The Tryphon Odyssey is definitely worth reading if you like nautical fantasy with well-rounded characters
by s.d. howarth
The Tryphon Odyssey
by S.D. Howarth
What is it about?
“The world of Sanctuary is not a kind place. Many races have fled there across the ages. Fewer still have survived and flourished—or survived. Humankind is the most recent to seek refuge, and the most cataclysmic. Since their arrival within the city-state of Atlantis, the embassies and tribes of man have formed new nations across several continents. Their misuse of magic in a prior age turned the seas acidic and drove their ancient Gods mad. The great contradiction of the current age is that it is only with magic that sailing ships like warship Tryphon criss-cross the oceans to protect trade routes.Navigator Edouard Van Reiver departs from shipboard routine and petty politics when he stops Tryphon against age-old superstitions to rescue two survivors, inviting aboard blood, fire and death.Sunjammer Gabriel Dagmar squanders his precocious talents through daily tedium to hide from the more terrifying depths of magic.Lady Carla’s escort mission is in tatters, and needing rescue from the acidic sea is the least of several concerns. Coxswain Grimm will need every one of his decades of experience to keep the Tryphon men alive, the officers on course, and quell the threat within spilling over.No good deed goes unpunished. Events require they assume new roles to fight an unknown assailant, as their anti-pirate patrol mission veers into the unknown. They will need skill, luck, or a hint that the Gods of Sanctuary still exist to rebalance the scales of a power play that could tear asunder the fragile balance the World of Sanctuary teeters upon. Can they hold the line and do their duty, or fail and doom their Spires Kingdom?
The Tryphon Odyssey features a mismatched group, each person with their own goals and personal baggage. A unique cast of characters buck superstition when they rescue survivors found adrift. Thrown together by circumstance (or design?), these unlikely companions have to face down and somehow survive the many dangers that this small act of kindness invites.
While I liked all of the characters, I had a soft spot for the irascible Doctor Robinson, who may either be helping or poisoning his patients. He made me smile. I also found Coxswain Grimm to be a lot of fun to read. He was grizzled and experienced, but he had a lot on his plate dealing with his crew and the extra surprises thrown their way.
What I would call a nautical fantasy, a book of this sort relies a lot on the creativity of the world the ship sails. Author S.D. Howarth has crafted a unique world, one with acidic seas and ancient gods. There are interesting crossovers into our mythology, while at the same time being wholly different.
There were a couple of things that didn’t quite work for me, the major one being the way information was presented. A lot was given all at once, enough that I found my attention wandering a bit. This is not to say that the background and history itself wasn’t interesting, just that the way it was given in large chunks made it difficult to grasp. It caused some pacing issues and I struggled with staying invested toward the beginning.
The Tryphon Odyssey shone in its character interactions. Every character brought something important to the story and they all played off of each other in ways that allowed their personalities to develop and grow naturally.
Because the exposition threw the pacing off, which kept me from becoming completely invested, this book is a cut. That being said, The Tryphon Odyssey is definitely worth reading if you like nautical fantasy with well-rounded characters. I truly wish author S.D. Howarth the best of luck and hope this book finds new readers to appreciate its creativity and characters.
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Jodie Crump is the creator of the Witty and Sarcastic Bookclub blog. She either lives in Florida with her husband and sons, or in a fantasy book-she’ll never tell which.
When she’s not reading, Jodie balances her time between homeschooling her hooligans, playing Dungeons and Dragons, and lamenting her inability to pronounce “lozenge”. Find her online at Witty and Sarcastic Book Club or Twitter