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The Canim

The Canim

  • Canim: a race, used like humanity, or plural, like humans
  • Cane: singular, as in “man”: "Anag’s ears quivered in amusement, but the young Cane said nothing."


Countless Canim inhabit the immense continent of Canea. They are a large wolf-like race. They stand upright to a height of at least 7 feet. Their armies are divided into at least three castes: warrior, ritualist, and maker. The social customs of the Canim are consistent with a race of predators: Any signs of weakness will lead them to attack. If a leader appears weak, he is replaced. They have excellent night vision. Their calvary ride huge mean-spirited bull-like taurga (singular form is taurg).

Ambassador in Alera[]

Before Ambassador Varg began to teach Tavi to play ludus — a kind of layered chess — not much was known about the Canim race to the Alerans. Most of their knowledge was learned om raiding parties. For centuries the only Canes to travel to Alera were the seafaring Narashans, Varg and Nasaug’s range.

The embassy in Alera Imperia is called Black Hall.

It seemed to take forever to reach the Black Hall— a long corridor of dark, rough-quarried stone very different from the rest of the First Lord’s marble stronghold. The entrance to the hall had an actual gate upon it, bars of dark steel as thick and hard as the portcullis to any stronghold. Outside the gate stood a pair of soldiers from the Royal Guard in red and blue (Academ’s Furt chapter 14)




The Warrior caste fight to protect and supply the Makers. They are warded with Bloodstones and carry traditional weapons and armor, though the armor is black which is consistent with a predatory race that hunts at night. Nasaug is a leader of this caste for the range of Narash, as is Varg. In addition, some warriors wear the scarlet steel that is seen in Canim weapons. And some warrior castes wear blue steel armor.


Bloodstone ward

Those of the Ritualist Caste are expected to use their power for the good of the everyday folk, the Makers. Ritualists are the spellcasters or Bloodspeakers of the Canim. The Canim do not wield furies, but are still capable of using magic. With the power inherent in the blood of sentient beings, Ritualists perform sorcery. They also create Bloodstones to ward off their deadly magic. Anyone wearing or holding a bloodstone is safe. Warriors have bloodstones worked into their weapons and/or armor.

The ritualists have been known to do many large-scale sorceries. They have sent large storms, turned the sky red, and can call forth lightning to attack an area or single target. Bloodspeaker Sarl is a leader of this caste (book 3). Master Khral of the Bloodspeakers (book 6) also plays a key role, as does his opposite in character and beliefs, Master Marok.

“They serve a purpose,” Varg replied. “They have the power to bless bloodlines. Increase fertility in our females. Increase the bounty of crops, and to lessen the ravages of storms, droughts, plagues… My people are willing to make a gift of their blood upon death,” Varg growled. “Though there are times when a particularly powerful ritualist forgets that his power should be used to serve his people. Not the other way around.” (Captain's Fury ch 47)
Canim with bloodstone

bloodstone on blade


The Maker caste is protected by the Warrior caste, and supposedly by the Ritualist caste. Makers are the farmers, builders, and working folk. Occasionally Makers are conscripted into the army, but only rarely, if necessary. In battle, they wear lighter armor, and use rusty farm tools as weapons. Throughout most of history, the Raiders are the Canim that the rest of Alera has fought. However, despite being "light" infantry, they are still formidable in combat.


Canea is located across the sea ( Mare Nostrum ) to the West of Alera. It usually takes about a month to sail across to Alera. See Maps for Codex Alera Series

The continent of Canea where the Canim live is huge, the coastline much longer than Alera’s, the population numerous times greater. However, it is divided by hard straight borders into ranges, and each range is completely self-governed, with no unified central government. This has reduced the threat to Alera over the centuries. Unlike Alera, Canea is not united under one leader, but divided into several realms, called ranges. (Princeps' Fury ch 1)

“The word the Canim use for their states translates more accurately to ‘range,’ ” Magnus replied. “The range of Shuar. The range of Narash.” (Princep’s Fury ch 9)
“Each Canim nation [is] home to a populace nearly as great as Alera’s, though settled into a much smaller geographical region.” (Princep’s Fury ch 25)

Ranges/ Maps[]

See map of Canea showing ranges at Maps for Codex Alera Series

Range of Narash[]

Narashans, who live in coastal Narash, were the only Canim to have contact with Alera before Princeps' Fury. Members of this range include Varg, Nasaug, and several ritualists, including Sarl and Marok. This range has an abundance of trees, some of which are used for building ships. Narashans are masters of the sea. This is one of the three largest ranges in terms of pure area, along with Shuar and Maraul.


The range of Shuar is an enormous and highly defensive mountain highland, the northernmost range in Canea. “The entire range is a frozen rock,” so says Gradash. In Princeps' Fury, the Canim and Aleran fleets get blown off-course towards Shuaran’s fortified port of Molvar. Shuarans are highly skilled at building fortifications. Their rocky land and cool climate is not as arable as the population requires, so winters can get hungry. Notable Shuarans include Warmaster Lararl, who is a respected enemy / gadara to Varg. There is also Tarsh — an idiot in command of his crack troops at the port of Molvar — seconded by the very capable Anag.


The Maraul are described in Princeps' Fury as a respected enemy of the Canim of Narash. Their range is full of swamps and bogs. Tavi was able to strategize from detailed records of their battles, obtained by the hunters Lararl sent to Maraul to gather intel.

Other Ranges[]

Kadan Range, Rengal Range, Irgat Range. There are probably more ranges, but they haven’t been named.

Book Spoilers!!![]

In Academ's Fury[]

The Canim are first presented in Academ's Fury. Tavi meets Ambassador Varg in Varg's attempt to warn the First Lord about the guards he's had go missing. He later discovers and warns Tavi about the Vord nest in The Deeps.

In Cursor's Fury[]

Cover art Canim wolf ships

Black Ships Sail East to Alera

Ambassador Varg is being held prisoner in Alera Imperia. Early in the book, he is seen passing the time playing ludus with Tavi. Later, his son Nasaug plays ludus with Tavi, alias Scipio.


Ludus Game


Tavi and Nasaug Play Ludus

Ludus with Nasaug

A large fleet of Canim ships is seen approaching the western coast at the beginning of the book. A Cursor notes it and attempts to report it. Along his way to Aleria Imperia, he finds the First Aleran, a group of legionares made up of soldiers from every realm in Alera, which Tavi has been put in charge of. The First Aleran is moved to Elinarch and, in the process, run across several small groups of Canim attacking the local steadholts.

Tavi discovers that the raiding parties are the Canim equivalent to farmers and that they have yet to encounter the main Canim force. He also discovers that the Canim have completely destroyed the fleet they sailed in on. The Canim attack isn't just a raid, it's an invasion. The Canim are eventually routed at Elinarch. As they're retreating, Tavi finds a female Canim that has recently given birth. The Canim haven't just invaded, they're fleeing their homeland and are trying to colonize, to establish a new home.

Subsequent Books[]

Canim characters play an important role in all subsequent books, Captain's Fury, Princeps' Fury, and First Lord's Fury. The hateful Sarl is replaced by Master Khral of the Bloodspeakers and by Master Marok. In these two books the main canim characters are Khral and Marok, Varg and Nasaug. Another key character is the human Durias, First Spear of the Free Alerans —- former slaves, loyal to Nasaug and the warriors who advise and support them.