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The Red Wolf Conspiracy by Robert V. S. Redick

The Red Wolf Conspiracy by Robert V. S. Redick
Book Name: The Red Wolf Conspiracy
Author: Robert V. S. Redick
Publisher(s): Gollancz (UK) Del Rey (US)
Formatt: Hardcover / Paperback / Audio Book / eBook
Genre(s): Fantasy
Release Date: April 28, 2009

The Red Wolf Conspiracy begins with a special note from the Etherhorde Mariner, in which it states that, “The Imperial Merchant Ship Chathrand has disappeared.”

The story truly unfolds with a young tarboy by the name of Pazel Pathkenkel, who after bouncing from ship to ship, is stranded in the city of Etherhorde by the mysterious Dr. Chadfallow, someone that he has always thought to be a friend to him and his family.

Pazel, whether through good or bad fortune, manages a place on the legendary Chathrand. Upon getting aboard his gift is awakened, a little something given to him by his mother. For a time every language he heard he could understand. It was during this time that he first noticed the Ixchel, a small race of people. They take notice of him and they warn him that if he tells anyone of their existence on ship they will kill him, because sailors hate the Ixchel and everything about them whether true or not.

Lady Thasha Isiq, upon her father’s request, is removed from the Lorg, an academy which she was in essence imprisoned at. Before she leaves, she is given a rare version of the Merchant’s Polylex, which is in essence a reference and guide to almost everything. Upon arrive home she learns that she was removed from school to accompany her father on a voyage on the IMS Chathrand, but to her dismay it is so that she can be married to a Mzithrin prince in an effort to prevent war.

Lady Thasha Isiq arrives on the Chathrand with her father and household. As soon as she arrives aboard, Pazel has a mind fit. The negative aspect of his gift, during which he can’t understand anyone and the world fades around him, takes hold and he is ushered into the Lady’s room where he promptly blacks out. When young Pazel wakes, he meets Ramachni a wizard from another world. Pazel then comes fully awake and finds that he is indeed in the room of the Lady Thasha. She asks about what happened and he tells her about his gift. Their excuse for his presence in her room is languages. Upon learning that he speaks Mzithrin he becomes Lady Thasha’s tutor.

Lady Thasha and Pazel search out Ramachni, who is hiding in her room, and ask where he has been. He tells them that he has been aboard the ship and was searching; from the moment that he came into their world he noticed there was a great power aboard the ship, he tells them that there is a mage of great power and evil on the ship with them. He reveals to them that he has been searching for Pazel, the lowly tarboy, because of his gift. Ramachni teaches him three master words to help aid him, though he must be careful as they can be used only once and then will vanish forever. Pazel insults Thasha’s father, who is to blame for the destruction of his home, and is then thrown from the ship.

As the voyage continues, it becomes more and more clear that something is awry. Dr. Chadfallow, the very man that told Pazel to stay away from the ship, joins the crew shortly into their journey. There are awakened rats aboard the ship, some with malicious intent. Lady Thasha’s continues to see that her father’s wife is hiding something and isn’t to be trusted. It becomes clear that the very ones in charge of the ship have their own plans, being far more sinister than what anyone could believe. The true intent of the voyage was concealed under the guise of a wedding that would prevent another bloody war between the Mzithrin and the Arqual.

From beginning to end I couldn’t put this book down. I couldn’t help but be sucked into this world that takes place mainly on the high seas. The history and world that he has created were clearly evident in his writing. The flow and pacing continued to sweep me along in a whirlwind adventure. The only real problem that I had was that there were times when a new chapter would begin and it would be the captain writing a letter, or certain flashbacks.

The flashbacks didn’t entirely serve to stop the flow; the letters, however, did. The letters do play a role in the story, but there were a few times that I had to muddle through. Once the story began again, I was once again instantly drawn back. I loved the characters, they were realistic and for the most part I didn’t feel like they were cliché or over the top. I liked seeing that the pivotal female character wasn’t just some princess that needed rescuing. Thasha is a strong willed individual that doesn’t like to be the prissy little girl. The use of magic was light, which I thought was a nice change of pace from some magic heavy stories. I think the thing that I loved the most about the story was that I could tell that there were more sinister plots going on; that there are things behind the scenes that I didn’t know about.

Some of these puzzle pieces fell into place as the story goes along, but it wasn’t until near the end when everything starts picking up and I was swept up in a maelstrom of events that the pieces all truly fell into place. There are many things throughout the story that clued me in but I could only guess at where those leads went and what role they played. The ending left me wishing I could read the next book in the series right then and there. I thought that the loose ends that needed tying up were taken care of and I was left with questions of what is going to happen next. Pazel has two out of the three Master words remaining, what will he use them for? By preventing the evil mage from getting the magical item he wanted, the Nilstone, several of the characters are burned and branded with the image of a Red Wolf, I couldn’t help but wonder what does destiny have in store for them in the next books.

Overall beautiful storytelling with tight writing no added MSG or fluff, well developed characters, a flow that I haven’t see in very many books, there were twists and turns throughout the book. Deception, lies and secrets run rampant and I just loved seeing how some of them were exposed and others that I knew about none of the characters pieced together. The suspense throughout was just eating away at me, I loved every minute of it. I would have to give The Red Wolf Conspiracy 4.5 out of 5. Almost 5 but just a little short.



  1. Great review. I read this book recently (the author was kind enough to provide a cover quote for my own novel) and it’s alwyas interesting to see somebody else’s take. Robert Redick has all kinds of writing skill in evidence on these pages.

  2. Avatar Khaldun says:

    I’ve actually been looking at this one for a while now, but with my third reread of GRRM’s series and a pile of new books, I haven’t found time yet. Thanks for the review! I know not everyone was a big fan of Red Seas Under Red Skies, but I enjoyed it so looks like I’ll have to add this one to my list.

  3. Great review! I think you really captured the book. This is still on the top of my “favorite book list”. Love it!

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