Review: The Night of the Swarm (Chathrand Voyage 4) / Author: Robert V.S. Redick / Publisher: Gollancz / Release Date: Out Now
Spare a thought for readers of classic fantasy. In a genre that is chock-a-block with books that are near-identical to one another, trying to find one that delivers the goods while at the same time having something unique about it can be tricky to say the least. Thank heavens then for Robert V.S. Redick, who pulls off epic fantasy with a great deal of style, giving his readers everything they want along with a big bag of surprises.
The Night of the Swarm concludes the Chathrand Voyage series that began with Red Wolf Conspiracy. The main character is not any of the jolly band of rogues on this epic quest but rather the ancient vessel upon which they sail. If that sounds hard to get your head around, it isn't – Redick writes in such a way that you can imagine every creak, every tick, every swell of the ship's timbers. This final book sees the battered and exhausted heroes pitted against the swarm of the title, an unstoppable demonic force that seems sure to overwhelm them.
It's a potentially hoary scenario that only really works when the reader has become invested in the heroes, and as this is the fourth and last book in a series, if you haven’t gotten into the micro-drama that is the lives of Pazel, Tasha and the rest, then you'd be best advised to steer clear. But once you've gotten a feel for this strong cast of divergent protagonists, then there's every chance you will enjoy The Night of the Swarm.
This is a solid ending to a good series created by an often overlooked author, one that fans of Robin Hobb’s Liveship Trader series may want to check out. Though Redick’s style is very different to Hobb's, it is every bit as accessible and fun.