Underneath the Oversea
The ocean is rising… Straight up!
“On a bluff above the sea lived a gargoyle, a tree, two bards, and their various children.”
Gorlen and Plenth, the wandering bards in question, have quit a life of rambling to raise their daughter Aiku in peace at the edge of a curious sea. Aiku’s other father is the gargoyle Spar, who is also husband to a songwood tree and father to a young grove. It’s no more unusual than most families, and their life no less ordinary…until one extraordinary day, when the messenger birds Aiku loves begin to deliver ominous notes and soon flap away in a frenzy, like a storm fleeing before an even greater storm.
Their warning, meant only for birds, becomes clear to all when the ocean abandons its bed and sails into the sky, carrying off all its denizens (not to mention every ship), while revealing an eerie land of murk and mystery below.
While some might hesitate to plunge into that vaporous realm, for our heroic parents, waiting is not an option.
For even as the ocean rose, Aiku was carried off to the lands beneath it, caught in a conflict between elder guardians and illicit sorceries. With no idea what they’re getting themselves into, our bards and gargoyle head straight into the dim new world.
Will the levitating sea crash down again and drown them? Or might it float away to the stars, taking Aiku with it?
Only in the depths beneath the Oversea, at a place of power where ancient forces forgotten and forbidden converge, will all the pieces and the players come together.
The tides, and the stakes, have never been higher.
Praise for Underneath the Oversea:
“It’s timeless and old school, moving at a non-frenetic pace, yet curiously full of contemporary relevance and excitement. It’s not marked by the frantic overachieving of modern genre worldbuilding, yet it’s still rich and dense. It obviously predates the commodification of fantasy and the splintering of that genre into many niches. It’s not Tolkienesque or paranormal, urban or grimdark. It’s simply… echt fantasy, like Dunsany or Mirrlees, de Camp & Pratt or Hannes Bok. … Laidlaw’s tone and his whimsical, low-key yet alluring inventiveness have a light, eternally fresh style, not anchored to any one era. Yet the whole subtextual theme of a blended family is pure 21st-century topical material, natural and not hammered home. … There are constant surprises, cliffhangers, reveals, and moving sentimental epiphanies throughout these adventures, and at times a Vancian flair for dialogue. … The pristine, primal spirit of fancifulness that does not obey the dictates of marketplace or literary fashions … A book that will transport you ‘beyond the fields we know.'” – Paul di Filippo, Locus Magazine
“This is all really a delight. Everywhere there are wonders – the imagination of the author is a marvel. The novel remains at the same time light-hearted and quite serious – the stakes are high, there is much danger and some loss; but also there is comedy, and sweetness, and love. I was enchanted the whole way through.” – Rich Horton, Black Gate Magazine