The Crow Dark Sea by Duncan Bourne

Brian G Turner

Fantasist & Futurist
Staff member
Nov 23, 2002
The Crow Dark Sea pt1 vsmall (1).jpg

This was advertised on and I idly took a closer look as I was intrigued by the title and cover - and was immediately impressed by the opening enough to buy a copy.

What we have here is a fascinating genre mix of Welsh historical fiction, fantasy, and science fiction. Bourne handles the balance between them deftly, so while there's a good flavour of each in the story, it's never over-whelmed by one particular genre.

I guess that's also a problem for a book like this in that traditional publishers hate this type of genre mixing because they don't know where to market it (Jo Zebedee's Inish Carraig comes immediately to mind), so it's a shame it's had to be self-published. What you do get as a reader though is a tight and well-written adventure, interesting characters (especially Ariadnii!), and some great laugh-out-loud moments as a post-apocalyptic future grapples with the incongruitities of its past.

Criticisms? The only one is that this novel is relatively short, and may or not have benefited from having additional POV scenes from other characters than than the lead, in order to provide more context and perspective, as someone like David Gemmell would have done. On saying that, though, Bourne simply tells the story with no padding and it ends at exactly the right place.

Overall, this is a professional-standard novel with a great premise and an engaging story that's well-worth taking a close look at if you have any kind of interest in fantasy, historical fiction, or post-apocalytpic settings. Although self-published, it easily sits among the better traditionally published books out there, and I'm very much looking forward to reading the sequel.

The Crow Dark Sea by Duncan Bourne is available at Amazon.
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Thanks for the Review, very much appreciated.
I readily admit that the historical feel for the book was inspired by Robert Harris's "The Second Sleep" (worth a look for those who like back to the Dark Ages post apocalypse stuff). My aim was to portray a man travelling from a simple world into a more complex and advanced one that changes and challenges him.
For those who find The Spider Queen, Ariadnii interesting I would like to point them to my first (stand alone) book "The Dark Heart" in which, as Princess Ariadnii, she features quite heavily. Set in a world close to our present it sets up many of the later "myths"

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