Help me remember a fantasy novel from the 90s
February 17, 2015 7:18 PM   Subscribe

Help me remember a fantasy novel from the 90s. Should have been available in paperback form around 1996.

I remember very little about it, but here is what I recall:
- There was a picture of a female swordsman in a red leather suit on the cover; I think this woman was one of the main characters.
- At some point in the story, the characters are traversing an ocean / sea on a ship towed by some kind of sea creature similar to a sea lion – but possibly fantastical in nature. I think the sea lion thing was intelligent and talked via telepathy with the captain.
posted by deathpanels to Society & Culture (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
"Wild Magic" by Tamora Pierce!
posted by lokta at 7:23 PM on February 17, 2015

It could be Wild Magic. Here's a cover that sounds like your description. But it was published in 2005.

IIRC, there is a scene in which the protaongist, a teenage girl, speaks to sealions, but they aren't not towing a boat or anything.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 8:10 PM on February 17, 2015

That doesn't seem right... Sorry I don't have more to go on, my memory is shoddy.
posted by deathpanels at 8:22 PM on February 17, 2015

Any chance it was a reprint of Past Master, by R.A. Lafferty? The protagonist (a time-displaced Thomas More) is guided throughout the book by a friendly "ansel."
An ansel is in appearance a little like a seal of old earth. It can slither with great speed along the land, just as though it were swimming in water. It can walk passably, as a man or as an animal. And it has curious mental powers...

Rimrock the ansel was much larger than any earth seal, and the slicing mouth on him was a meter long.
posted by Iridic at 8:38 PM on February 17, 2015 [1 favorite]

Was it anything in The Sword of Truth? Lots of women in red leather there.
posted by mibo at 9:14 PM on February 17, 2015

Sorry! I was thinking of the part where the main character raises a Kraken, as well as this cover from the early 90s, but that's a Scholastic edition from the UK. Jumped the gun.
posted by lokta at 5:16 AM on February 18, 2015

The Sword of Truth cover looks really familiar. No seal-riders, though. I wonder if I'm conflating several books from that period.
posted by deathpanels at 5:22 AM on February 18, 2015

i totally know that cover she is on a sailing ship, sort of peering out into the distance? First thing that popped into my head was something from Joan D. Vinge, but i haven't been able to find it. The Snow Queen takes place on a water world, but the covers are different.....
posted by th3ph17 at 10:10 AM on February 18, 2015

Liveship Traders series?
posted by metasarah at 4:29 PM on February 18, 2015 [1 favorite]

Long shot, but the description made me think of Anne McCaffrey's books that have the selkie person... Google is telling me that it was part of the Petaybee series, and some of those have a woman in red?

Sorry to not be more specific, but it's been a LONG time since I've read them.
posted by stormyteal at 10:10 PM on February 18, 2015

Also, some of the McCaffrey books feature dolphins, and ships... and most of her series have one form or another of telepathy.
posted by stormyteal at 10:12 PM on February 18, 2015

Back to ask if it was anything by Jim C Hines? Sorry, no link, on phone.
posted by mibo at 8:55 PM on February 19, 2015

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