The Imperial Merchant Ship Chathrand is the last of her kind. Six hundred years old, the secrets of her construction long forgotten, the massive vessel dwarfs every other sailing craft in the world. It is a palace with sails, a floating outpost of the Empire of Arqual. And it is on its most vital mission yet: to deliver a young woman whose marriage will seal the peace between Arqual and its mortal enemy, the secretive Mzithrin Empire. But the young woman in question-Thasha, the daughter of the Arquali ambassador-has no intention of going meekly to the altar. For the ship’s true mission is not peace but war-a war that threatens to unleash an ancient, all-consuming evil.
As the dark conspiracy at the heart of the voyage unfurls, Pazel Pathkendle, a lowly tarboy with an uncanny gift, will find himself in an unlikely alliance with Thasha and her protectors: Hercól, a valet who is more than he appears; Dri, the queen of a race of tiny stowaways who have their own plans for the great ship; and Ramachni, a powerful sorcerer from another world. Arrayed against them are the Chathrand’s brutal captain, Nilus Rose; the Emperor’s spymaster and chief assassin, Sandor Ott; and the enigmatic Dr. Chadfallow, a longtime friend to Pazel’s family whose kind words may hide a vicious betrayal.
As the Chathrand navigates treacherous waters to complete its mission, Pazel, Thasha, and their allies-including a singularly heroic rat-must also navigate a treacherous web of intrigue to uncover the secret of the legendary Red Wolf.
The Red Wolf Conspiracy (2008) is the first published novel by Robert V. S. Redick. It is the first book in the epic fantasy quartet The Chathrand Voyages. The Red Wolf Conspiracy is an adventure novel, riddled in mystery, political unrest, and a good old fashioned sea voyage to bring the plot together and put the icing on the cake. The plot of the story centers around creating an alliance and peace between two rival powers and the Chathrand is the vessel to make the alliance possible. First, the crew of the Chathrand will have to traverse the dangerous seas.
The setting of this story takes place on the Chathrand, a 600 year old ship that would make the titanic look like a row boat. We have multiple POV characters in this novel, each one containing a dark secret or a hidden agenda. It is the dream of every tarboy, also know as a deck-hand, to sign up for the Chathrand and sail the ruling seas. One of these tarboys is Pazel Pathkendle, he has a hidden skill where he can translate any language but gets occasional fits and sickness. Due to his gift, he gets angled into a dark conspiracy on the Chathrand. There is Thasha, daughter of the Emperor’s ambassador being forced to leave her studies as she gets drawn in to a political conspiracy that will effect multiple kingdoms. Nilus Rose, the long lost captain of the Chathrand, is looking to regain his honor with secrets of his own. Finally we have Dr. Ignus Chadfallow, an imperial surgeon who from the beginning has a personal relationship with Pazel and it becomes more prominent throughout the story.
There are also several animals and “awakened creatures” introduced to us in this world and Mr. Redicks take on them is highly original and engrossing. There are the Ixchel, small creatures but fierce, devoted, and will not stop until there mission is complete. They are an integral part of the plot and provide some comic relief as well. Mr. Redick’s deep exploration into the history and lore of his story is both gargantuan and wonderous to behold. Learning about the previous naval wars, the shifting of powers, and descriptions of the five kings power during the war are some of the best writing I have seen in fantasy. Mr. Redick’s writing is very smooth and descriptive but not overbearing and he has a knack for drawing you into the story and not letting go.
When you enter the Chathrand for the first time, it is like visiting a cathedral. The ship actually becomes a character with the dozens of floor and secret rooms containing a mystery or a curse. The Chathrad is in everyway a living legend ripped for discovery and exploration. The Red Wolf Conspiracy does end rather abruptly and I immediately had to pick up book 2 to know what will happen next. Get ready to jump on board the Chathrand for the voyage into the ruling seas and beyond. You will not want to miss it!
Oh heck yes! I need to read this book!