I am a huge fan of mermaids, so I have to share The Mermaid and the treasure of the Bay by A Algeri.
Check out this beautiful cover by Cora Graphics!
The Mermaid and the treasure of the Bay by A Algeri is fantasy and science fiction with a little history thrown in. Wrapped within the fantasy, I read about court life and a woman’s place in the world. The Mermaid and the treasure off the Bay is a character driven novel, telling Brinn’s story and sharing the people that surround her.
Brinn is a free spirit that feels like she is being placed in a cage where all her actions will be dictated by others expectations. As she struggles to retain her identity, she also delves into the legend of the lost treasure of Nyar Kaad. Could finding the treasure allow her the freedom she desires so much?
Even though The Mermaid and the treasure of the Bay is not really a suspense novel, A Algeri’s writing kept me in a state of unrest…expectancy. A hint of malice followed Brinn throughout the story. I love suspense thrillers, so I kept expecting Gilbert to… or for her to be discovered breaking into…I love how he blended all these elements together leaving me no option but to read on.
I grabbed at the chance to read The Mermaid and the treasure of the Bay because of the cover and…MERMAIDS. I am always on the lookout for another “fishes of the sea” story. A Algeri doesn’t hide the fact that Brinn is, or will be, the mermaid. Her love of the ocean drives her to defy her mother and the aristocratic dictates others expect of her. If she had her way, she would never leave Nyar Kaad for the court life. She just needed a way to make that happen. A Algeri kind of skipped over the part where she learns how to transform and I would have liked to have more of that…a lot more. I wanted to swim in the ocean with her, race the fishes and feel the water washing over my “skin”.
I am very impressed by this debut novel and I wonder…is there more to Brinn’s story?
I received a copy of The Mermaid and the treasure of the Bay by A Algeri.
“The Mermaid and the treasure of the Bay” is the first adventure of Brinn, a young woman who had recently returned to her homeland, Nyar Kaad, after years of being away.
For her mother and sister it’s only supposed to be an episodic stay, because their intention is to return to the capital, Adaria, held by both aristocrats, by then, to be their home. Brinn, however, isn’t interested in living in the golden cage of high society and aspires to a different existence, that will push her to oppose the decisions of her family and to pursue a destiny according to her own wishes.
The accidental discovery of what looks like a map to hidden treasure, buried in Nyar Kaad, according to tradition, by pirates once dwelling in the settlement, will push her to search for the hidden riches- an undertaking that the protagonist will face courageously, at the cost of challenging her fears, the rigid social conventions, and more literal dangers to her person, venturing on a journey into the local legends and the past of her own family, until reaching an unexpected epilogue.
Set to Isara, a fantasy world inspired by the period between the seventeenth and the first decades of the nineteenth centuries, “The Mermaid and the treasure of the Bay” is a journey full of mystery in the universe where real and supernatural coexist intersecting in a subtle and insidious way, a world divided between palaces and largely unexplored expanses, an opulent capital and boundless oceans.
“The Mermaid and the treasure of the Bay”, is the first publication of A. Algeri, the author of the novel. He began writing while he was a teenager, setting most of his stories in the world of Isara, a fantasy universe of his own creation, where Brinn, the main character of this adventure, is often the protagonist.
I decided to head towards the beach. I had always felt a special bond with the sea, since I was a child and my return to the ocean shores was for years my secret aspiration that I had long believed would remain unfulfilled. I wanted to fully appreciate it as long as it was possible to stay lost in this fantasy. Beyond the living room window, passing the garden surrounding the manor, there was a beach that went gently down towards the ocean where the waves died on the shoreline in large surf, leaving white foam on the sand of the foreshore. On the horizon the blue green Nahanshe Sea mixed with the sky mottled only a few white clouds pushed by the breeze.
I put my diary and a book I was reading in my bag and upon reaching the door of the house, I walked along veranda and descended the stairs leading to the boulevard and then after opening my parasol, I continued along the same walkway, crossing first the garden then the sparse blot populated by a few plants that grew near the seashore. At the end of the walkway, I took off my flats and walked barefoot on the beach that already scorched a bit and I headed towards the ocean waves. I loved walking along the coast and being immersed for hours in the pristine waters of the shallow sea bottom letting my long brown hair float, almost immobile in the green blue waters.
A very light breeze blew on the beach and once I was near enough to the shore I felt it caress my arms, barely noticeable. In the air, I only heard the sound of the sea whose waves stretched out along the sand and in the distance the call of marine birds. The air however was full of the smell of salt and ocean water that stretched out infinitively in front of me. In the cerulean blue sky I noticed some seagulls and terns flying.
In my diary I wrote down, with a bit of melancholy, my difficulty choosing the right words to describe the beauty of that moment because I already knew that these would be my last weeks in Nyar Kaad surely for many years.
A part of me forced myself to believe in the possibility of making my mother reconsider her decision, persuading her in some way to not cede the Dawn’s Light if not to directly stay in the province of Salaara, yet I realized that this, more than a possible chance, was my only hope.
My glance lingered on the pristine horizon, where the sky united with expanse of the ocean before starting to write again. I wanted that in the following months I could retrace my words and remember how green the sea was and how the sun warmed me, reopening that page on a boring day in the last months of the year in the cold rooms in the manor in Adaria.
I tried to drive away the thoughts of those freezing fall afternoons in which the city seemed just an entire series of gloomy grays of stones and brooding blacks of slate roofs on which the rain fell non-stop where the only colors that stood out were the sad colors of the few bare trees and the dead leaves that rotted at the feet of their trunks. I tried to bring my mind back to the caress of the hot summer sun on my bronze skin sprinkled with freckles.
