Last week, I posted a list of 2018 books I’m thinking of reading, looking for something I can nominate as the best book of the year. I’ve just noticed that a book which I thought had been released in January was actually published on December 31st, 2018. The book is Voyage of the Lanternfish, by fellow blogger C. S. Boyack.
[Note: when I tried to search for the book by title at Amazon, the site decided to insert a space between lantern and fish, then told me there was no book with that title. “Smart” search, guys. I’m glad you paid all those developers to help me out. I ultimately had to search for the author’s name, which gave me this book as the top listing.]
I’ve read a couple of blurbs and excerpts on the author’s website, so I’m looking forward to this novel. A young man wants to fight back against the bad guys, and decides the only effective way to do that is to take to the seas as a pirate. He launches his new career in a small coastal town whose main trade seems to be piracy. The locals dig up a bunch of false graves to retrieve their hidden muskets and gunpowder, and set out to sea with him. This reminded me of the town of Shelmerston in the Master and Commander series of historical fiction novels. Although the Shelmerstonians (calling them Shelmerstoners might give the wrong impression) were primarily smugglers, they might have done a bit more piracy during an earlier time period.
Voyage of the Lanternfish isn’t pure historical fiction. There are monsters — I’ve been promised a Portuguese Man-of-War large enough to engulf a sailing ship — and a Chinese woman who’s extremely dangerous because she’s a sorceress or martial-arts expert, I can’t remember which, maybe it’s both.
My problem is going to be reading this novel before the February 14th deadline for Planetary Awards nominations. I’m hoping to take this year’s vacation time during January/February, which would normally give me plenty of time to read a 400-page book. But, I’ll be taking my vacation a day or two at a time, as I drive back and forth across the country for job interviews, and I don’t want to sit up all night reading before an interview. The other novels on my last post’s “reading” list were chosen partially because they had audiobook versions available, so I could consume them during my drives.
Leave me a comment if you have any thoughts on Voyage of the Lanternfish, or if you run across any other last-minute contenders.