home

Author Topic: Wanted: book reviews for the Library!  (Read 34430 times)

Offline rufus sparkfire

  • Global Moderator
  • Posts: 33265
Re: Wanted: book reviews for the Library!
« Reply #50 on: July 17, 2007, 11:13:08 PM »
We have a new review, courtesy of McKnight:


http://www.warhammer-empire.com/library/quill/witches.php


We are always looking for more reviews!
Hey, I could still beat up a woman!
If I wanted to.

Offline Justin Hill

  • Posts: 140
  • Marienburg Freeswords
    • fragile army transport bag
Re: Wanted: book reviews for the Library!
« Reply #51 on: July 23, 2007, 06:13:14 AM »
The Last Kingdom  Bernard Cornwell


Bernard Cornwell has been awarded an OBE, sold over 20 million copies, and at a rough count he’s written nearly fifty full-length novels since 1981.   It’s quite a pedigree, which puts Cornwell at the pinnacle of his trade and he’s best know for his Sharpe series of novels, many of which have been turned into a long-running series of TV films, with Sean Bean (aka Boromir) playing the part of the swashbuckling Englishman caught up in the battles of the Napoleonic era.  But Cornwell’s interest has wandered far from Sharpe and Europe and the eighteenth century, and in the past he’s also penned series about the 100 Year War, King Arthur (his self-proclaimed favourite series), the American Civil War as well as nautical thrillers. 
Cornwell’s latest interest is the 9th century, when the various kingdoms of England were completely overrun by the Vikings.  The last king, Alfred, is driven into the marshes of Athelney, but he makes one of the great come-backs of history: not only rallying his troops and defeating the Vikings, but also founding one of the most vigorous dynasties of Medieval Europe: who went on to unite the English speaking peoples and set the boundaries of what is still ‘England.’
The story of Alfred – a philandering youngest son, quite unlike the saintly figure painted in monk’s writings and in the Victorian image of him - is remarkable in that it has attracted so few novels, when compared with the other ‘the Great’ – Alexander, with few major writer tackling this period since Alfred Duggan’s The King of Athelney, in the 1960s. 
Considering that Alfred was the king of Wessex, roughly the part of England in the South and West of England, it’s surprising that Cornwell starts his novel at the other end of the country, in Bamburgh, capital of the High-Reeves of Bernicia, the northernmost half of Northumbria, in the far north and east of the country.  But it allows Cornwell to trace the Viking take-over of England as they pushed further south and west. 
The narrator of the novels is ‘Earl Uhtred’ from a family of Uhtreds, the ruling family of Bernicia in fact, who hold an almost impregnable fort on a tidal island at Bamburgh, a short ride away from the monastery of Lindisfarne.  His childhood coincides with the Viking take-over of Northumbria, and the violence of the times leaves him as a slave in the hands of one of the great Vikings of the time, Ragnar, who adopts him as a son, and he renounces Christianity and proudly wears the Thor’s Hammer. 
As part of Ragnar’s household, Uhtred joins the Viking invasion of Mercia and East Anglia, where the East Anglian king is slain in battle, and Burgred, of Mercia, is bought off and spends his days on the continent, praying for his soul.  Uhtred then joins the attack on Wessex, where the inexorable tide of events is temporarily reversed. 
But the invasion also brings a personal revelation for Uhtred.  When he sees his mother’s brother, a Mercian lord, cut down in battle, he feels his blood-ties to the English tighten and by the time of the next Viking assault on Wessex, led by Guthrum, Uhtred is fighting on the English side, and he is instrumental in saving Alfred’s skin at the battle of Cynuit. 
There’s a complex play of religion and politics and personal loyalty in 9th century England, and Cornwell’s narrative cuts clearly through this Gordian Knot with strong characters, great action scenes and clear motivations for the various characters – many real some imagined - to do what they do.  Cornwell uses old English spellings for place names, which gives a nice flavour to the novel as well as giving insights into the names of places now.  Some names are very similar to the modern, Cornwalum-Cornwall; some are names for places that no longer exist – like Dalriada a part of modern Scotland, and some almost comic: Cornwell’s prose betraying a note of distinct pleasure in the name of Snotengaham – ‘the Home of Snot's people’ – which is the rather unfortunate name for modern day Nottingham. 
There are many details that can bog down a historical novel, but Cornwell is comfortable and efficient in resurrecting the 9th century world around his characters – with its seal-skin rigging and longships and codes of honour and betrayal – and, like the best historical novels, he manages to explain and illuminate the actions and motivations of characters without sounding like a lecture on early medieval life.  His story makes it clear just how difficult it was for English kingdoms to raise and army and defeat an enemy as mobile as the Vikings – able to strike at will like the Huns and Mongols - as well as the techniques and the impression of the shield wall, and the lifestyle of the period.
Cornwell has been dubbed by the Washington Post as ‘the greatest writer of historical adventure novels today’.  ‘Adventure’ is a key word here, which means that these books do not aspire to the standards of the Booker or Pullizter.  Character’s decisions are sometimes over-influenced by the plotting of the story, which needs twists and turns for momentum; the narrator overshadows Alfred, and assigns himself a lot of the credit for Alfred’s victory’s, which slightly defeat’s Cornwell’s self proclaimed reasons for writing the book, which was to  ‘show [why Alfred the Great] gained that title.’  But these are small blemishes on what is otherwise an excellent and exciting read. 

