Dark Sea’s End (Beyond Ash and Sand Book one) by Richard Nell

A wild and dangerous new world awaits…Beyond Ash and Sand.

Feared pirate and scoundrel ‘Lucky’ Chang has a dirty secret: he loves his crew, and would die to protect them. As he’s dragged from prison to face the dark sea and a dangerous new world, he just might have to.

Zaya, warrior and skald from the land of ash, knows she has a destiny. Having left her homeland with only a knife and a dream of adventure, she finds herself captured by pirates. To discover her fate, and become a hero from the book of legends, she must first survive the sea.

With a monstrous pilot as guide, and an ex-assassin as captain, Chang, Zaya, and the crew of the mighty Prince sail into uncharted waters. There they may find new lands and wealth, as well as glory beyond their dreams, or nothing but their doom.

Set in the same epic world as the award winning Kings of Paradise…this new series from author Richard Nell can be read on its own, or as a continuation of the Ash and Sand trilogy.

I’m beyond excited to share this newest novel by Richard Nell. This is the first stop on this blog tour, you can also find new reviews from the following blogs this week. #DarkSeasEnd

Dark Sea’s End is start of the new series Beyond Ash and Sand, and is another stunning novel in the epic world created by Richard Nell. I found I couldn’t put it down until I turned the final page. This new installment can easily be read as a stand-alone novel. But as a stalwart fan of the first trilogy, I certainly felt at home in this expansive world building and with several recurring characters from the first series.

This novel follows the smashing conclusion of the award winning Ash and Sand trilogy. Now, a mysterious captain appears in the dank cells of the palace prison of Sri Khan to offer Lucky Chang and the tatters of his crew a chance to earn freedom. Chang immediately notes the man appears not only powerful, but dangerous. The captain’s implacable casualness confuses Chang and he and his ten remaining crew see him and his monstrously large and strange ship’s pilot as an obstacle he can easily overcome if he chooses the right moment. An act of piracy quickly shows Lucky what the captain, the pilot, and their incredible ship are capable of. It also brings a new crew member on board that will change the dynamic of the ship in ways they never expected.

On a ship like no other on the seas, this unlikely crew sets sail to uncharted seas to find an unknown eastern continent their strange pilot with the golden eyes is sure exists. Thus the stage is set for a harrowing journey, full of danger for a mere dozen seafarers that find themselves in the middle of a holy war in a place they didn’t really believe existed. A deadly place filled with threats on all sides for the incongruous explorers.

Present are Nell’s always fantastic characterizations. So fleshed out the reader becomes completely invested in them, their futures and their pasts, as well as their predicament. No heroes, just men doing what they must to survive. The fact that most of them are stone cold killers, becomes rather irrelevant. It’s one of the aspects of Grimdark that I truly enjoy. From the beginning it had the action filled and danger fraught pace which Richard Nell does so well. His writing is smooth and nuanced, creating a story you can completely lose yourself in.

Behind him, flickering in the moonlight, a shadow loomed. Great black wings seemed to sprout from its back, skeletal arms extended with jagged claws. It was darker than the night save for two red spots that must have been eyes, leaking smoke like chimneys… His body heaved as he clutched at his sides, until at last he looked at the men and opened his mouth, eyes wide in fear, speaking a single word in an almost whispering rasp. “Run.”

Readers new to Nell’s work will find a good starting point here with a shorter novel than those in the first trilogy. Though it is a sequel in the timeline of his epic series, it has enough introduction to his world to let the reader get a really great taste of his world building and writing voice. That alone is enough to entice newcomers to pick up Kings of Paradise and see where this all began. Those who enjoyed the first series will have a treat in store for them in the familiar characters and setting.

A mention must be made about the glorious cover art. I’m sure I gasped out loud at my first peek. The incredible team of Felix Ortiz and Shawn T. King have worked their voodoo again. I loved the covers on the first series but this new character art is so spectacular, recognizable, and totally arresting.

Whether you are a new reader of Richard Nell, or already enjoyed his work, Dark Sea’s End will satisfy any appetite for a dark and wild adventure. Publishing on June 1, 2021, the wait time is nonexistent so click this link to order your copy now. Dark Sea’s End

You can find my reviews of the Ash and Sand series here:

Richard Nell concerned family and friends by quitting his real job in 2014 to ‘write full-time’. He is a Canadian author of fantasy, living in one of the flattest, coldest places on earth with his begrudging wife, who makes sure he eats.
His books mix his love of history and ideas with the epic glory of fantasy, because reality could use some sprucing up. He’s the author of dark, epic fantasy Kings of Paradise and Kings of Ash, and a new gritty flintlock series starting with The God King’s Legacy. He hopes you like them.

More by Richard Nell

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