Redick, Robert V.S. The Red Wolf Conspiracy.
DelRay see Random 2008 450p 26.00 978-0-345-50883-6 hs/adult
A ship’s boy with a magical talent, a feisty and reluctant bride, traitors and friends all converge on the gigantic ship Chathrand. What begins as a diplomatic mission ends in a conflict between empires, as well as the forces of good and evil. First in a trilogy of sword and sorcery fantasy novels by Reddick, this beginning leaves the reader salivating for more. A fully-realized fantasy world, conflict between adjacent empires, intrigue, a little hint of romance, traitors, tiny warriors, sentient animals, and magic all contribute to make this debut an absolute page-turner.
Set in a maritime world, aboard the city-sized ship, Chathrand, this novel begins with Pavel, son of a traitor to the empire, a ship’s boy, set to sail aboard the mighty ship. Pavel hides a magical ability which reveals itself in ensuing chapters. Reddick then proceeds to people the ship with Thasha, the bride set to unite the empires, Fedthrup, a talking rat, the devious captain, tiny Ixchel warriors, and passengers who are more than they appear.
The Red Wolf of the title is an artifact, which, when recovered holds the Nilstone, a magical talisman of untold power. Deceit and intrigue, violence and friendship, and many layers of character make this novel reminiscent of George R. R. Martin, Anthony Durham and Philip Pullman. The only downside is that the ending leaves the readers up in the air. One of best fantasy novels of the year. PN