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Phil Smith

Phil Smith has created a fascinating world right on the cusp of a new age. It’s a world I hated to leave. Heart of the Sea follows a young prince who flees his kingdom to establish a new nation that grows in power and influence and becomes the world’s best hope in stopping a spreading evil. Smith weaves together economics, politics, intrigue, spies, magic, and even intelligent parrots, in an absorbing epic that reaches an earth shattering climax—literally. As the young Prince’s island nation grows in power and influence, so will your love of the characters.

~ James F. David
Author of Footprints of Thunder


The Heart of the Sea drew me in on several levels. First, it’s a great story, delightfully told, with humor and insight. It is impossible not to like the hero, Danys, Prince of Melotia, and his sidekick (and the story’s narrator) Denver Milton. Danys doesn’t really fit the mold as the heir to the Melotian throne, a fact which is widely recognized in the kingdom. As Danys’ father lies on his sickbed in the castle, the serious-minded elements in the court are restive, convinced that Danys would lead Melotia to ruin if he ever becomes king. They set into motion a series of events that change in unexpected ways Danys’ life, the history of Melotia, and the fate of the entire world.

Along the way the reader encounters a series of interesting characters – Glens the parrot; Hamid Stanthar, the ship’s captain; Kateryn, the daughter of the fifth family of Leotiny; and many others. Each comes into the story from a unique direction, and finds his or her life changed in different ways by what happens.

The story is nearly impossible to put down, but it is only the surface of what is in the book. Smith is clearly a deep thinker, and has built The Heart of the Sea on a foundation of serious ideas. Smith explores some of the most important questions of public life: the nature of leadership and community; the interactions between coercion, freedom, and commerce in building and defending the good life; and the range of responses free societies have to threats of violence and tyranny. Smith keeps this solid infrastructure in its proper place, as background to the story, which is ultimately about the private matters of self-discovery and the nature of human love.

All these strengths drive the story and move the reader, but over all what will make The Heart of the Sea linger in the memory is Smith’s sheer inventiveness. Creativity lights every corner of the book, but perhaps shines brightest in the unique and utterly fascinating social structure Danys finds in Leotiny, the merchant seafaring nation whose choices will determine the shape of his life – and the world’s.

~ Ron Mock, lawyer & educator


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