Janny Wurts amazes me.
The Ships of Merior flawlessly continues The Wars of Light and Shadow saga. Arithon, the Master of Shadow, is on the run, which is fine by him because his perfect cover is also his heart’s desire: working as apprentice to the master-bard Halliron. Lysaer has been far from idle during Arithon’s absence. He carries on his plans to become appointed high king, courts Talera, begins the rebuilding of the ruins of Avenor, and wins over the townships to his cause of hunting down Arithon. Meanwhile, the Fellowship of Seven dangerously pursue the means to defeat the Mistwraith once and for all and to lift the curse that has Arithon and Lysaer at each others’ throats, threatening to plunge Athera into bloody war.
If there is anyone who can write more beautifully than Janny Wurts, I haven’t run across ‘em yet. Her characters are so genuine and her worlds are so life-like, it seems as if she isn’t making up these stories, but translating them onto paper as the characters relate them.
What makes Ms. Wurts’s stories so “real” is her extensive knowledge regarding everything she writes about. In The Ships of Merior, she describes music in such a way that the reader can’t help but realize that there truly is something magical about it. Her descriptions of shipbuilding recognize that it’s an art form as well as a practical skill. Wurts’s biography states that she’s a musician and an offshore sailor, among several other remarkable achievements. What it doesn’t say is that she’s apparently a military strategist as well! The clans’ guerrilla tactics and the campaign of Lysaer’s war-host reveal the wisdom of a seasoned general.
The more books by Janny Wurts I read, the more I’m impressed by her genius.