20 July, 2009

Review: The Red Wolf Conspiracy

The Red Wolf Conspiracy (2008) is the first published novel by Robert V. S. Redick. It is the first book in the new fantasy trilogy The Chathrand Voyages. Even I know that there are a lot of reviews available - Fantasy Book News & Reviews, Review Index lists nine reviews - I would like to add my two cents. I read the UK paperback edition which has a different cover compared to US edition.

The Setup

The cover shows you the most important location of the story: Chathrand, an enormous, 600 hundred years old sailing vessel. Home for more than 800 souls. It is the dream of every tarboy - we would say shipboy - to sign up for the Chathrand. One of these tarboys is Pazel Pathkendle,who, due to his fortuitous relationship to several persons, as well as his hidden skill, gets enmeshed in a dark conspiracy. But he is not the only one. There is Thasha, daughter of the Emperor's ambassador - a girl on her way to independence. Nilus Rose, is an excellent but brutal captain and Dr. Ignus Chadfallow is an imperial surgeon and in mysteriously connected to Pazel. The begining hints that Imperial spymaster Sandor Ott and his assassins are following their own plans. And, of course, there are other interesting people - let us not forget the secret folk of Ixchel and the "awakened" animals, mermaids, and... They are all part of The Red Wolf Conspiracy.... Sooner or later they all meet on board the Chathrand, a melting pot of magic, curses, corruption, politics, betrayal, fidelity, faith, trust, hate, friendship, intrigue, epiphany and love. Each chapter is told from point of view of another character.

My Take in Brief

Sometimes I ask myself whether I should read more than four reviews of a book. As I mentioned before, there is a bagful of reviews already available for The Red Wolf Conspiracy. So why should I add one more, and maybe just repeat things you have read before? My main reason is: I really enjoyed this book. Beside that, I read the book and wrote this review in a language which isn't my own - I live in Germany and I'm a bit older than most of the other reviewers :>) This gives me a uniquely different point of view.

Because this is the first book of a new trilogy, I fully expected that the author would take some time to introduce his world and his protagonists; fortunately Mr. Redick does just that. I know other reviewers have criticized the slow beginning. but to me it makes sense. Normally it takes about 30 to 50 pages to get used to the writing style of an author and the vocabulary used. I must admit Mr. Redick makes a good job for a non-native English speakers. The not too long chapters help a lot in that respect.

Mr. Redick's writing is highly original and he has a knack for drawing you into the story. For me it was great to see that our young heroes act like young heroes even though they possess secret skills. They make mistakes and that makes them very realistic and human. Most characters appear to be three-dimensional and are well developed. You can easily connect to them all by the golden thread that makes up the revelation that is The Red Wolf Conspiracy. But there are a lot more plots and sub plots; the novel is a complex web that is masterfully spun to encompass a unique breadth of characters.

When you enter the Chathrand for the first time, it is like visiting a cathedral (e.g. Cologne Cathedral). I was simply awestruck. The ship is its own legend, full of life and mystery. The depiction of the sailing vessel and the life on board is amazing. For me, the Chatrand is the secret star of the book. I compare it with the description of the town Villjamur in Nights of Villjamur by Mark Charan Newton. And there are not only human beings on board the Chathrand. There are the Ixchel, small but full of energy and dynamism - they vaguely remind you of fairies. You won't need dragons and dwarves once you discover Ixchel, the "awakened" animals and mermaids.... Mr. Redick created a mouth-watering universe full of mystery and wonder.

The book starts with a special notice in

The Etherhorde Mariner

6th Umbria 941

Special Notice


Many Fear a Tragic End for the Great Ship and 800 souls

And the whole book serves to explain this notice. I can't wait to read the next book....

Bona Fide's Book Oracle

I must admit I'm not a friend of ratings. I prefer to explain why I liked/disliked a book or not. Because a 4.7/5 or 87 out of 100 doesn't mean much to me. Therefore I consult Bona Fide's Book Oracle which is a kind of inner dialogue. Bona Fide pesters ediFanoB with questions about the book like: "Please compare the book with an other object." Mostly the result tend to make sense.

The Red Wolf Conspiracy is like a gorgeous gown. Colorful, beads, frills, buttons, ribbons, feathers, hidden pockets, scented sachets, several layers of cloth. Every detail is like a person with her own history, thoughts and plans. All bent together by a golden thread whose stich is anything but random. So far, we have discovered the surface and the first layer of cloth. But fortunately "dressmaker" Redick is working on the next layers. We expect the next delivery soon...

Don't read this book if you get sea-sick, have an aversion for talking animals and mermaids, or if more than two main characters is just too much for you, you get a rash when you hear words like politics, betrayal and corruption, or don't like teens who make mistakes, are bored by fantasy, or need dragons, elves and dwarves.


For more information about the world and their ships sail to the home of The Red Wolf Conspiracy.

Piqued Your Interest?

Sorry, but you can't get my copy. Even if I can't use it as a door stopper, for which 480 pages are invariably too small. So, buy your own copy - hardback or paperback or both. And don't forget to buy the sequel The Rats and The Ruling Sea which will be released in October 2009 in the UK. Poor folks in US have to wait until February 2010 or set sail to an oversea bookshop... which I don't doubt some will do given gripping The Red Wolf Conspiracy (US) (UK) has been.


Unknown said...

Great review!

ediFanoB said...

@ Shellie,
thank you. I hope the review express how much I liked to read "The Red Wolf Conspiracy".

Sweet Book Delights said...

Great review, I see you've got a different opinion from Chilli's take on the Red Wolf Cons but I think that's one of the great things about reading - everyone will take something different or something new from a book :]
Awesome indeed,
Chocolate xx

ediFanoB said...

@ Sweet Book Delights,
first of all thank you Chocolate for compliments. I agree with you. It is fascinating to read the opinions of two different people who read the same book. But the most important thing is the we all enjoy reading.

Sweet Book Delights said...

Chocolate xx

(And Chilli is screaming 'hi' up from downstairs lol!)