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The Red Wolf Conspiracy (Chathrand Voyage) Mass Market Paperback – January 26, 2010

4.2 out of 5 stars 100 customer reviews
Book 1 of 4 in the Chathrand Voyage Series

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Terry Brooks Reviews The Red Wolf Conspiracy

Terry Brooks is the New York Times bestselling author of more than twenty-five books, including the Genesis of Shannara novel Armageddon’s Children; The Sword of Shannara; the High Druid of Shannara trilogy: Jarka Ruus, Tanequil, and Straken; and the nonfiction book Sometimes the Magic Works: Lessons from a Writing Life. His novels Running with the Demon and A Knight of the Word were selected by the Rocky Mountain News as two of the best science fiction/fantasy novels of the twentieth century. Read his guest review of The Red Wolf Conspiracy:

Robert V. S. Redick has accomplished something rather extraordinary in his new fantasy adventure novel, The Red Wolf Conspiracy, the first in what I predict will be an eagerly awaited series. His accomplishment is in crafting a story that is a throwback to the days of the European Adventure story writers--Stevenson, Dumas, Scott and the like--a tale that is a gripping page-turner accessible to all ages. I seek stories like this constantly and seldom find them. Here we have a good one. The characters are memorable and fully realized, from the lowly tarboy Pazel Pashkendle to the unwilling young bride Thasha to the half-mad captain Nilus Rose to the powerful sorcerer Ramachni. As the story proceeds, we come to know and care about all of them, the good and the bad, the high and the low. We want to know their fates, and we will follow the writer to wherever we need to go to learn what they are.

It is a spirited and exciting journey. By crafting the bulk of the tale aboard the mega-ship Chathrand, the author has created what is essentially a seafaring tale that reminded me of every good seafaring tale from Moby Dick to Treasure Island to everything by Patrick O'Brian. All the necessary elements are there, and you can practically taste the salt water on your lips and feel the grit of it on the pages. I look for and expect a feeling of honesty and reality in my fiction choices, no less so in fantasy than in other forms, and I was not disappointed here. From the description of the ship and its component pieces to the intricate and dangerous relationships between the characters aboard her, it all rang true.

I don't find many books that I wish I had written, but every so often one comes along. I think the last one was Philip Pullman's The Golden Compass. Here is another. I admire this book for its scope and its power, its language and its imagery, and its fine tight-rope plotting. I could not put it down. I am betting a lot of other readers won't be able to put it down either.

So trust me on this one; you won't be disappointed. Except, of course, like me you have to sit by patiently waiting for the next book. The anticipation is akin to what I experienced growing up with chapter books, when it seemed that every single installment ended in a cliffhanger, and the characters and I were all left hanging together. In an effort to minimize the damage to our fingernails, I will use whatever magic I can conjure up to prod Mr. Redick onward towards completion of book two. You have my promise.--Terry Brooks

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Insane god-kings, miniature warriors and sentient animals fight over a powerful ancient artifact in Redick's dramatic, complex debut. The Mzithrin and Arquali Empires have been locked in a 40-year cold war over the resources and riches of the Crownless Lands on their common frontier. Now the Chathrand, a floating city built as much by sorcerer as shipwright, bears young Thasha, an unwilling bride to an enemy prince. No one seems sure whether this is a sincere attempt to bind the two empires together in peace or merely a gambit in their political games. The tense atmosphere soon erupts as various factions struggle to find and control the myth-wrapped Red Wolf. Both adult and young adult readers will find much to enjoy in this tale of sea-faring and bloody diplomacy. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Series: Chathrand Voyage (Book 1)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Del Rey; Reprint edition (January 26, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 034550884X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345508843
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.2 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (100 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #145,555 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Empires scheme and brace for war in this beautifully imagined, intricately plotted tale. Taking place aboard an enormous ship sailing to a foreign capital on a peace mission, The Red Wolf Conspiracy focuses on two young protagonists, from widely divergent backgrounds, who unearth a scheme that endangers their world. Also aboard are a mad ship's captain, a race of tiny, ferocious warriors, sentient animals, wizards, and others whose agendas are not at all what they seem.

A great and entertaining read, this book's tremendous strength is in the comprehensive imagination of a world in all its fascinating detail. Redick gives us a glimpse of the workings of a vast, ravenous Empire reflected in the lives of characters ranging from peace emissary to political operative to near-slave. It reminded me of the experience of reading Dune for the first time, with throwaway details that hint tangentially at complex, fully-imagined institutions. Cumulatively, they yield a sense of a vast society that is at once fantastic and utterly plausible.

