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The Red Wolf Conspiracy by Robert V. S.…
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The Red Wolf Conspiracy (2008)

by Robert V. S. Redick

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A grand ship departs from a harbor in the Empire of Arqual. 600 years ago this ship was built and named the Chathrand. For a very long time this was a magnificent ship of war, a floating outpost of the empire, but now its goal appears to be peace. The ship is to make sail for Mzithrin, an enemy empire, to deliver a young noblewoman so that she can marry a Mzithrini Prince and so bring peace to both empires.
But, is everything what it appears to be? Or is the last mission of the Chathrand not meant to bring peace, but war instead?

It began, as every disaster in his life began, with a calm. The harbor and the village slept. The wind that had roared all the night lay quelled by the headland. The Bosum grew too sleepy to shout.

Pazel, a tarboy on a ship known as the Eniel, has a secret nobody knows. More than five years ago, when all was well and his homeland was not destroyed by the Arquali, his mother bestowed a gift upon him. As a result he can now understand, and speak, every language spoken to him or about him, without having to learn it. However this gift can be a curse as well, because after some days of enjoying the gift, he will get a seizure. This seizure will ensure that nobody can understand him, and that he can't understand a single word spoken to him. When found out, it will mean certain death for Pazal. But somehow, fate brings him to the Chathrand.
While Pazel finds his way to the great ship, another person finds her fate changed.
Thasha, daughter of Admiral Isiq, wishes to leave the school she sees as a prison. She hates the women who teach her, hates everything around her, and most of all detests the woman who, in Thasha's opinion, is to blame for her situation. Her father's consort, Syrarys, has her father's hart in her hands but Thasha is sure that she is planning something.
When suddenly she is called back by her father, she thought of herself as the most lucky to escape her prison... Only to arrive at her elderly home to be informed that she is to marry a Mzitrini Prince.
Admiral Isiq, his consort and Thasha will not sail with an ordinary ship, but with the Chathrand.

While Thasha desperately wants to flee from her marriage, Pazel tries to stay alive, only to find out that everything is not the way it seems. Peace seems not to be the goal for this last voyage of the ship, but war again. For the ship bring with it a dangerous dark power, one that seeks the ultimate source to become the king of kings, the ruler of all the world.
And then it even looks like the dead, are not really as dead as everyone thought.
It all comes together, in The Red Wolf Conspiracy.

On that first occasion his gift lasted three days- and ended as it always would, in a mind-fit.
This was pure horror. Cold talons seized his head, the odor of custard apples filled his mouth and nostrils, and the purr rose to an ugly, hysterical sqauwking. Pazel shouted for his mother. But what came from his mouth was nonsense, a baby's blather, noise.

I liked this book.
There was a lot of detail in it and I liked the way Redick brought the whole life-on-a-ship-thing it was very well written and made it imaginable to even me. Also a plus is the way he created this world including history, animals, superstitions, religions and so on. He created this all included view of this world in which there is war between empires. There's even a thing called The imperial boys registry, when a boy not from Arqual origin goes there he can buy his citizenship.
Though at some points there are gaps in the time line, which are later filled when you'll hear it spoken off between characters, I didn't find this irritating.
What I didn't like so much was that in the last quarter of the book, everything seemed to go too fast. Let me explain:
Throughout the whole, everything builds up slowly. You'll get to know about Pazel and his story, Thasha and hers, the conspiracy... and then in the end everything is somewhat forced to go faster, or so it seemed to me. A lot suddenly fell together too quickly. And because of that I would have liked a different ending. Not that I don't want the read the sequel, I almost always want to read the sequel, but that was not because of a great cliffhanger or anything, that was more because of the little sneak peak in the back of my edition. ( )
  Mybookfile | Mar 15, 2016 |
First book in fantasy series. Good but not my favorite ( )
  mgriel | Jan 18, 2016 |
I'm always a fan of jumping into a series that already has two books out...that way I'm not waiting to read the next installment. That is until I get caught up and am sitting on the edge of my seat waiting for the next one..... this is one of those series.

Its a story we can all get behind... unlikely heroes being thrown together to not just save themselves but the world in which they live. Though political intrigue usually puts me off, Mr. Redick has the right amount mixed with adventure and a touch of magic as a cherry on top. I found myself not wanting to put it down because I wanted to see how young Pazel was going to save himself, find his family and fall in love with...of course... the princess.

The twists and turns made sense and kept me on my toes. By the end of the book I was left wanting more and yet the first book ended where it should. It gave you just enough closure and left you wanting more.

Pazel is a great hero and Thasha is a great heroine. If you remember anything about growing up you should feel a connection to each and understand their situations. As more of the main characters are introduced, Mr. Redick gives you enough pieces of each to understand their motives and their actions.

