Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Unusual Reviews

The Ruling Sea
Robert V. S. Redick
Del Rey, Feb 16 2010, $27.00
ISBN: 9780345508850

Almost everyone believes that the ship Chathrand sunk at sea. However, the vessel did not, but chances are great it will sink as Thasha Isiq and her two companions Pazel and Neeps know they must cross The Ruling Sea; something no ship has ever done and their Captain Nilus Rose refuses to try. They have no choice if a world war is to be avoided as they possess the powerful Nilstone.

Others want to gain the Nilstone in order to use its power for personal gain. In particular the wizard Arunis, irate over his defeat at the hands of vanished peer Ramachni and the sea travelers (see the Red Wolf Conspiracy), chases after the Chathrand because the Nilstone will enable this spell-caster to ignite a war between empires. Others like Felthrup the Rat and emperors and queens with more ambition than sense also wants the Nilstone. However, there remains one even more insidious evil lurking in the bowels of the ship that makes the wizard, the rat, the emperor and the queen look benign at the same time the heroes know their goal may not exist.

This is a super sea quest fantasy sequel that continues the adventures of Thasha and her comrades, but their most powerful ally Ramachni has left to heal. The story line is fast-paced and filled with action, but it is the cast who make The Ruling Sea a great thriller. Thasha and her allies know the risk they take sailing on water in which no one has allegedly crossed to a land that probably does not exist except in mythology. At the same time there are plenty on board and giving chase who want what they possess. Robert V. S. Redick writes a great tale of heroes and villains as the second Chathrand Voyage heads south into the dangerous uncharted sea. Harriet Klausner

The Hualapai Cycle
Jason Walters
Black Wyrm, 2010

“Desert Dawgs”. In the Black Rock Desert, Chris and James ignore warnings while driving on the isolated Playa until they hit a big dog who is breeder Tyson’s “significant other”.

“Phat Albert”. PH tells Sheriff Sal that a gigantic mountain lion killed horse breeder Barker, his two big dogs and a steed; he escorted a hunter and his son after the animal.

“Judas Horse”. He betrayed his species of wild horses running free by luring them into a man’s trap until he learns they will be sold as dog meat.

“Big Momma”. At the Burning Man festival, Oberon warns Uncle Hank he will relocate if they fail to do something about Big Momma the dust coyote who sexually kills people.

“Tweaker Creek”. Iverson the fireman arrives at Hank’s Hualapai Club drenched in blood and tells Hippie what happened at Smoke Creek; home of meth tweakers, coyotes and kids.

“Crippled Stray”. Since her Joe died and her children moved away, old Maude is lonely and wants to die even after she rescues a crippled stray calling him Joe and bonding with the wild beast.

“Mexican Cowboy”. Lupe the vaquero asks his beloved Shuttup Amy to marry him; this may be the first time that someone shut up loquacious Amy, who flees to the Granites.

“Guerrerro’s War”. Sheriff Sal informs Guerrerro that he arrested his best friend Hippie for murder because Senator Willow caught him burying a skull. Guerrerro acts strange as he works to free his buddy.

These are eight well written but dark and stark tales of life in and around Hualapai on the Black Rock Desert; home of the Burning Man annual festival and even rock punker Sid Vicious recognizes the eeriness. Harriet Klausner

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