This Forsaken Earth

Yes, the first mate is a green, nine-foot-tall half-troll, but This Forsaken Earth, the second installment of the Sea Beggars series, is very much in the Master and Commander vein of maritime adventure, with atmospheric seascapes, wormy-biscuit realism, and crisp nautical commands barked by Captain Rol Cortishane at the crew of his pirate ship Revenant. Ashore, though, the gritty cannon-and-cutlass procedural clashes with the fantasy elements in Paul Kearney’s fictional world of Umer, which feel like Arthurian legends filtered through The Highlander. Kearney crafts gripping, richly imagined shipboard scenes, but Rol’s personas — hard-bitten sea dog, mystic demi-god — don’t mesh.

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