magic and is forced to rely on the use of a magical artefact to feel useful at all. 

 

Into this comes Wydrin's mother, a well-known pirate, who has a proposition for the Blackfeather Three: she wants them to help her infiltrate a dangerous island, one where any inhabitant of the small pirate town who steps into the forest is either killed or goes crazy. She's come into possession of a map that claims to show the way through narrow channels deep into the heart of the island where she believes a valuable treasure is kept. 

 

For want of anything better to do, they accept but are soon split up as Sebastian almost immediately realises he has made a mistake in going with them and flees the ship. What they don't know, at this point at least, is that the island's forest is inhabited as well by Estenn and her followers, who believe it is their role to restore the former gods to the power they once held - the island is, as we'll discover, the place the gods come from.

 

After various adventures on the island, our heroes are forced to follow Estenn back into the past via the magical device which is the actual treasure marked on the pirate map, right into the middle of the war between the gods and mages that ended with the gods being trapped (see The Copper Promise for more details on how that worked out). So in some ways, we come full circle and because Estenn has already messed with the time-line, the gods are never going to be trapped in the same way unless our heroes can figure out an alternative. A particular kicker to this is that Frith has to work with a much younger version of the mage who tortured him and messed with his mind in The Iron Ghost, as well as the ever-present danger of not telling people in the past too much about their future.