I observed a crab moving slowly along the foreshore and a fish jump, breaking, for a moment, the peace of the apparently still water. I half closed my eyes for an instant hearing only, other than the gentle coastal breeze, the slow melody of the waves. How many days I had spent on that beach as a child…before everything changed when I still could take for granted a happiness that seemed to me in that moment distant and unreachable, as if it belonged to a time that was over and lost forever.
I found myself thinking about my father, about our long walks on the beach, and the times that, during the day or evening, the coast was hit by the occasional summer downpour or the summer was interrupted by a rare rainy day. Initially I looked fearfully out my window at the sea, the white crested waves and the sound of the gale on the stormy nights during which the thunder accompanied the winds, howling furiously and in which it seemed possible to me to hear the spirits of men lost among the sea waves whose names were by then forgotten for time immemorial. Then the moment arrived in which the storm had passed and the rays of sun broke up the still thick cloud cover, shining onto the beach in flashes until one ray after another, the light came back to illuminate the heavens and the clouds disappeared, leaving space again in the sky that was clear or veiled only by a few clouds.
My memories came in succession, I wrote down the most moving writing with the style on the white pages, smiling, my soul divided between the pleasure of reinvoking those memories and the bitterness of being aware of the imminent loss of those places and those memories.
Before abandoning myself completely to melancholy, I got up off my beach towel, put my diary back in my bag and headed towards the foreshore. A young lady immersing herself in the water, even wearing a bathing suit that had been part of the traditional culture of Nyar Kaad since before the imperial colonization, would have been simply inconceivable in the cold Adaria with all its absurd rules and little rules. On the other hand, I never cared how inappropriate such a behavior could be considered for the daughter of a lady known for the enormous weight she gave to her respectability.
I went down to the shoreline, walking on the wet sand to appreciate the coolness brought by the ocean; I stood still a moment letting the waves brush my ankles. I started taking my first steps into the lagoon, the shallow sea bottom went on for a dozens and dozens of feet before slowly getting deeper. The water was pristine like crystal. When the water started to touch my waist, I let myself slip under the water, coming out a bit later with my head and letting myself float in the water of the bay.
I half closed my eyes- above me was the clear sky, I perceived the caress of the breeze while the warm water cradled me. I imagined that this had to be the closest feeling to what must have been the feeling of a perfect moment, even if a part of my heart remained shadowed. I stayed in the water for several hours, slowly losing awareness of time as often happened to me when I swam.
I was still absorbed in my thoughts when my mother, leaving the house and stopping at the edge of the beach began calling me loudly, making sure that I didn’t have any reason to not be able to respond: “Brinn! Come to the shore, you’ve been in the water half the morning!” Her tone gave away her slight annoyance.
My mother Karen was wearing a faintly colored cotton satin dress, as was used in the southern imperial colonies. It was a simply cut dress, tight at the waist thanks to the corset worn underneath the clothing that modeled one’s profile into an elegant hourglass figure. The neckline was very modest and the sleeves at three-quarters, the only concession to the hot temperatures in which these were worn. Her hair, a chestnut brown the same shade as mine, was gathered up as was required by etiquette when a lady intended to go outside of her home. Her long limbed figure was immobile on the beach, waiting to be joined. In her hand she held a small parasol the same color of her dress, a pink that softened into white. Both Jennifer and I at first glance looked a lot like her, even if in the bay several ladies maintained that, most of all in the face, I took after my paternal grandmother Claire just as much, and it was not as evident in my sister who seemed to have instead inherited mostly from the lineage of the maternal branch of our family.
I ignored my mother for a bit- it was the method I turned to so as to communicate to her my lack of interest in leaving the water. But after being called two or three times I couldn’t stay any longer and I had to start swimming, not too quickly, towards the shore and return to the beach. I laid down on my beach towel after roughly drying myself.
Annoyed, she came over to me and punctually scolded me. “How many times must I tell you that now you are almost eighteen! Do you realize that you are absolutely not decent? You aren’t a five year old child, you are a woman!”
I looked at her for a few minutes: “I know that I am not a child, and anyway I put on a swim suit on purpose mom. Our ancestors used it since before the expansion of the empire into our land.” I responded without losing my composure.
She responded with a slight but noticeable annoyance: “You know perfectly well that for the etiquette of Adaria…” she paused briefly, inhaling while she reflected on the term to use “similar behavior is frowned upon.”.
I smiled for a moment: “I don’t recall ever having taken a swim in the capital, mom. The sea is too far away.” I said, and she looked at me with a look of clear disapproval as her response.
“Come back in the house as soon as you’ve finished drying off” she concluded curtly, taking her leave, but still maintaining that look before distancing herself and then going back into the manor.
I stayed on the beach, seated on the towel that I had laid on the hot sand. I didn’t want to go home nor be involved in the conversations of my mother and Jennifer, who were busy talking only about our imminent return to the capital at the end of the vacationing season. Both were normally so taken by their futile conversations that they didn’t notice my absence so I decided to keep waiting until I could go back in the water with having mom pay attention.
I should have let my bathing suit dry, in which case she would have insisted anyway that I came back in so I decided to wait on the shore. To further discourage my mother from attempting to establish a conversation, which would have probably led to a heated discussion, I opened my diary and began writing some of my impressions of that luminous tropical morning, avoiding so much as turning my head towards the Dawn’s Light.
The sun burned in the sky and its rays caressed my skin; the breeze lightly ruffled my hair and lifted the wide brim of my straw hat for a few seconds. My bathing suit was quickly drying and I continued to observe the aquamarine colored ocean, staying turned towards the shore.
ABOUT A ALGERI
A. Algeri is the author of “The Mermaid and the treasure of the Bay”, his first published novel. He began writing while he was a teenager, setting most of his stories in the world of Isara, a fantasy universe of his own creation.
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