This novel, published by Fantastic Books, is told in four parts. The first involves what you might call your standard, earth’s-oceans-going sailboat race. It’s intense and eye-opening.
The second introduces us to the strange and entirely frightening prospect of sailing a craft in the tumultuous and unimaginably gargantuan atmosphere of Jupiter, via the narration of a mineral-fisherman. It’s where things start to get really strange.
The third is a race which takes place on/in Jupiter, during which some extremely exciting events take place, and the fourth brings us to yet another vision of the application of extraterrestrial sailing principles: the use of ultra-weak Martian winds to push specialized buggies across the sand.
All through the book, Sparhawk combines the technical nuances of sailing operation with the scientifically-accurate physical traits of three distinct planets (the first being Earth). Marvelously, a sail can propel a craft in each environment, but the unique challenges which arise between them become the main point of interest. It’s still “sailing,” yet the three experiences couldn’t be more different. You’ll have to read yourself to find out exactly how.
Aside from Sparhawk’s impressive technical understanding, his book, “Distant Seas,” handles emotion and tension extremely well.
The heartbreaking moments are genuinely heartbreaking, because the characters are vividly real and well-developed. And when things get rough, Sparhawk’s suspense ranks among the most thrillingly nail-biting I’ve ever experienced in book form….
Really, sailors are crazy! Who would ever choose to isolate themselves by sailing into the heart of an almost limitless expanse of a place that is nothing but hostile toward human life?
Well, you’ll have to crack it open to find out.