There are three sequels to this novel, two already in print, The Pale Horseman and The Lords of the North, with Sword Song yet to be published.  (Release date Sept 2007 in the UK, January 2008 in the USA). 

Links:
http://www.bernardcornwell.net/index.cfm?page=3 Bernard Cornwell’s Home Page
http://www.bernardcornwell.net/index2.cfm?page=1&seriesid=10 Saxon Novels
http://www.writersfm.com/writersfm/podcasts.aspx Interview on Writer’s FM
http://www.ucsd.tv/library-test.asp?showID=7318 Speaking on University of California TV

Offline robfromkoeln

  • Posts: 68
  • Old World Reaver
Re: Wanted: book reviews for the Library!
« Reply #52 on: July 23, 2007, 02:48:02 PM »

Hi guys,

I am always looking for a good bit of renaissance historical fiction -- the period being of great interest to myself, and of course my warhammer army of choice being Empire-inspired. I have just scived from work for half an hour to read the site's book reviews.

Justin, I enjoyed your review of the Last Kingdom.

As you have written some acclaimed books, I guess writing for GW was a totally different experience for you!

In Justin's defence, and although I have never read a GW book, my impression is that they are written for a younger audience, and words and phrases will be repeated as part of a formulaic and very basic scene-setter for the readers.

I look forward to Justin writing a renaissance tale outside the authority of GW -- who, by the way, are responsible for the proof read, and probably dumb down the writing to perhaps widen the potential audience.

Anyway, here are some of my favourite books that I recommend highly to Empire players:

Neal Stephenson's Barque trilogy. As said by Pistol Pete on page 2 of the thread, this is an amazing three-part story -- the type you never want to end.

He mixes explanations on the rise of science, economic models and our political foundations in a hilarious, gripping and epic adventure tale. He even weaves in a slice of fantasy with his shadowy alchemist Enoch Root.

This book has cheeky Cockney no-good, Jack Shaftoe, rubbing shoulders with the brilliant Isaac Newton, the fabulous French Sun King, evil slavers, rebellious reavers, the Ottomans, you name it!

They romp from Ireland to India, and it is a laugh a minute, punctuated by the odd stretch on modern scientific foundations. Whatever you do, push through the first scientific speedbump if you find it hard to understand, there is always a reward on the other side.

Book Two 'The Confusion' is the shortest in the trilogy (still 800-pages), but it is my favourite -- the plot fast-paced, fantastical and gives you an amusing (often insightful) idea of swashbuckling pistol and cutless life in 16th Century Europe, Egypt and the farer east.

Q -- by Luther Blissett. Another piece of historical fiction that at times plants its tongue firmly in cheek.

Written by four Italian self-titled anarchists (who pen under the name of Luther Blissett), Q follows the adventures of 'Gert from the Well', from the time he as a young student is swept up in the uprising stemming from Martin Luther's famous thesis hammering, to the Peasant rebellion in Munster, and on wards.

Set in 16th Century Germany, the background is Empire through and through. Action, battles, laughs, loves, intrigue, historical insights -- you'll never field a warrior priest again and you will straight up reject the idea of a Sigmarite army after reading this one. The 16th Century Church is darker than the devil in this book, which like Stephenson's trilogy, does a good job of explaining the wheeling and dealing of the Church and nobility, and the rise of banking.

Check it out!

Just quickly, must get back to work... another good look at the later renaissance is books in the Captain Alatriste series by Arturo Perez-Reverte.

