29 October, 2009

Review: The Rats and the Ruling Sea by Robert V.S. Redick

"Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its five-year mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations; to boldly go where no man has gone before." [Source]
Oops! I am sorry. That belongs definitely to another adventurous journey.
"Alifros: Mysterious world. These are the voyages of the Imperial Merchant Ship Chathrand, her crew and her passengers . Its four books mission: to explore uncharted oceans, to seek out mysteries and secrets; to boldly save the world from a power never faced before." [Source: My brain]

Planet Earth,book shops on both sides of the Atlantic, October 29th 2009. Get your your copy of the next part of the Chathrand voyage log: The Rats and the Ruling Sea (2009) [US][UK]. Written down with lifeblood by the keeper of the log: Robert V S Redick. The log continues exactly at the point where the first part - The Red Wolf Conspiracy (2008) [US][UK], has ended.

The Setup

To my surprise I could use nearly the whole section I wrote for my review of The Red Wolf Conspiracy. I will do it partially because it is not necessary to reinvent the wheel.
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. As far as we know the conspiracy is driven by Arunis Wytterscorm, a 3000-year-old sorcerer. But there are lot more beings involved on each side. And some play their one game....
At the end of The Red Wolf Conspiracy we left Pazel and Thasha Isiq, the young woman he loves on the island of Simja. Thasha is a few hours away from a wedding she does't want but has to fulfil the promise of a mad god's return. Without a break the story continues in The Rats and the Ruling Sea. Follow the events of the wedding and the incredible journey to and through the uncharted Ruling Sea on board the Chathrand, the swimming melting pot of magic, curses, corruption, politics, betrayal, fidelity, faith, trust, hate, friendship, intrigue, epiphany and love.

My Take in Brief

I loved The Red Wolf Conspiracy and was anxious to read The Rats and the Ruling Sea. And I'm relieved. Mr. Redick's writing is still highly original and he still has a knack for drawing you into the story. By using Captain Rose's letters to his father, Editor's footnotes and journal entries by quartermaster Fiffengurt the book breaks the third person narration from several character's point of view. This is highly welcomed and provides even more the variety of this epic (reviewer copy stands at 634 pages) adventure. I have been more than impressed by chapter 38 Holy War. With a length of 40 pages it is like a short story. It is full of action and emotion. And it is the chapter of awakened animals....
Mr. Redick continues the development of his characters. We learn more about their past and their inner conflicts. The main story has its twists and turns. He continues to add non-human species - in this case the so called dlömu - to the existing murths, augrongs, flikkermen, nunekkam and ixchel. He dives into the habits of the Ixchel. the non-human species from the first book. Not to forget the introduction of new characters. And again there are some sub plots where several characters do their own thing. I know that some people found the plot not very complex. But I tell you the devil is in the detail. For me the plot is like the skin layers of an onion.
So far I didn't talk much about my secret star of the series: The Chathrand. Mr. Redick's depiction of the sailing vessel and the life on board is most imposing. I got nearly seasick on the sofa when I read the novel.
With this book Mr. Redick continues on a high level with his a mouth-watering universe full of mystery and wonder . This is one of my fantasy reads of 2009.

Bona Fide's Book Oracle

I'm just the keeper of the minutes. Where are Edi and Bona? My fingers are getting cold....
Edi: "Ahoi! Are you still seasick Bona? Don't clog my brain with your vomited thoughts!" Bona (croaking): "I'm a doctor,not a sailor!" Edi: "The Chathrand is nor starship. And you are Bona and not Bones. Turn the corner!" Bona: "Now I understand why nobody knows Dr. McCoy." Edi: "We survived more than 600 pages full of magic, curses, corruption, politics, betrayal, fidelity, faith, trust, hate, friendship, intrigue, epiphany and love." Bona: "You survived but I enjoyed." Edi: "Don't tell me you liked to be on topgallant, more than 100 feet above the deck." Bona: "I was beyond description. Except when we have been chased by the White Reaper:" Edi: "I can't wait to continue the travel." Bona: "I know you can't withstand to walk Thasha's dogs. It is too funny when you try afterwards to gather the dog dirts by rough sea." Edi: "Bastard! Dou you want me to to tell about how you made avances to Lady Oggosk?" Bona: "Nooooooooo! You know it ain't true. I just tried to spy out her secrets." Edi: "Shall we tell the readers something about the book?" Bona: "No! No! No! Definitely NO! I don't want to share this exuberant adventure with other people. Robert should write for us only." Edi: "I fully agree! We shall tell them instead that this is a poor peace of workmanship. Lousy prose, boring characters, humdrum story, insubstantial world building. Your fingers will rot off because the paper is poisoned by this abysmal stringing together of words". Bona: "Hey keeper of the notes. Write down every single syllable of our extraordinary well done judgment. And then send a mail to Robert V.S. Redick that we need immediately the next book of the series." Edi: "He is too stupid to do it. Let's make it simple for him: Book is bad don't read it!" Bona: "And add the wise words of the eguar:"

Dear readers I present you the minutes of Edi and Bona:
"Book is bad; don't read it!" ******
The wise words of the eguar:
"Acceptance is agony denial is death." [p. 381]

******Attention! Attention! Attention! Attention!
Clarification by the keeper of the minutes: That is an ugly Edi and Bona joke!!!

More Chathrand Voyage and More Robert V.S. Redick

For more information about the world and their ships sail to the official home of the Chathrand Voyage series - The Red Wolf Conspiracy.
For all readers of the books Robert V.S. Redick keeps a journal - Letters from Alifros.
Information about the author himself you find at Robert V.S. Redick and on facebook.
There is also a map of Northwest Alifros available - either online or for download.

And not to forget : There will be finally four books! Concerning title of book three I have two different information. When I follow the hint in the reviewer copy it will be The Night of the Swarm. But Robert V.S. Redick wrote me that it will be The River of Shadows. I need to clarify this.
Update: Robert Redick told me that The River of Shadows is the title of book three and The Night of the Swarm is the title of book four.

Origin of the copy

Through the kindness of Mr. Robert V.S. Redick I received a reviewer copy of The Rats and the Ruling Sea which I read and used for this review.

Do you live in UK? Would you like to get a copy of The Rats and the Ruling Sea?
Then enter Competition: The Rats and the Ruling Sea.
Closing Date: Friday 6th November 2009


Legolas said...

Oh my goodness!

Edi and Bona had been run away just another time.
This time on a really big, big ship.
They always blame me for running away.
Verily I say unto you: To herd cats is easier than to keep control about both of mine.

The keeper

ediFanoB said...

Do you live in UK? Would you like to get a copy of The Rats and the Ruling Sea?

Then enter Competition: The Rats and the Ruling Sea.
Closing Date: Friday 6th November 2009