Of Sea and Shadow: The Elder Empire: Sea, Book 1 Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
The Guild of Navigators has ruled the Aion Sea for centuries, using their fleet of mystical ships to collect trade for the Aurelian Empire.
Now, the Emperor is dead.
For Calder Marten, Captain of The Testament, the Emperor’s death is not an end, but an opportunity. He and his crew seek the legendary Heart of Nakothi, an artifact that could raise a second Emperor...and earn Calder a fortune.
But they’re not the only ones who want the Heart.
The Consultant’s Guild, an ancient order of spies and assassins, will stop at nothing to keep the world in chaos. They seek to destroy the Heart, and prevent the world from uniting under a single Emperor ever again.
On the seas, a man works to restore the dying Empire.
In the shadows, a woman seeks to destroy it.
Will you explore the seas here with Calder? Or will you walk the shadows with Shera, in the parallel novel Of Shadow and Sea?
- Click above for unlimited listening to select audiobooks, Audible Originals, and podcasts.
- One credit a month to pick any title from our entire premium selection — yours to keep (you'll use your first credit now).
- You will get an email reminder before your trial ends.
- $14.95 a month after 30 days. Cancel online anytime.
People who viewed this also viewed
People who bought this also bought
Related to this topic
|Listening Length||11 hours and 36 minutes|
|Whispersync for Voice||Ready|
|Audible.com Release Date||February 11, 2020|
|Best Sellers Rank|| #7,223 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
#567 in Epic Fantasy (Audible Books & Originals)
#1,593 in Epic Fantasy (Books)
Top reviews from the United States
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
I know that’s frowned upon but I view it as a sign of how much the author/publisher cares about the underlying story. If it’s worth their time they’ll invest in a great cover that hints to the unique contents within.
If it’s not great then the cover will be Okay to Terrible she fail to give any insight into the book.
This was a great cover that gave a surprising amount of insight into the contents of the book.
The story follows Calder Martin, the captain of a fantastical ship on a journey across a monster filled sea.
The creatures and themes draw heavily on Lovecraft, and add immense layers of depth to the underlying world that hosts the story.
The characters are unique. While their motivations are still somewhat a mystery by the end of the book, you’re able to get a solid understanding of the main characters nature.
Calder Martin reminds me very much of Harry Dresden from the Dresden Files Series, in the sense that he lives by his own code and somehow despite the odds constantly being stacked against him manages to come out on top…or at least survive.
Great start to the Series. I just bought books 2 and 3 and look Forward to what happens next!
This book follows the opposing point of view from the first book. In "Of Shadow.." we follow Shera, an assassin always looking for her next nap with Calder as one of the main antagonists. In "Of Sea.." this is reversed as we read most of the book through Calder's POV. In both books, there are intermittent flashback chapters that serve to show us formative experiences in the main character's background and help to flesh out the world building that Wight has done, and done pretty well I think. Just like I said in my review of "Of Shadow..", these flashbacks are very similar to the "Stormlight Chronicles" flashbacks in that they tend to build towards an event that is obliquely referenced in the "present time" chapters and is dramatic and shocking. I will say that, in both books, I thought I knew what the event was going to be, and in both cases I was about half wrong.
This format is very interesting because of the conflicting points of view. I suppose they could have been interwoven Game of Thrones-style, but having two separate books means that you have your perception completely molded by one book before starting the second instead of gradually built up by switching in between the two. This is reflected, I believe, in some of the reviews for "Of Shadow.." that I read in which people who read "Of Sea.." first seemed to have lesser opinions of Shera and the Consultants than Calder and his crew. I wouldn't say I'm completely opposite, but I am inclined to support "Team Shera", if such a thing exists. More than anything, the two books illustrate what happens when people have to act with limited knowledge of the oppositions goals and motivations.
Both books are set in a world of humanity that, until recently, had been completely united in an Empire ruled by a long-lived and powerful Emperor. The death of the Emperor has thrown the future of the Empire into chaos with some factions wanting to maintain the status quo, some wanting a new Emperor, and some wanting a dissolution of the Empire. While the commoner may have little opinion on the matter, we observe the machinations of the different Guilds: sanctioned groups of specialists who have different powers and purposes and different goals and visions for the crumbling Empire. After reading both books, my conception of which side is "in the right" and what solution is correct is predictably scrambled. It will be interesting to see how things come together as the series goes along.
Its hard to rate one book after reading both. Wight continues his penchant for irreverence (realistic?) depiction of his characters that I enjoy. I think the world building is solid and complex, and the magic system is interesting and fairly well thought out and explained. I'm not sure what differentiates a Reader from a normal person (midi-chlorians??) but it's fine. I wouldn't describe these books as "moving", but they are a lot of fun and I'm hoping the next set doesn't take too long.
