The Rats And The Ruling Sea (Voyage Of The Chathrand book 2) by Robert V.S. Redick (UK) /The Ruling Sea (Voyage Of The Chathrand book 2) by Robert V.S. Redick (US title) (book review).

May 1, 2016 | By | Reply More

This is the second book in Robert V.S. Redick’s Voyage Of The Chathrand series. ‘The Rats Of The Ruling Sea’ picks up right where ‘The Red Wolf Conspiracy’ ends.

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Chathrand has arrived at Simja where Thasha is set to be married to a Mzithrini noble. The great peace hinges on this union between Mzthrin and Arqual but so, too, does the conspiracy, for Thasha’s life hangs in the balance. If she refuses to go through with the wedding, Arunis will strangle her to death with the magical necklace at her throat. However, if she does go through with the wedding then she will be assassinated shortly after to ignite the war between the two empires.

Thasha and her allies, including Pazel Pathkendle, Hercol and Neeps, are caught between two horrific outcomes. Do they let Thasha go through with the wedding and complete the conspirators’ plan or do they stop the wedding and stand by helpless while Arunis kills Thasha? They come up with a plan that involves Thasha faking her own death, stopping the wedding, but allowing both empires to save face should ensure peace. Thasha and Pazel think the conspiracy has failed with the ‘death’ of Thasha. However, Sandor Ott has laid in a contingency plan and the wedding goes ahead with one of Thasha’s servants in her place.

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Arunis follows them back to the ship. The conspiracy is alive and well and proceeding to plan as the Chathrand with Pazel, Thasha and their friends trapped onboard, they have no choice but to cross the dangerous Ruling Sea.

Back onboard the Chathrand, which still carries the frozen form of the Shaggat Ness clutching the Nilstone, the source of supreme evil and the key to unlocking a holocaust upon the world. Arunis is seeking a way to free the Nilstone, still trapped in the Shaggat Ness’ grip who turned Pazel to stone using one of the master words of power.

Thus the book starts with the conspiracy from the first book marching on relentlessly with Pazel, Thasha and company seemingly powerless to stop it. Trapped and forced along for the ride, Pazel and his allies must find a way to thwart Arunis and his plans and stop the Chathrand from completing its mission.

I really enjoyed ‘The Red Wolf Conspiracy’ but I must admit that I really struggled with this follow up. I found a lot of it to be disjointed and utterly meaningless to the plot. Characters switch sides with frustrating ease, purely to facilitate plot. For example, Arunis goes to shore on an island to seek out a sybil to aid him in his plot. This time Captain Rose, who has been a co-conspirator of Arunis, now decides to stop him. Why, I have no idea. Once this little race has played out everyone, good guys and bad, all go back to the ship. This is a problem of the central premise of the book for me, there is no real reason for the good guys and the bad guys to be sharing the ship. Surely one would take the chance to maroon the other first chance they got? The book went from scene to scene without any sense of the plot actually moving forwards. The aforementioned scene on the island had no impact on the story and did not seem to matter at all.

Overall, I was disappointed with this book and felt it did not deliver on the promise of the first. I will keep reading though and hope that this book was just setting up some awesome stuff still to come.

Daniel Mason

April 2016

(pub: Gollancz, 2009. 576 page enlarged paperback. Price: £12.99 (UK only). ISBN: 978-0-575-08180-2)

The Ruling Sea (Voyage Of The Chathrand book 2) by Robert V.S. Redick (NB US title)

(pub: Del Rey/Ballantine, 2009. 613 page enlarged paperback. Price: $27.00 (US). ISBN: 978-0-345-50885-0)

check out websites: www.orionbooks.co.uk and http://www.delreybooks.com

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Category: Books, Fantasy

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