Today I am excited to be joining the blog tour for the latest book by Dan Fitzgerald: The Isle of a Thousand Worlds. Thank you to Justin and Sara from Escapist Book Tours for having me along, and to Dan Fitzgerald for sending me a digital arc of this book. Please check out the posts from other bloggers and bookstagrammers listed above. There is a US giveaway later in this post so be sure not to miss that!
An aging alchemist seeks the key to the Universal Tincture said to unlock the Thousand Worlds of the Mind, but she never expected to solve the riddle of ther hermetic heart.
A meditation acolyte travels the mystical social media known as the Caravan and finds that the Thousand Worlds lie just below the surface, if she can only learn to see the space between the stars.
This spicy romantic fantasy explores the confluence of the physical and the metaphysical though the commingling of bodies and minds.
It is the sequel to The Living Waters and the conclusion of the Weirdwater Confluence duology, but it could be read as a standalone.
The Isle of a Thousand Worlds by Dan Fitzgerald
Series: Weirdwater Confluence Duology (#2)
Genre: Sword-Free Fantasy, Romantic Fantasy
Intended Age Group: Adult
Published: January 15, 2022
Publisher: Shadow Spark Publishing
Shown on Page: Explicit, consensual sex
I was sent a digital arc of this novel, in exchange for an honest review. My opinions are my own.
“May the winds blow cool upon your face.”
I thoroughly enjoyed the slower pace of The Living Waters by Dan Fitzgerald (review here), and since The Isle of a Thousand Worlds is its sequel, I was not surprised to find myself enjoying it immensely as well. Characters from The Living Waters do appear in this story, particularly Leo and his dog Sea Wolf, Gilea and Temi, but they are not the main focus of the narrative. Instead the main character is Patia, an alchemist who appeared very briefly in The Living Waters.
There are also cameo appearances and mentions of other characters such as Ujenn from The Maer Cycle and I really enjoyed these little easter-egg type links between the earlier books written by Fitzgerald and these latest novels.
Gilea has her own point of view chapters in The Isle of a Thousand Worlds, and it was great to see her again and find out how things were going in her relationship with painted face noblewoman, Temi. Her increasingly improved aptitude for Endulian meditation is a large feature of this story. Her chapters are much shorter than Patia’s and act as a method to inform the reader about the deep meditative practice which allows its practitioners to visit others in distinct locations, all while meditating in cradles which are located at a temple. This system is known as the Caravan and the use of tinctures prepared by alchemists is important to enable a more stable communication between practitioners. There is rumour of a tincture that is more powerful than all the others, known as The Universal Tincture, which is said to allow its users to communicate with the minds of others without needing to use the Caravan system. Creating this tincture is the dream of all alchemists, since it would be in extremely high demand and very lucrative.
Patia is a well-rounded, confident, independent, middle-aged woman, who I found easy to like. It was refreshing to read a book with an older protagonist, particularly one who is as professionally competent and sexually confident as Patia. She has heard that an old flame from her university days, Paoro, may have succeeded in creating the Universal Tincture, but she suspects that he may need her more careful and measured approach to alchemy in order to bring the tincture to market. This leads to her traveling to Rontaia in search of him, affording her the opportunity to meet and fall in love with an older alchemist, Gero, with whom she embarks on a steamy romance, complete with the practical difficulties and aches and pains associated with older couples. There are some explicit sex scenes in this book and I did take issue with some of the terminology used, as it jerked me out of the romantic feel of those scenes quite harshly.
Patia encounters the mystery of Cloti’s Script in an aged manuscript from the Time Before, which just might hold some clues to the conundrum of the Universal Tincture. Cloti was a famous historical Maer figure of legend whose writings are revered by alchemists.
For people who enjoy a story with animal companions there is not only Leo’s dog, Sea Wolf, but also a cheeky otter called Vera, who often visits Gero looking for snacks.
Fitzgerald’s world-building seems to have improved enormously since Hollow Road, manifesting in this novel via an extremely sensual tone, with attention being given to smells and tastes as well as small details which bring the visual descriptions to life in an enchanting way:
“The smell of fresh tri-fries weakened her knees and her resolve, and she dropped a couple of nomi in the vendor’s hand in exchange for a golden-brown triangle so hot she had to keep moving it from hand to hand. She cracked off a corner in her teeth, keeping her mouth open for a moment so she wouldn’t burn her tongue, then closed her eyes as her mouth exploded with hot, eggy, honey-and-cinnamon goodness.”
“His powerful body odor was rivaled by the metallic tang of the Chemist lamp and the lingering funk of something fishy and rotten.”
“Patia smoked a cheroot as she studied the temple entrance. The building was ancient, its marble walls and columns yellowed and rounded with time, but the hundreds of colorful dyed fabric squares tied to every available structure made it seem almost alive as the breeze circled the wide plaza before it. Endulian acolytes walked in pairs, their robes aggressively drab against the rainbow of fluttering cloths.”
Patia looked down into the clear water, which was alive with color. Orange anemones billowed with each passing wave as little purple and white striped fish darted in and out of their tentacles. Starfish and urchins dotted the rough bottom, and masses of light green tubelike structures flowed with the current.
I have enjoyed my time in the calming world of the Weirdwater Confluence duology immensely and would highly recommend it! It is described by the author as sword-free romantic fantasy, but it is so much more than that. A relaxingly-paced, yet intriguing breath of fresh air, woven through with a sensual cornucopia of tantalising smells, richly-described tastes, sights, sounds, warm relationships, mysteries and the occasional unexpected surprise.
**The Giveaway – US only**
Prize: A signed copy of either The Living Waters or The Isle of a Thousand Worlds w/ swag pack – US ONLY
Starts: February 3rd, 2022 at 12:00am EST
Ends: February 5th, 2022 at 11:59pm EST
About the Author
Dan Fitzgerald is the fantasy author of the Maer Cycle trilogy (character-driven low fantasy) and the Weirdwater Confluence duology (sword-free fantasy with unusual love stories), bothfrom Shadow Spark Publishing.
He lives in Washington, DC with his wife, twin boys, and two cats. When not writing he might be found doing yoga, gardening, cooking, or listening to French music.
Buy my books in any format: Shadow Spark Publishing
Twitter (writing and bookish stuff—this is my home)
Instagram (nature photography and bookish posts—this is my playground)
Website (danfitzwrites.com) (Find out more about my books, plus there’s a blog.)
Publisher Information – Shadow Spark Publishing
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