Excerpt from The Red Wolf Conspiracy by Robert V. S. Redick, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The Red Wolf Conspiracy

by Robert V. S. Redick

The Red Wolf Conspiracy by Robert V. S. Redick X
The Red Wolf Conspiracy by Robert V. S. Redick
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Apr 2009, 464 pages

    Paperback:
    Jan 2010, 544 pages

    Genres

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Kim Kovacs
Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt

Chapter One
Tarboy

1 Vaqrin (first day of summer) 941

Midnight

It began, as every disaster in his life began, with a calm. The harbor and the village slept. The wind that had roared all night lay quelled by the headland; the bosun grew too sleepy to shout. But forty feet up the ratlines, Pazel Pathkendle had never been more awake.

He was freezing, to start with - a rogue wave had struck the bow at dusk, soaking eight boys and washing the ship’s dog into the hold, where it still yipped for rescue - but it wasn’t the cold that worried him. It was the storm cloud. It had leaped the coastal ridge in one bound, on high winds he couldn’t feel. The ship had no reason to fear it, but Pazel did. People were trying to kill him, and the only thing stopping them was the moon, that blessed bonfire moon, etching his shadow like a coal drawing on the deck of the Eniel.

One more mile, he thought. Then it can pour for all I care.

While the calm held, the Eniel ran quiet as a dream: her captain hated needless bellowing, calling it the poor pilot’s surrogate for leadership, and merely gestured to the afterguard when the time came to tack for shore. Glancing up at the mainsails, his eyes fell on Pazel, and for a moment they regarded each other in silence: an old man stiff and wrinkled as a cypress; a boy in tattered shirt and breeches, nut-brown hair in his eyes, clinging barefoot to the tarred and salt-stiffened ropes. A boy suddenly aware that he had no permission to climb aloft.

Pazel made a show of checking the yardarm bolts, and the knots on the closest stays. The captain watched his antics, unmoved. Then, almost invisibly, he shook his head.

Pazel slid to the deck in an instant, furious with himself. You clod, Pathkendle! Lose Nestef’s love and there’s no hope for you!

Captain Nestef was the kindest of the five mariners he had served: the only one who never beat or starved him, or forced him, a boy of fifteen, to drink the black nightmare liquor grebel for the amusement of the crew. If Nestef had ordered him to dive into the sea, Pazel would have obeyed at once. He was a bonded servant and could be traded like a slave.

On the deck, the other servant boys - tarboys, they were called, for the pitch that stained their hands and feet - turned him looks of contempt. They were older and larger, with noses proudly disfigured from brawls of honor in distant ports. The eldest, Jervik, sported a hole in his right ear large enough to pass a finger through. Rumor held that a violent captain had caught him stealing a pudding, and had pinched the ear with tongs heated cherry-red in the galley stove.

The other rumor attached to Jervik was that he had stabbed a boy in the neck after losing at darts. Pazel didn’t know if he believed the tale. But he knew that a gleam came to Jervik’s eyes at the first sign of another’s weakness, and he knew the boy carried a knife.

One of Jervik’s hangers-on gestured at Pazel with his chin. "Thinks his place is on the maintop, this one," he said, grinning. "Bet you can tell him diff’rint, eh, Jervik?"

"Shut up, Nat, you ain’t clever," said Jervik, his eyes locked on Pazel.

"What ho, Pazel Pathkendle, he’s defendin’ you," laughed another. "Ain’t you goin’ to thank him? You better thank him!"

Jervik turned the speaker a cold look. The laughter ceased. "I han’t defended no one," said the larger boy.

"?’Course you didn’t, Jervik, I just - "

"Somebody worries my mates, I defend them. Defend my good name, too. But there’s no defense for a wee squealin’ Ormali."

The laughter was general, now: Jervik had given permission.

Then Pazel said, "Your mates and your good name. How about your honor, Jervik, and your word?"

Excerpted from The Red Wolf Conspiracy by Robert V. S. Redick Copyright © 2009 by Robert V. S. Redick. Excerpted by permission of Del Rey, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Join BookBrowse

and discover exceptional books
for just $3.75 per month.

Find out more


Top Picks

  • Book Jacket
    The War Librarian
    by Addison Armstrong
    Emmaline Balakin believes in the power of the written word — books have changed her life. When...
  • Book Jacket: The Book of Goose
    The Book of Goose
    by Yiyun Li
    Yiyun Li's The Book of Goose is a story of childhood friendship between narrator Agnès, a one-...
  • Book Jacket: Big Red
    Big Red
    by Jerome Charyn
    Jerome Charyn made his name as an author of detective novels, and over the years he has taken his ...
  • Book Jacket: If I Survive You
    If I Survive You
    by Jonathan Escoffery
    In If I Survive You, author Jonathan Escoffery portrays a family falling apart with grace. Main ...

Book Club Discussion

Book Jacket
The Bell in the Lake
by Lars Mytting
The engrossing epic novel - a #1 bestseller in Norway - of a young woman whose fate plays out against her village's mystical church bells.

Members Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    Our Missing Hearts
    by Celeste Ng

    From the author of Little Fires Everywhere, the inspiring new novel about a mother’s unbreakable love in a world consumed by fear.

Book Club Giveaway!
Win A Minor Chorus

A Minor Chorus

A debut novel from a rising literary star that brings the modern queer and Indigenous experience into sharp relief.

Enter

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

G R T Bad R

and be entered to win..

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.