Author Nicholas R. Bates dedicates the first entry of his Oceanlight series to his muse and partner Margaret H.P. Best, who wrenched the author from “Stillness,” further acknowledging family members Maureen D. and Michael R. Bates, not to mention the encouragement of S.J. Parkinson and various individuals at Red Adept Publishing in North Carolina such as Lynn McNamee, editor Suzanne Warr, and Sarah Carleton. Before the main text is a map of the Interfaces that contains a depiction of a nine-buttoned keypad with the number nine missing, alongside passwords to locations in the area such as the library.
The book itself begins with excellent world-building of Oceanlight, with one of the protagonists, a Sprite named Yalara Narika, seeing many things when lightning surges through her body. Mother Earth in the author’s mythos is Calymenes, with Yalara promising to find someone who disappeared. She receives her surname from her sea tribe, or tribamare, the Narika, specifically belonging to the Sea Sprites. She bears other names reflecting her allegiance and lineage, with her mother having died without naming her, and is accompanied by another Sprite of the Sea named Rasania. Sea Sprites ride upon creatures known as petrels, which land upon floating mats of seaweed called natantis plantates or Seryasu.
Another world introduced within the novel is Daimanland, with Helia being in pursuit, the fraction of the size of a Mechanicum, the older sister of Centaurea, and twin sibling of Xylenia. An interesting twist on real-life terms is that Sprites depend upon ocsaigin to breathe underwater, with scientific facts presented as well such as light refracting differently through saltwater and non-saline water. Overall, this is an enjoyable start to the Oceanlight franchise, with unique mythos and the author definitely showing his work with the history of Wales, his research presented after the main text, although there are some bizarre portions such as an alternation between medieval Wales and modern Wales.
NR Bates was born in London, grew up in Wales, and lived in Canada and Bermuda. He shares his life with his wife and his house with seven cats, one dog and the subtropical wildlife of lizards, wolf spiders and ant colonies that seek out a better life indoors.
He is an oceanographer and scientist, and has published more than one hundred and thirty scientific papers on ocean chemistry, climate change and ocean acidification. He is a Senior Scientist at the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences and Professor of Ocean Biogeochemistry at the University of Southampton, UK.
His novels focus on epic fantasy and magic realism, and inspired by his deep love of the ocean and environmental sciences. He has also recently published a small book of short-stories set in Paris, entitled “The Fall of Icarus (The Elevator, The Fall of Icarus, and The Girl)”.