Pacy, funny, powder, pistols, daggers and doublets. I have read the first two books where dog of war Captain Alatriste and his Madrid are introduced. I need to find The Sun Over Breda (Book 3) in which Alatriste returns to fight with his Spanish Tercio in Holland - can't wait to read Perez-Reverte mass pike and shot battle scenes -- the smaller scale fights in books 1 and 2 are a treat!

Happy reading!

Offline rufus sparkfire

  • Global Moderator
  • Posts: 33265
Re: Wanted: book reviews for the Library!
« Reply #53 on: July 27, 2007, 04:47:48 PM »
Many thanks for the reviews! They have been added to the library.
Hey, I could still beat up a woman!
If I wanted to.

Offline Justin Hill

  • Posts: 140
  • Marienburg Freeswords
    • fragile army transport bag
Book Review: The Pale Horseman, Bernard Cornwell
« Reply #54 on: October 04, 2007, 03:37:27 AM »
The Pale Horseman story starts with Uhtred, the Northumbrian narrator, enjoying his victory over the Danes at Cynuit (which actually happened the following year, but has been brought forward by Cornwell to fit in with his storyline).  But instead of riding hard to Winchester to bring the news to get the reward due to him, he rides home to enjoy the virtuous heiress Alfred has married him to.   Youth is one reason for this oversight. Uhtred is just twenty-year old at this point in the story, which seems young until you realise that many of the leading figures of the Dark Age are men barely into their twenties.

The rather unwarlike Odda the Younger takes the news to Alfred instead.  He takes full credit for the victory, leading to a confrontation with Uhtred, who is plunged into a personal combat which he cannot win.  In a recent interview, Cornwell said he likes to trap his heroes in a narrative cul-de-sac with no hope of rescue, and then finding a sudden opening to get him out of trouble.  It is at this point that one of the doors opens, and the narrative really takes off, running with the story of Alfred the Great’s defeat and return.   

The Alfred story is fairly well known: Vikings attack his hall at Chippenham in the depths of Yuletide, and he is driven into the swamps of Athelney, all but defeated.  But from the marshes he gathers an army at Egbert’s Stone, and defeats the Danes at the Battle of Edington. 

Edington is one of those truly defining battles of history, which, if Alfred had lost, would probably have meant the end of the English nation as we know it.  Because Alfred’s West Saxons won that day, he went on to define and cemented the concept of the ‘Anglekyn’; went on to begin to unify the four kingdoms of East Anglia, Mercia and Northumbria; promoted literacy and the church; and had the Bible translated into English, 700 odd years before Martin Luther.  He defined Englishness, which his successors built on, their concept was strong enough to withstand both Knut and fifty years later, William the Bastard. 

Cornwell follows pretty closely the line of the Anglo Saxon Chronicle, which amplifies the problems that Alfred faces, to make his subsequent come back even more remarkable.  But having chosen someone other than Alfred as his key figure, Cornwell is forced to give Uhtred much of the credit for Alfred’s subsequent victory, while Alfred is cast as something of an over-bookish fool.  This is a drawback of the novel, especially as Cornwell’s stated aim of the series was to show how remarkable Alfred’s achievements were, but Cornwell is a master of creating and illustrating the worlds he recreates: and he is at his best in bringing into vivid detail the challenges and horrors and difficulties of Dark Age England.  Although a little divorced from the probably succession of events Cornwell is a master of narrative, and this is an enjoyable and entertaining page-turner. 

Offline rufus sparkfire

  • Global Moderator
  • Posts: 33265
Re: Wanted: book reviews for the Library!
« Reply #55 on: October 04, 2007, 08:27:18 AM »
Thanks for the excellent review! It has been added to the library:


http://www.warhammer-empire.com/library/quill/pale.php
« Last Edit: October 04, 2007, 10:01:44 AM by rufus sparkfire »
Hey, I could still beat up a woman!
If I wanted to.

Offline Phydox

  • Posts: 1097
Re: Wanted: book reviews for the Library!
« Reply #56 on: October 18, 2007, 02:09:23 PM »
Hey I figured I would take a minute to do a review of an off the main stream book that was reccommended to me.  Honestly, I was skeptical when the suggestion was made to read it.  Enjoy....

World War Z by Max Brooks

Basically this book is supposed to be a collection of personal accounts of a World War between humans and zombies.  The book isn't a novel with the same characters from beginning to end, but rather a collection of interviews that an individual, hired by a government review committee, has put together to explain the outbreak, panic, blame, and failings of a war with humans infected by a virus that "raises the dead".  Each interview is written as if it is a different speaker with different prejudices, and views of the world.  Its very well done.

