In Scully’s debut, British sailors from the Napoleonic era are transported to an alien planet, where they get entangled in war between life-force-eating monsters and energy-based aliens with sex on the mind.
Scully’s adventure starts in earnest with a few pages of sailing and fencing vocabulary, complete with visual aids. This serious mood continues with Capt. Rodney Wyckham, who is dealing with a loose cannon, something that could not only crush or maim a sailor but could also seriously damage his job prospects. The situation soon changes radically as Wyckham’s ship and several others are sucked through a portal into an alien world. By Page 14, Wyckham’s men are facing the monstrous Draesh, who are several stories tall, fanged, tusked and hungry for men. As serious as this situation might be, Wyckham’s response to seeing a monster eat a British seaman—“Some things are just not done, for God’s sake!”—sets the tone as light and humorous. Though Wyckham and his men face mutiny (briefly), an insane and incompetent admiral (briefly) and battles with life-force-devouring monsters (often), the adventures feel more like a romp. One of the big subplots involves the British seamen being seduced by helpful aliens who can take any form; they want to use semen (the other kind) to help them in the war. When Wyckham finds himself face to face with the woman whom he loved but who married another, he can resist for only so long. The result is a peculiar mix of Horatio Hornblower–style naval action with some mild erotica. Intrigued readers will likely get a fair bit of amusement out of this book, which doesn’t ask too much: Almost everything about this strange situation is explained at length to Wyckham by his allies. And while some of the battles involve derring-do and close calls—that fencing material from the beginning proves occasionally useful—the ultimate outcome is hardly in question.
Melodramatic naval adventure with laughs and sex on the side.