The sea dragons are returning, and Joron Twiner's dreams of freedom lie shattered. His Shipwife is gone and all he has left is revenge.
Leading the black fleet from the deck of Tide Child Joron takes every opportunity to strike at his enemies, but he knows his time is limited. His fleet is shrinking and the Keyshan's Rot is running through his body. He runs from a prophecy that says he and the avian sorcerer, the Windseer, will end the entire world.
But the sea dragons have begun to return, and if you can have one miracle, who is to say that there cannot be another?
'Excellent . . . one of the most interesting and original fantasy worlds I've seen in years'
Barker triumphantly sends out the Tide Child trilogy (after Call of the Boneships) with ship captain Meas Gilbryn's final attempt to bring peace to her watery world where the only material strong enough to build warships is the bones of sea dragons long believed to be extinct. Meas hoped that she could help the rival military powers of the Hundred Isles and the Gaunt Islands come to their senses. But her efforts are for naught when the sea dragons reappear, sparking a ruthless aquatic arms race. As Meas is captured and tortured for the secret to summoning these dragons, her loyal subordinate Joron Twiner commands her ship, The Tide Child, through perilous waters in search for her. It's Joron who's able to summon sea dragons, though he's afraid to use this power because he and his alien, birdlike friend the Gullaime both believe in a prophecy foretelling that the return of the dragons will lead to "death and destruction for all." The story's maritime action rivals Patrick O'Brian's in meticulous detail, but the overall atmosphere is much more Wagnarian, full of operatic sturm und drang. The combination really shouldn't work, but Barker pulls it off with distinction.