Azai is sailing home with a peace treaty he has managed to secure between his home and a neighboring kingdom when the ship is attacked by a group of mer people, taking revenge for the death of one of their own at the hands of the sailors. Miraculously, Azai survives and wakes up on the shore of a seemingly deserted island. However, it’s not long before he realizes he’s not alone. Who is the mysterious stranger, and is he a potential friend or a threat?
Having read quite a few books by this author, I had a pretty good idea how this story would play out, yet it was still very interesting to see how it did. The relationship between Azai and Knissic is definitely a slow burn. At first it seems more likely that Knissic wants to eat Azai rather than harboring any romantic intentions. It takes quite a while for Azai to work out why he was really stranded on the island with Knissic.
The story is related from Azai’s point of view. Within the eighteenth century-styled fantasy world the story is set in, Azai comes across as a very believable person. His reactions to his circumstances seem quite natural and understandable. For the reader, Knissic is seen entirely through Azai’s eyes. The mysterious man is definitely an enigma, and it takes Azai quite a while to work it out, transforming fear to love.
There’s a greater degree of free will in this story than in many previous books by the author. Azai may have been carried to the island against his will, but it’s up to him to work out what kind of relationship he’s going to have with Knissic. Since Azai is on his own for more than half the story, it’s interesting to watch him process each bit of information and puzzle out what it means for his own survival. The various twists and turns of the story, while somewhat predictable, still managed to make it seem fresh.
“Deepwater” is available from Amazon.