You don't have to be a seafarer to understand this story. Simply love a good story of grand adventures. ( )
  BubbaPat | May 6, 2014 |
The Red Wolf Conspiracy
Book One of the Cathrand Voyages
By Robert V.S. Redick

Pazel is stranded by those he trusted and is left to fend for himself he soon finds himself on board The Cathrand, a six hundred year old behemoth of a ship. Also on board the ship is Thasha who is on her way to her betrothed in order to seal the unity of Arqual and Mzithrin Empire, but it soon becomes apparent that the true mission of the Cathrand is not peace but war Thasha and Pazel along with the help of some extraordinary companions can put a stop to it.

There is no way I could have done this book justice in my brief synopsis, so much takes place and there are so many varied and interesting characters. The book itself starts off a bit slow but this is due to introducing us to the characters, once the book does kick off though it is one twist and turn after another keeping you on the edge of your seat as you wait to see what will happen next. Robert V.S. Redick does a magnificent job of bringing each of his characters and even the side characters to life, but not only this he also adds in some stunning scenery on top of it being a high paced adventure. This is definitely one of the best fantasy novels I have come across and with an ending like this one I cannot wait to see what will be in store.

For more reviews please visit:
http://bookwormrflects8.blogspot.com/ ( )
  BookWormRflects | Jun 13, 2013 |
This is a story of The Chathrand. Built six hundred years go, the great ship is a towering palace on the seas and the last of her kind. Now she sets sail on a mission of diplomacy, carrying the only daughter of the Emperor's Ambassador to a marriage that will ensure the peace between two nations. The rest of the passenger list is diverse, including the ship's psychotic captain, a tarboy with a magical gift for languages, a spymaster and his six deadly assassins, a hundred imperial marines, and a small band of gremlin-like Ixchel stowaways. All look on with wonder and pride as The Chathrand

embarks on this most important voyage...and then the great ship goes missing.

The Good

I loved how this book started -- right away, the reader is informed through a "special notice" that the great ship has vanished at sea, along with the 800 souls she was carrying. (Souls...the choice of that word in the report had a chilling effect on me). Immediately, you're drawn into this mystery and you're flipping to the first page of the first chapter, eager to start the story which would tell you what happened.

I was also impressed with just how much is in this book. There's so much magic and different races and different creatures in this book. Everyone seems to have an element of fantasy surrounding them, like Pazel the tarboy who has been blessed/burdened with a gift/curse that allows him learn and understand any language after only being exposed to them for a short time. But this power, however, also frequently gives him debilitating fits that interferes with his job aboard the decks.

Then there are the Ixchel, a race of tiny people that sailors often consider nothing more than pests because their tendency to stow away aboard ships. There are also the Flikkermen, Murths (like mermaids), and a race of gigantic, enormously strong humanoids called the Augrong, among others. Not to mention the presence of special animals that are "awakened" with self-awareness and the power of intellectual thought and speech. The book is a trove of new and interesting ideas for people who love fantasy fiction.

The So-So

There is such thing as too much of a good thing. The plus of having so much going on in this book can also be seen as a minus. There are a lot of ambitious ideas in this ambitious story set in an ambitious fantasy world, and sometimes it can all get just a little too overwhelming.

The first few chapters were done really well, telling a sequence of events through the eyes of several characters, with each point-of-view picking things up right after where the last one left off. Unfortunately, it also made me feel so disoriented that I had to go back and read through them again just to make sure I didn't miss anything. At this point, there were still a lot of things I didn't understand, but I just made do with telling myself to trust the author, that hopefully there will come a time when everything will be made clear.

Ultimately, everything was explained, which was good, but I still thought it was a lot in the intro to heap upon your reader so quickly.

The Not-So-Good

This is more of a personal preference, really, but I just don't think "maritime fantasy" is for me. Reading about great ships and pirates and the ocean and sailing and all that puts me more in mind of historical fiction, and so I had a really hard time bringing myself back to the fact I'm actually reading a fantasy. It's just really weird. No matter how long I'd been reading this, there was always a moment of discombobulation and confusion when I picked up the book again to continue where I left off.

Unfortunately, it really kept me from being immersed in this book and enjoying it fully. That said, those who love maritime settings and stories about ships would probably really love this. But even though that aspect wasn't exactly my cup of tea, I do have to say I was completely enchanted by the book's fantasy elements. ( )
  stefferoo | May 29, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 25 (next | show all)
The book jacket description makes comparisons to China Mièville and Phillip Pullman, but that's a bit of marketing hype, I think. Those two bend the fantasy conventions to make social or political points in ways that are more, if you'll excuse the expression, literary. While Redick may seem to employ some literary allusions -- is the book that writes itself a nod to Borges, or just yet another cool fantastical concept to pile on? -- for the most part, he is telling a good yarn (no easy trick, either), frequently with some nice imagery.
added by sdobie | editSFSite.com, David Soyka (Jul 1, 2009)
 
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It began, as every disaster in his life began, with a calm. 
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Myself, I do not pray.  The Gods have better means of deciding this world's fate than by taking requests from an old quartermaster.  (Page 215)
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Scant years after a terrible war that shook empires, a 600-year-old ship sails for enemy lands and must deal with deadly assassins, treacherous mermaids, and monstrous slavers in order to deliver a young woman whose marriage will seal the peace.

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