Set in the 1800s Australia, the action never stops. John Francis and his brother have organized a heist! Yes! An armed wagon is their target and Morgan, one of the drivers and hired guns, is in on the heist. From the title I was expecting to start out on a ship but I like how the story begins on land and moves us out to the ocean. John finds an odd and strangely enchanting medallion among the wagon goods and decides to take ownership of it.
Later, John and his wife Rose board the Madagascar to set off on a new life. Alas, John’s recent past catches up with him and he’s removed from the ship and jailed. Rose and the mysterious medallion continue on. That’s when things get deliciously messed up. I have always enjoyed ghost ship stories, those tales where obviously something terrible happened to the ship’s occupants. This is a tale that shows us how we get just such a ship.
There’s a few flashbacks showing the ancient tale of Xia whose spirit has since taken residence in the strange medallion. Through that bit of unusual jewelry, her vengeful spirit influences Rose and others. Indeed, the somewhat timid and socially awkward Rose becomes the avatar of the beautiful and dangerous Xia. The scenes with Xia were often dark and very serious and they became the anchor for this tale. Xia put the punch in this horror story.
Obviously, horrible things start happening on board ship. Captain Harris tries his best to be fair with the initial outbreaks of violence but his gentlemanly ways won’t be enough to hold back the tide of tormented anger from Xia. There’s plenty of potential victims or heroes on this ship: Lady Worthington and her son Philip, the First Mate Steven, Mr. & Mrs. Basset, the sailing master Timothy, etc. It eventually became a blood bath but there was hope even then. Not everyone was affected by Xia’s spirit.
To my happy surprise, John Francis wasn’t out of the picture either. He’s joined by a very mysterious but knowledgeable Templeton. He is seeking the medallion and has some knowledge of it’s evil powers and history. Templeton became the most interesting character by the end of the book. I really hope we get another story featuring him. I wonder what other magical or possessed relics he has hunted down.
All around, Seas of Blood is a worthy tale of heists, vengeful spirits, and shady characters taking the higher road. 5/5 stars.
I received a free copy of this book.
The Narration: Terry Self was a perfect fit for this book. He had quite the variety of English and Australian accents, making each character distinct. Also his female character voices were feminine. He excelled at performing Xia’s scenes which were full of emotions. I also loved his voice for John Francis. I could practically see his wolfish grin or quirked eyebrow. There were no recording issues. 5/5 stars.