Black Library’s Time of Legends series has shown us some of the great events which have shaped the Warhammer World. In his latest book, Nick Kyme takes us to a new era of blood shed and honour, of grudges and arrogance. Take your first look into the War of Vengeance in The Great Betrayal.
The Great Betrayal focuses on the events and attitudes which led up to the war between the Dwarfs and the Elves known variously as the War of Vengeance or the War of the Beard. The story primarily follows Snorri Halfhand, son of the High King of the Dwarfs, who desperately wishes to prove himself on the field of battle, something which his father seems to be denying him as he struggles to maintain the already tenuous peace between the two races. Yet Snorri’s desire for battle may soon be met as a band of Dark Elves have penetrated deep into the territory of the Old World and have set about the task of bringing the Dwarfs and Elves into battle with each other, something which could end up destroying the two mighty peoples.
Out of this political turmoil we are given a story of truly epic proportions, ranging from the deep depths of the Dwarf holds to the majesty of the Elven palaces. Nick Kyme has succeeded in weaving together an complex and ever changing tale, wherein the reader will see plans being set in motion, only to realise that they are in fact part of much bigger and older plots. All of this carries the reader along towards an inevitable conclusion.
Kyme’s writing style succeeds in creating some of the most intense moments I have found in the Black Library’s collection to date. Whether you are watching the battlefields of Tor Alessi, or the shaving of the Dwarfen ambassadors, this is one book which will grab hold of your attention the whole way through without becoming devolving into a series of confused imagery.
What impresses me most about this book is that, despite the inevitability of its outcome we nonetheless are left hoping that things might be resolved. It is this hope which really draws us into the story as we become helpless observers to the steadily failing relationships between the Dwarfs and the Elves. Just when things look to improve, Kyme pulls the rug out from under us and the events carry on once more at an increased pace.
Having said all this, The Great Betrayal is by no means a perfect story. For the first part of the book in particular, the writing style seems to be very slow, despite opening on an excellent battle scene. The pacing of the story can quite often be erratic, with parts of the story quickly leaping ahead and then plodding along at other points. All of this can leave the reader feeling at times impatient and slightly lost with the proceedings.
The writing style can also drag the story down at times, being superfluously flamboyant in an attempt to establish an epic atmosphere. This is particularly noticeable in the opening chapter, with the very first paragraph of the book being totally swamped with adjectives.
Despite these faults, The Great Betrayal is nonetheless an excellent first instalment into this new series of the Time of Legend books, leaving you desperate to start some Warhammer battles between Elves and Dwarfs. Whether you’re on the side of the Dwarfs or Elves, this book will leave you in the mood to start settling your differences on the battlefields of Warhammer and I personally cannot wait for the next instalment. Do not miss this one.