Robert V.S. Redick

The Ruling Sea
The Rats and the Ruling Sea (UK)

Book II of the Chathrand Voyage Quartet

From the cover:  The plans of the dark sorcerer Arunis have been thwarted—for now. But the battle for control of the gargantuan ship Chathrand, on which hinges the fate of empires, is far from over. A small band of allies on board, bound together less by trust than by need, must scramble to fight an imperial conspiracy, while the sword-wielding Lady Thasha Isiq and the deckhand Pazel Pathkendle find themselves unwillingly drawn in to Arunis’s shadow games by unexpected secrets. Worst of all, in the belly of the Chathrand there lurks a festering horror, the product of a malevolent power determined to tear down the pillars of the world. Now, as the Chathrand sets course through the vast Ruling Sea—so large it has never been crossed in living memory—the fragile bonds of trust and love between the unlikely allies will be tested to the breaking point as they face unspeakable terrors, unimaginable wonders, and shattering betrayals that dwarf everything that has come before.

Read the Prologue of The Ruling Sea


“This exciting follow-up to 2009’s The Red Wolf Conspiracy features enough plot twists and double-crosses to satisfy the most demanding lover of suspense. The powerful Nilstone, most recently held by a living statue who was once an insane god-king, is sought by a wizard who wishes to destroy humanity by sparking war between empires. The whole world believes the ship Chathrand to be sunk, but it secretly survives and carries the Nilstone to the fabled lands of the south beyond the Ruling Sea, while a ragtag group of conspirators battle not only the wizard but their own empire and captain in a desperate attempt to preserve the world. Vivid characterizations and Redick’s brilliant depiction of the microcosmic world aboard Chathrand will captivate readers.” Publishers Weekly

“Everything I loved about “The Red Wolf Conspiracy” is back in the sequel in full force starting with world-building that continues to impress for both its scope and its creativeness. In this case, readers will get to learn more about Erithusmé, the Nilstone, ixchel customs, and the wakings as well as the Arquali Empress Maisa, the father of the Mzithrin Empire Sathek, sfvantskor, and yet another fascinating non-human race called the dlömu  … “The Rats and the Ruling Sea” is once again incredibly charming and accessible, and a lot of that has to do with Robert V.S. Redick’s engaging prose and dialogue, and tongue-in-cheek humor that wonderfully balances the book’s darker and more dramatic moments…. In particular, the book manages to maintain a high level of excellence from the very beginning all the way to the engrossing finish.” Robert Thompson, Fantasy Book Critic

“All hands on deck for Robert Redick’s excellent follow-up to his debut, The Red Wolf Conspiracy.… What is so clever about this book is the choice of setting – the Chathrand is a huge ship, which provides lots of scope for hidden meetings, factions, whispers of mutiny, and characters not to see each other for days at a time. On the other hand, it is still a ship sailing in to peril, so to whatever extent the characters may dislike one another, they are sometimes compelled to co-operate for the survival of the ship, not least when the Nillstone causes the mutation of the ship’s rats into bloodthirsty, sentient beasts. During the course of the voyage there are various encounters with magical phenomena, fell weather and strange lands, and the Chathrand does well to make it across the Ruling Sea – but the balance of power on the ship is very different to when they left.” Simon Appleby, Bookgeeks

“Its unusual setting and quirky ideas make it a rewarding and absorbing read, and we look forward to the next installment.” Russ Whitfield, SciFi Now

“Despite not reaching the readership it deserved, Robert V.S. Redick’s The Red Wolf Conspiracy was one of the great fantasy debuts of 2008.... The Rats and the Ruling Sea is darker in tone than its predecessor – central protagonists Thasha, Pazel and their incorrigible mate Neeps are older and marked by their horrific experiences last time around. Redick does an expert job of drawing the various members of the ensemble cast into the labyrinthine plot ... This is a compelling read that sets the scene enticingly for the next two parts.” Stephen Jewell, SFX