Ian's Reviews > In Great Waters

In Great Waters by Kit Whitfield
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Jul 02, 2012

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Read in June, 2012

A literary fantasy novel, though more literary than fantasy, and published and marketed as a literary novel. In the world of In Great Waters, the kings and queens of Europe are descended from Angelica, a deepsman woman who walked out of the sea at Venice, rallied the deepsmen infesting the city to defend it from a French invading force, and was subsequently offered the Venetian crown. Much like Queen Victoria, Angelica's offspring have now married into all the royal families of Europe, but by a couple of centuries later are so inbred many are born mentally or physically disabled or both. When occasional first generation landsmen-deepsmen hybrids are washed ashore, they are routinely killed as they might threaten the various thrones. In Great Waters takes place in England, where one such hybrid has been hidden and raised by an ambitious noble. But things don't quite go according to plan. The whole deepsmen/mermen thing reads like an analogy for diplomatic relations in Tudor England and Europe, and while the book is slow to start, and occasionally bogs down in the middle, it all hangs together quite well. The writing is very good - which is why it's a literary novel and not a category fantasy novel - and it's definitely worth reading.
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