Saturday, May 15, 2010

Red Wolf

Painting by Ross Bach

I don’t think that it will surprise anyone if I mention that I read a fair amount of science fiction and fantasy. I don’t know what the first book was that got me started, whether it was my parents reading to me as a kid, or what it was they read that got me going, but I have loved the genres for a long time. Early in the memories are one of my dad reading to my sister and me some Isaac Asimov, and my aunt B giving me the first book of The Chronicles of Prydain by Lloyd Alexander, I think that she got me my first Lord of the Rings trilogy as well. I don’t know if these are actually accurate memories or not, but it was a long time ago.

From there Dungeons and Dragons was a short step away, and that hobby of quintessential geekiness carried me up through highschool, with many many books and other role playing games thrown into the mix (Carwars, Battletech, Call of Cthulhu, Elfquest, TMNT/Hero’s Unlimited, Shadowrun, Cyberpunk, Whitewolf (Vampire/Werewolf/Mage), and I’m sure I am forgetting a few more.

Through that group of friends, I was introduced to the Society for Creative Anachronism, but I can’t say that I ever got truly involved, always too many other things going on – primarily school and work.

It is unsurprising I guess, that I have always loved knives and swords as a result of these hobbies, but I digress. I was talking about books, and in particular fantasy novels.

I just finished a new one, from a new author (at least to me). The Red Wolf Conspiracy by Robert V. S. Redick. I was pretty impressed. I don’t know why I really like stories set aboard ships, but I do. And it’s about a kid, so there is a coming of age aspect, and there is magic, but it isn’t overwhelming in a fireball sort of way, as usual, there are prophesies involved, but none of the classic demihumans, no elves, dwarves, etc, but there are crawlies (tiny people), and a few intelligent animals and many more interesting elements. There is a knife that keeps coming back, but I don’t know yet if it has a higher purpose, this is only book one after all.

Unlike a lot of books written with teen protagonists, it doesn’t have a lot of angst. There is a love-story, but it is more subtle, since the characters don’t really seem to have time for it, and there are plenty of things in the way. The motivations of all of the characters certainly are not clear yet, Nor are all of the affiliations, betrayals. I like the twists that keep popping up. A moderately insane captain adds a bit of spice.

In short – Good work Mr. Redick, I guess I’ll have to buy the next book, The Ruling Sea.

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