This story is the first installment in the trilogy The Chathrand Voyage, and my one quibble with Book 1 was that it will make for a rather infuriating wait for Book 2. You get the impression this trilogy is elaborately designed, with many more twists and reveals on the way. - think "Lord of the Rings," and imagine how tough it must have been to await the release of those installments.

I highly recommend this engrossing book and I'm eagerly awaiting the next one!
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Format: Hardcover
Robert V.S. Redick's The Red Wolf Conspiracy is a book that takes the realistic movement in modern fantasy as far as possible in an ostensibly literary direction. Despite the setting, the story reads more like a contender for a Booker Prize than a Nebula Award. A displaced migrant worker struggles against an oppressive, misogynistic society. Set against the backdrop of the horrors of war, he bands together with other outcast minorities to forge a new family (in a triumph of the human spirit, naturally).

The setting is overtly - ostentatiously - fantastical. Tribes of tiny humanoids (Ixchel) scuttle around. Sorcerors and mad doctors practice their mystical arts in tandem. The overarching plot (when finally revealed) is similarly decadent. Two ancient empires, colliding in battle. Insane god-kings, long held captive in magical bonds. Ancient evils battle heroes from other worlds, etc. etc. Blah blah blah.

All of that, no matter how grandiose, is incidental. The real story of The Red Wolf Conspiracy is merely that of Pavel, a little boy on a big boat. Of no actual importance, his one SuperSecretHighFantasy ability is a magical ability to understand languages. He doesn't fight. He's not a wizard. He's just a cabin boy with bad headaches and an ear for dialects. He is, quite possibly, the least spectacular fantasy hero of all time. (Redick strikes me as the guy who played the Bard in his D&D group).

The earth-shattering events that surround Pavel are largely ignored by him - he's too busy trying to find a place for himself, in his own tiny world. Pavel is a real person, with real problems. He's got a good heart, so he's eventually pulled along in the meta-plot for understandable, altruistic reasons, but his primary motivation is often just to keep his head down.
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Format: Paperback
This is the best fantasy novel I've read in years! The world Mr. Redick has created is rich and fully realized. It's also unusual--a real departure from the typical fantasy fare. As a reader who knows absolutely nothing about ships and sailing, Mr. Redick's rich prose allowed me to immerse myself in his world with total abandon. And isn't that a big reason we fans read scifi and fantasy?

The plot is intriguing with lots of twists and turns, and the writer keeps it moving along at a quick clip. It's one of those books that make us stay awake all night long reading, because we just can't wait to find out what happens next.

A lot of thinking has been going on here, and that applies to his characterization as well. The characters are all fully human in their personalities, motivations, strengths and weaknesses. And as the mother of two daughters and the grandmother of two little girls, I was particularly gratified to see the strong female characters Mr. Redick has created.

In a nutshell, it all makes sense. And it serves up a heaping spoonful of tension and mystery as well. I can't wait for the second one!
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Like day old sushi, this book didn't agree with me.

Story
A spirited and reluctant noblewoman is shipped overseas to marry a powerful lord in a rival kingdom, but treachery is afoot! An evil wizard hatches a fiendish plot and an unlikely band of heroes must thwart his evil scheme.

World
Robert V.S. Redick has created a unique fantasy world with different races, mysterious creatures, and magic. At first, the fantastic elements are strange anecdotes like, "The Makdors sure are sahzique," then everyone laughs but you. But as the book progresses the world gains depth and becomes rooted in its fiction. The world is grounded in reality. Don't expect epic dragon battles or anything like that, instead, you'll find more protocol between different races: "This is how you deal with Ixchel." Everything in the book is on a fairly small scale and most of the book takes place on a ship at sea.

One complaint, quite a few of the character names and races sound like they were created in a random name generator: Eberzam Isiq, Mzithrin, Diadrelu, Syrarys...

Writing Style
This reads quite a bit like literature. It's pretty elegant. However the pacing is a bit off... the book doesn't really get going until page 120 and it ends abruptly. The strongest part of the book is watching the conspiracy unfold between the major characters.

Characters
This is definitely not an epic band of heroes. Instead, it's more like an unlikely band of misfits. The main character is Pazel, a cabin boy who can speak many languages and often has magical Tourette's Syndrome. Aside from getting captured and thrown down wells, that seems to be the extent of his powers. He's alot like C3P0 from Star Wars, now that I think about it.
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