Andrew McGahan, Treasures of the Deep: More Tales of the Ship Kings, Allen & Unwin, November 2020, 320pp., RRP $19.99 (pbk), ISBN 9781760524845
Treasures of the Deep is a collection of short stories set in the nautical fantasy world of the four novels of the Ship Kings series, published between 2011 and 2016 (The Coming of the Whirlpool, The Voyage of the Unquiet Ice, The War of the Four Isles and The Ocean of the Dead).
There are four main stories, two of which have multiple parts: The Naming of the Chloe, The Blinding of Mother Gale, The Wreck of the Bent Wing and The Fish.
The stories have a fairy tale nature about them; they are complex cautionary tales written in beautiful lyrical prose that intertwine the wonder and the horror of the fantasy world of the Four Isles. And though set in a world crafted in the four previous novels, it is not difficult to quickly settle into this world and understand its unique constraints and its marvels.
The tragic story behind the naming of a ship; a young woman who must learn to accept the development of her sixth sense in exchange for sight; the lessons learned from seeking fortune rather than trusting intuition; and a mysterious creature from the deep that enthrals a ship and its crew: each of these stories unfolds with meticulous timing and suspense.
Treasures of the Deep is a captivating collection for lovers of the Ship Kings series and those new to the series alike. The series is not required reading but the short stories will certainly inspire a further dive into the world of the Ship Kings.
The Ship Kings series is recommended for a YA audience of 14+. Treasures of the Deep suits a similar reading age.
Reviewed by Pamela Ueckerman