June 7, 2011 by dracs
Any fan of the Warhammer Fantasy books published by Black Library will be aware of C.L. Werner. Most famous for his Witch Hunter series, his books never fail to entertain and my latest read is no exception. Prepare to set out on a quest of epic proportions in Runefang!
During the time of the Three Emperors, before the rise of the Magnus the Pious, a great evil has once again arisen, bringing with it a tide of undead to beset the Empire province of Wissenland. The land’s only hope rests in finding the legendary lost runefang of Solland, taken when an orc horde had overrun that now lost state. And so a small band sets out on this perilous quest for a people’s last hope, but as they are continually confronted by danger and doubt it will take all they have to even find the weapon, let alone get back in time to save Wissenland.
This book contains the two things which I believe can make any Warhammer Fantasy novel good, namely Halflings and Ogres. Those aside, it is still and incredibly entertaining read and easily lives up to the expectations one would hold for such an established Warhammer author as C.L.Werner.
The plot takes you on an action packed quest across the Old World, leading you through trap riddled tunnels, epic pitched battles and heroic last stands in the face of a furious hydra. This, combined with the story’s many twists and turns, cannot help but engage even the most apathetic reader, while its primarily dark and gritty atmosphere is often brightened by Werner’s characteristic wry humour (ogre and halfling again).
The plot itself is primarily character driven and you will quickly find your selves choosing favourites. On the other hand, Werner does seem to have taken a “no one is safe” approach, killing off characters left, right and centre, so don’t go picking those favourites too hastily.
However, this story is by no means perfect. It is by no means original, having a very similar style and plot structure to Werner’s other work Palace of the Plague Lord, which I have reviewed previously. The rate at which characters die is another point I would bring up, as it sometimes can seem somewhat excessive and can even make the plot feel slightly rushed at times.
Having said this, I still think that this book is a thoroughly entertaining piece of fantasy fiction. While knowledge of the history of the Warhammer universe can be useful, it is by no means a requirement for understanding the book, and I would highly recommend it to both veterans of Warhammer and those who are coming to it for the first time.
Collectors of the Empire may be particularly interested in this novel, and Undead users may find some ideas for model conversions and themes (thinking of the undead knights of the Order of the Southern Sword here).
+ Engaging Plot
+ Ogres and Halflings (ya gotta love ‘em)
- By no means original
- Characters dropping like flies