The Mad Ship by Robin Hobb

Continuing on from “Ship of Magic”; the story still follows the lives of the Vestrit family, their companions, acquaintances and opponents, plus a number of liveships.

And though there are a number of liveships threading their way through the tale, I think it may be wise not to assume which one is the ship of the title.
The telling does sometime flit from one topic to another a bit suddenly, but there is so much content to the story, I think I found it to be a jolt because I was getting so totally involved in the tale.
And that is the point about Robin Hobb’s tales, they are full to the brim of detail and draw you into the world of the characters. All the little details that make the story come alive are there
Also, watch out for the little bits of the tale that seem insignificant, I have a feeling they may become important in the final book of the trilogy!
Speaking of which, I have already started reading the third and final book in the Liveship Traders series – “Ship of Destiny” (bit of a twee title I think!)

4/5 Stars

Official description:-
Althea vestrit, has found a new home aboard the liveship Ophelia, and in her she has discovered a dependable friend. Even so, she lives only to reclaim the Vivacia as her rightful inheritance and captain her on the high seas. What Althea does not yet know is that Vivacia has been seized by ‘King’ Kennit, the ruthless pirate captain, and is now sailing through the perilous waters of the Pirate Isles, acquiring a keen bloodlust and enjoying the thrill of the chase.

Meanwhile, in Bingtown, the Vestrits anticipate the return of their liveship, certain that her arrival will restore their fortunes. As Malta’s relationship with the mysterious Reyn Khuprus of the Rain Wilds develops, so does her character: and her encounters with Reyn through the dream-box he has given her will unlock the magical, dangerous powers of a hidden world that even she could never have dreamed of…

And just outside Bingtown Harbour lies the Paragon – still broken and bitter, but not quite so lonely: Amber the bead-maker now spends much of her spare time with him, trying to win his trust. But will she succeed in her dream of bringing him back to the world of the living and seeing him sail as a proud ship once more? In order to achieve this she will need to persuade the Ludluck family not to break him up and sell his wizardwood to greedy newcomers in the town.

For all the Bingtown Traders, times are uncertain and the foundation of their world, which had seemed immutable, appear to be resting on shifting sands. Corrupt Satrap Cosgo is deeding away their ancestral land to upstart ‘New’ Traders, and a growing traffic in human flesh is eroding the boundaries of a civilized society. Sea serpents are lingering ever closer to their shores, and to their liveships – between them a mysterious and unsettling relationship is developing…

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