Dark be the water, and darker still the creatures that lurk within…
Welcome to one of the August 4th stops on the blog tour for Sea of Souls by N. C. Scrimgeour with Escapist Book Tours. (#EscapistBookTours | Twitter | Instagram) Be sure to follow the rest of the tour for spotlights, reviews, and exclusive content!
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Before we jump into it, I just wanted to say that I’m very sorry to say this was supposed to be a review stop but I dropped the ball and didn’t finish reading on time. My lack of review means nothing other than “Jenna got distracted,” this book is getting a lot of praise and so far I agreed that it’s deserved, and I do still intend to finish and review it!
About the Book
Sea of Souls
Sea of Souls Saga Book One
by N. C. Scrimgeour
Published 4 August 2023
Genre: Dark Fantasy/Folklore
Page Count: 413
Add it to your Goodreads TBR!
Dark be the water, and darker still the creatures that lurk within…
Free-spirited Isla Blackwood has never accepted the shackles of her family’s nobility. Instead, she sails the open waters, searching for belonging on the waves.
But when tragedy calls Isla home, she realises she can no longer escape the duty she’s been running from. Selkie raiders have been terrorising the island’s coasts, and when they strike at Blackwood Estate, Isla is forced to flee with her hot-headed brother and brooding swordmaster.
To avenge her family and reclaim her home, Isla will have to set aside old grudges and join forces with an exiled selkie searching for a lost pelt. The heirloom might be the key to stopping the bloody conflict—but only if they can steal it from the island’s most notorious selkie hunter, the Grand Admiral himself.
Caught between a promise to the brother she once left behind and an unlikely friendship with the selkie who should have been her enemy, Isla soon realises the open seas aren’t the only treacherous waters she’ll need to navigate.
As enemies close in on all sides, she must decide once and for all where her loyalties lie if she wants to save what’s left of her family—and find the belonging she’s been searching for.
Dark be the water, and darker still the creatures that lurk within.
No matter how many times the old seadog pushed away from port, he never forgot the truth of those words. Ask any sailor worth their salt and they’d say the same: the open water with all its swells and storms wasn’t half as dangerous as what was beneath it. He’d learned to live with the fear, but it never went away. It remained a cold whisper at the back of his skull, reminding him what dwelt out there.
Tonight, the late-summer sea lay flat and still, and the stars glinted bright and clear. The seadog knew better than to trust favourable weather and a sturdy hull to keep him safe. He knew how quickly the fickle wind could turn. But for now the crossing was smooth, and he allowed himself to dream of home.
By the time he realised his mistake, it was already too late.
It was a sailor’s superstition, and an old one at that, but it stuck with him. He should have known better than to think of home before Silveckan’s shoreline was in sight. It was too much like tempting fate, daring the terrors in the depths to stop him reaching port.
Dark be the water, and darker still the creatures that lurk within. He knew those creatures well. They left nothing in their wake but a ship’s carcass and the bloated bodies of those lucky enough not to be dragged to the depths.
Aye, the old seadog should have known better than to believe nothing more than waves would come knocking at the hull.
The first sign was the change in the wind. It was too quick, too deliberate. It sent a troubling chill through his bones, cold enough to make his remaining teeth chatter. The flag thumped in protest at the top of the mast, billowing in on itself before unfurling in the opposite direction. In the moment it took him to regret his fleeting thoughts of home, everything changed.
His eyes were weary, but he could still make out the shift on the horizon. A curtain of rain crawled towards the ship, blocking out the stars. As he watched, it grew, stretching across the hazy line between sky and sea.
The roar of thousands of droplets thundered across the water, bouncing off the waves until all at once they hit the deck. The seadog’s ears rang with the pattering as the crew screamed orders back and forth, their cries devoured by the howling of the wind.
Running would not save them. His folly had made certain of that.
He peered into the water. The waves leapt angrily, throwing themselves into the hull as if the ship had somehow scorned them. The water was black under the pall of storm clouds, the tips of the waves frothing like the jaws of a rabid animal. They had no port to make berth in, no weapons to defend against what was coming. Not even a sentinel could save them now, even if they’d been so lucky to have one aboard.
Beneath him, the hull creaked and groaned. It had begun.
The seadog stood on the deck, the biting wind reddening his face and freezing the coarse grey whiskers on his cheeks. He looked out at the water on which he’d spent so much of his life. The water he’d known could claim him any time it wanted. It might have been a comfort to him, like being reunited with an old friend, were it not for what lurked underneath.
The ship had already begun to surrender to the storm’s fury. The crunch of timber filled his ears as the deck splintered and pools of dark water seeped in around his ankles. Long, lithe shadows shot past beneath the waves, circling the drifting carcass of the ship.
The water was at his waist. It wouldn’t be long now.
If there were screams amongst the wind, he couldn’t hear them. Nobody could hear them, not here, so far from the haven of dry land.
The shadows slunk closer. Their prize was within reach. The seadog looked around, the icy water lapping at his chin, and saw the last of his crew disappearing one by one beneath the waves.
The creatures would show no mercy. It was not in a selkie’s nature to show mercy.
At long last, a strong pair of jaws sank around his ankle, crunching through flesh and bone. The old seadog drew a final breath and filled his head with thoughts of the shoreline he’d recklessly yearned for, the shoreline he’d never see again.
The surface vanished. Salty water filled his lungs. He thrashed, then fell silent, and the black depths swallowed him whole.
About the Author
N. C. Scrimgeour is a science fiction and fantasy author whose books focus on character-driven stories in vibrant worlds, from folklore fantasy to space opera.
After completing her Masters in English Literature, she went on to work in journalism and marketing and communications while pursuing her passion in writing.
When she’s not writing, she enjoys playing story-driven RPGs, watching and reading all things science fiction and fantasy, and getting outdoors with the dog for a good walk!
Disclaimer: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.