First Voyage is the first book in a new series, called The Sea Lord Chronicles, which follows young Alexander Hope as he joins his first ship, His Majesty’s Frigate Resolution, sailing for a patrol in the channel during the war against Napoleon.
The novel has two main fantasy elements which distinguish it from a normal ‘follow the career’ series. Firstly the ships have an ‘air wing’ in the form of gryphon’s. Something similar has been tried before but Healey has put much more emphasis on the naval aspect and for the dedicated HNF fan it is a much better read. One or two terms used may tend to grate a bit to the purist but it is an alternate reality so some differences should be expected.
The second difference is that Hope is a Sea Lord, one who has the ability to manipulate the actions of water. At the start of the novel he does not know he has inherited the ability from a famous ancestor and the narrative follows his growing awareness of the power he possesses and it’s implications for his shipmates and country.
This was a good, well paced novel which brought the various plot aspects together well and I look forward to reading more of Hope’s adventures. Recommended.