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Check It Out: The Bone Ships by RJ Barker

This is Matthew Stogdill with the Sioux City Public Library, and you’re listening to Check it Out.

Today I'll be recommending The Bone Ships, by RJ Barker, the first book in the Tide Child Trilogy. It’s a maritime high fantasy book that takes place in a world that’s mostly ocean, with civilization taking place on the many island chains that are constantly being fought over by two neighboring nations for resources. As far back as memory serves, the people of this world have depended on hunting sea dragons, whose bones are used to build their ships, in order to fight their endless war. The dragons went extinct hundreds of years ago, and every year there are fewer and fewer ships remaining, but the war continues. Now, rumors of a new dragon are spreading, and people are reporting sightings. Both nations are keen to begin preparations to hunt down and take the prize that could give them an edge.

The story is told from the point of view of Joron Twiner, the captain of a black ship, a warship that's crewed by condemned criminals who are offered a second chance to prove their worth. Joron was content to moor his ship in a remote harbor where orders from the navy command would be unlikely to reach him and where he could stay hidden away from his crew of thieves, murderers, and scoundrels, until he meets Meas Gilbryn, a famous navy captain who was disgraced at the height of her career, who shows him the importance of keeping a tight ship and what it means to be in command of a crew. Now, Joron must struggle with the burden of leadership as he suddenly gets wrapped up in grand adventure and political intrigue when he finds himself responsible for finding the dragon.

His mission seems suicidal, but if he is successful, it would mean redemption for Joron and his crew, as well as riches beyond compare. Look for The Bone Ships and the rest of the Tide Child Trilogy at the Sioux City Public Library.

Support for Check It Out on Siouxland Public Media comes from Avery Brothers.

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