The Adventure of the Ring of Stones
by James P. Blaylock
Cover Artist: J.K. Potter
Review by Gayle Surrette
Subterranean Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9781596065840
Date: 30 June 2014 List Price $35.00 Amazon US / Amazon UK
One of the best things about the Langdon St. Ives stories is that they harken back to a time of great discovery, adventure, scientific curiosity, and experimentation, and there were still places in the world that deserved a "here there be dragons" map designation. Of course, women weren't usually, if at all, allowed on these adventures, but then that's the reality of the time period in which these stories take place. But they're so much fun to read it takes some of the sting out of the little women being left behind.
The Adventure of The Ring of Stones has it all: pirates, experimental scientific equipment, double crosses, truly evil bad-guys, shoot-outs on land and the high seas, mythical beasts or not so mythical, coded diaries, erupting volcanoes, uncharted islands, murder, and lots and lots of mayhem. There's also steadfast loyalty, sacrifice, and true friendship. Who could ask for more in a novella? Well, okay, a great story with interesting characters; but that's a given -- especially, if you've read other stories with St. Ives and his friends.
Tubby Frobisher's Uncle Gilbert has come into possession of a seaman's diary which he has decoded. And they've invited St. Ives, his man Hasbro, and our narrator, to meet them in London ready to embark on a sea voyage. Details will be divulged when they meet, as the post can't be trusted. Luckily, it's been long enough since their last adventure that the friends are all a bit antsy for some active employment, so off they go.
They barely get settled at a pub to await Tubby and Gilbert when they see them running rapidly towards them under attack. And the adventure begins. It's a page turner from beginning to end and one that will have you engrossed until the final page.
The book is illustrated with some lovely drawings by J.K. Potter that will help set the mood and the times of the story. A lovely volume, as well as a good rollicking adventure.