This book came up in an list of “Books To Read This Year Before The Movie Comes Out”. Vonda McIntyre already has high marks from me for her Star Wars novel “The Crystal Star” (which I really enjoyed) and her novelization of the movie “Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan” (which, don’t laugh, is one of the few books I’ve read that was so heartbreaking it make me cry). So to have a chance to read a fantasy novel with an upcoming movie that won’t be the start of another trilogy? I’m sold.
Father Yves de la Croix arrives at King Louis XIV Chateau in Versailles bearing gifts for his monarch: two sea creatures, and the promise of immortality. It will be Yves’s job to dissect the dead male creature he tried and failed to bring back alive. Yves’s sister, just released from a miserable five years in a convent, is assigned to care for and train the female specimen until it can be served up in a banquet once it’s been harvested of whatever it is that can give the king eternal life. It’s a hard enough for Marie-Josephe to bond with the gargoyle-like mermaid, but it becomes that much harder to do her job when she slowly realizes that the monster – which she’s teaching to leap for visitors and eat from her hand and eventually be eaten itself – is intelligent, and just wants to return to her family in the ocean.