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I've read the first, er, 3 or 4, I've lost track. I started them about this time last year, and lost track in spring - my reading habits tend to go in spurts, with a period of voracious reading, then a period of about the same length of less reading.

I have Desolation Island, but haven't started it yet - maybe your post will get me off my duff and reading that series again!

I think the reason that the series is good is that it ISN'T really a "seafaring tale", but a tale of characters that happens to also involve seafaring, if that makes sense.

Tim
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