In one sense, you could see this as a somewhat typical visitation fantasy. Person gets transported from our world to fantasy land, gets in trouble, has adventures, comes back home.

As ever, the secret is in the details. Stormwrack has some apparent relationship with Earth, as both the stars and the moon are the same. But, it is a water world, with little land, that doesn’t seem to bear any relation to our landmasses. What exactly is going on is discussed early, but never resolved, as the main plot overcomes these explorations.

But the main character, Sophie, and her brother, do look into it. She also looks at all the marine life around her (she is a post-graduate in marine biology), some familiar, and some less so. In fact, a major theme of the book is the exploration of this new world, and trying to figure out what’s going on. The fact that parts of it get dropped just shows an intent for sequel books.

Parallel to this is the fact that it is quickly made clear that this is not a one-off thing, and there is semi-regular travel between Earth and Stormwrack. The bulk of both worlds are unaware of this, but some people do know, and most of the population of Stormwrack carefully doesn’t ask many questions about ‘mummer technology’. Just where and how this attitude comes from isn’t gone into (yet), but it is made obvious that the people at the top in the Fleet on Stormwrack are doing everything they can to keep knowledge from leaking out.

And one of the decidedly good points is just what we do see of the power structures here. There is a tenuous peace that has been held together by the threat of force for about a hundred years, and the types of schemes that brings out are well thought out. At the same time, the mainspring of all the action are extremely personal motivations on Sophie’s part. There’s a fair amount of action and adventure along the way, but it should say a lot that the climax is more in the nature of a trial. Overall, it’s a good book, and very well plotted.