Drake, David: Sea Hag (1988)

Cover by Larry Elmore

David Drake is an author that has been in the business for ages. I have this really strange relationship with his work. For some bizarre reason I usually imagine that I am not going to enjoy what he has written. And what happens? I’m sucked in every time. EVERY time! And still I expect not to like his writing. Slow learner I guess.

The Sea Hag was no exception. I thought, “nah, I don’t like David Drake” …. What a joke. Of course I like David Drake. I always do. And I did.

When I started reading Sea Hag I thought it was a fantasy tale. That is intentional from the author’s side (see link). In addition to being a fantasy, it is also science fiction. You will see why, when you read the novel.

Dennis discovers his father has made a promise to the Sea Hag in exchange for a wish. But Dennis’ father tries to get out of his promise. When Dennis discovers what the promise was and that his father has no intention of keeping it, Dennis sets off to somehow make up for his father’s failure. What we end up with in The Sea Hag is a hero’s journey. As his helper/side-kick we have Chester. Dennis and Chester are odd. I don’t know how else to describe them.

Dennis starts off like most of us – terribly naive. His ideas of what it takes to make it in the big world are off by a long-shot and he is incredibly lucky to have Chester along. At the same time Dennis is plucky. He has that combination of stubbornness and stupidity that a hero needs. By stupidity I mean the inability to see when something is supposed to be impossible.

Like all heroes’ tales the journey of Dennis and Chester brings us a great deal of unlikely scenes. I just love the stuff heroes survive, this hero too. The duo is loveable.

Did I like The Sea Hag. Hell, yes. Of course, I did. David Drake has ended up writing a book that he says people either hate or love. I am in the second category.

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