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Title: For Love of Distant Shores
Series: Tales of the Apt #3
Author: Adrian Tchaikovsky
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Amazon and Me
For Love of Distant Shores features the exploits of scientist-cum-adventurer Doctor Ludweg Phinagler, as recorded by his (semi-)faithful assistant, Fosse.
A maverick academic, Phinagler is able to charm almost everyone he meets… except for his fellow academics at Collegium, with whom he is frequently at odds. In part to escape the resultant animosity and scandal, and in part to satisfy his own thirst for knowledge, Phinagler mounts a series of expeditions to the far-flung corners of the world (regions which the author always knew were there but which the main narrative of the novels never allowed him to fully explore). In the process, he confronts ancient mysteries and deadly dangers that the majority of kinden would scarcely believe exist.
In the first story, Phinagler and Fosse explore an underwater lake and barely escape slavery and vivisection.
In the second story they head to the Desert of Nem to find lost treasure and find a mad Slug Magician instead.
The third story has them hiking into one of the great forests to track down the Kinden who built a mysterious tower. Not only do they find the kinden, they find 8 wasps who seem to have immortality through being reborn using the aforementioned Kinden as hosts.
The final story has them crossing the Great Sea and discovering a new land where the people don’t talk their language, appear to have no kinden and can apparently change shape. The story ends with Phinagler vowing to come back and Fosse retiring so she can have a polygamous relationship with 2 of the men she met.
Sadly, each of those Tales of the Apt books has been slowly going downhill for me. With the final story ending up with a menage a trois arrangement, I was very disappointed.
I liked the format of 4 novellas (they’re not really short stories) making up the book. Very pulp. Definitely riffing on the 1900’s Adventure Stories. Yet still fun.
Character wise, I wouldn’t have minded if the main characters had died each time and been replaced. Phinagler was an egotistical jackass and Fosse was a gambling lowlife. I have to admit, there were times I was really hoping they’d die. I really didn’t like them.
The stories themselves were great. I like a good Adventure Story and these were definitely that. Well, I didn’t like the final story, but that is because I knew it tied into his Echoes of the Fall series and I really didn’t care for that series. The other 3 though, they were cool.
There is one more book of short stories in this series and I believe it is by different authors, so we’ll see how it goes.