- The overarching storyline is relayed from two different perspectives - one from a ship's captain (professional pirate), one from an assassin. Their paths cross just enough to warrant telling the story from both points of view and just enough to gain different insights from seeing things in a different light.
Captain - captains a ship drawn through the seas by .... magic! But in a cool way. There are mundane ships out there, but this guy, his is magical.
Assassin - lazy, sleepy, socially awkward, armed. Think cat with blades. But her blades.... magic! There are mundane blades out there, but this girl, hers are magical.
Captain's crew - They slice, they dice, and so much more! They're easy to clean, fashionable in their own right, loyal and funny, who could ask for more? And this crew..... they're magic! etc. There are different viewpoints within the crew, which is nice. None of the 'main' characters seems 2D, and the backstories are all pretty interesting.
Assassins friends - she killed them all. Then got new ones! That's not true. This group is part what you'd 'expect' in a group of trained killers, part very much not. These back stories are also quite interesting and guess what else - they're magic!
The bad people - Pretty darned bad. I mean, wow. Cthulhu had babies and they've also garnered literary fame, as well they should. These bad people are also interesting and also magic. There seems to be a reoccurring theme in Will Wight's work, and that is one of a Pantheon of gods, none of whom are beneficent. That being said, they sure are intriguing.
- Great story telling - Will Wight is just a great gosh darned story teller. He has an open invitation to a spot around my storytelling campfire.
- Cool magic - his system of magic is different from most, but seems well thought out and very interesting. There are a few questions I have about it, but given how well his last world was thought out (in the Traveler's Gate series) I'm more than willing to bet that all questions will be answered in a later book.
- Easy read - this is not a tough story to get into, and it has the appeal of being able to stop and pick up again wherever you left off. In other words, this is not relegated to bedtime reading, bathroom reading, serious reading, etc. I'll take his books to the kitchen while cooking and read a few lines between whatever (generally kitchen related).
Tl;dr I highly recommend. Magic, great story, thought out world and characters. Read Traveler's Gate. More interesting version of Kevin Hearne with more original magic. (I still like Hearne though).
Top reviews from other countries
The big reason this book was not a 5 star experience for me was because I thought to start with the sister novel, Of Shadow and Sea, believing from the blurbs it was possible to just dive in, as both were considered book one in a series. Personally, I think that this is not the case. I'd never read any of Mr Wight's novels, and as such knew nothing of his style or world mechanics. I shamefully thought that the withheld information and obscure references in the sister novel were a mark of poor story telling and world-building of the kind that frequently plagues indie fantasy novels.
This book cured me of any misapprehensions. The writing, the world-building, the tension... Can we get a chef's kiss?
However, having read it after finding the Shadow series opener a frustrating read, I felt a bit disappointed in having to re-read certain sections of the story in more detail considering I'd already read them. Also, I felt that the Shadow series reveals things later on that do take some of the mystery out of this story. I would have enjoyed both books so much more if I'd read them in the right order, understanding the world and how it worked (as presented here), before delving deeper into the little section of society the Shadow series opens up.
The story is a dark toned epic fantasy thing involving dead God-like beings, ambitious men, shadowy assassins, and a cheeky rogue who thought he was getting a good deal of gold for not much work. It's not the most original premise, but the world more than makes up for it.
I won't say I loved the character of Calder; he's you usual fantasy rogue/pirate who'll try his luck and get into scrapes because of it. He has a wife, though they never seem to show much of an emotional connection, which was a bit of a weakness considering how some of the narrative hangs on their supposed long-term relationship. If you're looking for love, it ain't on the Aion seas. The writer is much better at showing banter-driven friendship than attraction or romantic leanings, such as with Calder's crew of unlikely pirate-types. They might not be overly fleshed out, but they've got their quirks that makes each stand out. And while we're talking oddball, there's a wonderfully distinct character by the name of Bliss, head of the Blackwatch, who is fascinating... and reminds me immensely of a JRPG or anime character.
In fact, a lot of the characters and scenarios here had me thinking of the Tales of Xillia games because of their slightly outlandishness (and because despite being offered the "choice" of following the male character or female character when fresh into the world, play the female and you'll be left head-scratching until you go back and play the guy first - OK, I'll stop flogging that dead horse of irritation now).
An action-packed story of intrigue that would be greatly enhanced by following it with book 1 of the Shadow series. You could probably go without, but having read both I'd recommend it as a companion story that makes so much more of the world that's established here.
TL;DR: Proper good fantasy stuff. Masterful story-telling and world-building. I am certainly going to check out more.
Well worth a read if you're a fan of Will Wight work (like I am). Definitely give it a go!