Friday 29 April 2022

Sea of Shadows by Amy Maroney


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"1459. A gifted woman artist. A ruthless Scottish privateer. And an audacious plan that throws them together—with dangerous consequences. No one on the Greek island of Rhodes suspects Anica is responsible for her Venetian father’s exquisite portraits, least of all her wealthy fiancé. But her father’s vision is failing, and with every passing day it’s more difficult to conceal the truth. When their secret is discovered by a powerful knight of the Order of St. John, Anica must act quickly to salvage her father’s honor and her own future. Desperate, she enlists the help of a fierce Scottish privateer named Drummond. Together, they craft a daring plan to restore her father’s sight. There’s only one problem—she never imagined falling in love with her accomplice. Before their plan can unfold, a shocking scandal involving the knights puts Anica’s entire family at risk. Her only hope is to turn to Drummond once again, defying her parents, her betrothed, even the Grand Master of the Knights himself. But can she survive the consequences?"

This is the second in Ms Maroney's Sea and Stone Chronicles and, whilst I heartily recommend that you read the first, (Island of Gold), this new book can absolutely be read as a standalone. Those familiar with the cast will recognise Anica's family, and will be delighted to know that the falconer Cédric makes a brief appearance, but this story is new, and does not relate to the previous book beyond those brief connections and the fact that we are, once more, on the island of Rhodes.

And my, oh my, we are really there. The author conjures up this hot, dazzling, multi-cultural place with enough detail to allow us to feel the heat, or the stinging rain, to smell the aromas of the harbour, and to hear the noise of the merchants and those coming down to meet the ships.

The tale is brilliantly woven, with many a twist and turn before the final pages. I didn't so much read, as watch the people as they played their parts, and I could see every detail of the settings, the clothes, and the movement of the characters who are all well drawn. The burgeoning relationship between Anica and Drummond is beautifully, and believably, played out.

Once again, Ms Maroney has delivered a cracking story which whisks along, has a detailed plot with jeopardy aplenty, and yet never dispenses with characterisation or setting. And here's the most satisfying thing: that setting. Not only is this a cracking story but it is one so firmly rooted in its time and place that it simply could not be told were it set anywhere else in the world, or at any other period. Yes, it's a love story. Yes, it's an adventure story. But above all, it is a story about what happens to those bound by convention and caught up with the Knights, and everything that happens in the book remains true to that. The victims become so not only because they encounter the villains, but because they are hide-bound by the rules of the Order, and by the social rules of the day, and everyone in the book acts within those parameters, never stepping out of their period. 

Because of this, I 'closed' the book feeling that not only had I been thoroughly entertained and caught up in the lives of Anica, her family, and the rather enigmatic Drummond, I felt that I really had witnessed Medieval Rhodes and had learned about its history. Highly recommended.

Reviewed for Discovering Diamonds 

© Annie Whitehead

 e-version reviewed

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  1. Thank you so much for this lovely review of Sea of Shadows! I'm absolutely delighted to learn my book is a Reviewer's Choice novel and longlisted for the Richard Tearle award. With gratitude, Amy Maroney

    1. Our pleasure Amy - Richard would have so enjoyed reading this if he were still with us.

  2. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I only found it because of this review so three cheers for DDRevs.
    Again, I can't use my name because the site doesn't like my website, lol.
    Loretta Livingstone


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