In a basic sense, this is a zombie book- the shambling, the moaning, eating the flesh of living, BUT its different.  The horror of the book isn't blood spatter and gore.  Max Brooks scares you in a more subtle way  similar to a writer like HP Lovecraft.  He makes you consider the "What If this were real, could our society really cope?".  Sadly, I know I found myself often saying " You know I actually could see this kind of response happening."  Mankind facing global extinction, and theres still selfish people trying to make a buck- even when money is useless.

The book goes a lot deeper then just being a zombie war book.  Max Brooks also exposes many of the problems of our society:  Greed, government incompetence, and reality TV.  He also ties in a lot of current global events with the book, which makes it seem all that much more "real".

He does an excellent, well thought out job of presenting original ideas about what a war of this type would entail, and the problems of ignorance (and denial).  The book is loaded with memorable scenes.

Even if your not really into the horror scene, this book, in a certain way, could be seen as a shout that exposes social ills in the world, and tries to be a wake up call to encourage society to fix these problems.

Gadzooks!!!  Release the Pigeon Bombs!

Offline McKnight

  • Posts: 3558
  • Its the No. of posts that make you a veteran-gamer
    • Arnie!
Re: Wanted: book reviews for the Library!
« Reply #57 on: October 18, 2007, 06:16:50 PM »
Ah Phydox, I have also read it and i agree with you, it is superb, although i had waited long for it and already had a positive thought about it. But hell its good and it really makes the reader identify one with the many authors!


Looks like you got some life in the old library, RufU:happy:
« Last Edit: October 24, 2007, 04:00:07 PM by rufus sparkfire »
"Me? I'm practically perfect in every way!"- Rufas the eccentric.
Rufas had Two Ton Sally. I have Silicon Sally!
EuroBashes attended: 1

Offline rufus sparkfire

  • Global Moderator
  • Posts: 33265
Re: Wanted: book reviews for the Library!
« Reply #58 on: October 24, 2007, 03:59:21 PM »
Hey, I could still beat up a woman!
If I wanted to.

Offline McKnight

  • Posts: 3558
  • Its the No. of posts that make you a veteran-gamer
    • Arnie!
Re: Wanted: book reviews for the Library!
« Reply #59 on: October 24, 2007, 05:11:01 PM »
Hehe sorry Rafus*, typical typo, i've been writing too much to Rufas the eccentric i think  :-D


I'll see if i can get some reviews for the last Mathias Thulmann book ready, but time is rare for me atm

yes i know its rufus... hehe
"Me? I'm practically perfect in every way!"- Rufas the eccentric.
Rufas had Two Ton Sally. I have Silicon Sally!
EuroBashes attended: 1

Offline Karl Voss of Averland

  • Posts: 4729
  • Captain of Loningbruck
Re: Wanted: book reviews for the Library!
« Reply #60 on: November 23, 2007, 04:24:24 AM »
I just finished reading Warhammer: Mark of Chaos by Anthony Reynolds. Looking through this post I didn't see it reviewed, but I'd be more than happy to write a review for the library if you'd like.

-Voss
Quote
I sexually violated the cat.  When we have children I will push harder for this time honored and enjoyable tradition

Remembering what Rufas started and endures in us all

Offline rufus sparkfire

  • Global Moderator
  • Posts: 33265
Re: Wanted: book reviews for the Library!
« Reply #61 on: November 23, 2007, 10:30:22 AM »
I'd be more than happy to write a review for the library if you'd like.

Yes please! We always want more reviews.
Hey, I could still beat up a woman!
If I wanted to.

Offline Karl Voss of Averland

  • Posts: 4729
  • Captain of Loningbruck
Re: Wanted: book reviews for the Library!
« Reply #62 on: November 25, 2007, 08:35:20 PM »


Mark of Chaos by Anthony Reynolds

   I’ve been eyeing Warhammer Fantasy fluff for awhile now and this is the first book I have picked up regarding the subject – and my second Warhammer novel ever (the other being Fifteen Hours by Mitchel Scanlon). I can’t compare Mark of Chaos to any other Warhammer novels, and I’m sure there are better books out there, but for a fantasy book dealing with the Empire fighting the evils of Chaos, it was a great read. It is also roughly based on Namco’s popular real-time strategy game of the same name.

   The book sets the scene during the rule of Magnus the Pious just after the Great War against Chaos. The Empire, though victorious is slowly rotting away from various raids from the north and corruption within. The book follows the story of two characters, Stefan von Kessel the young Captain of Ostermark, and Hroth the Blooded, a Khorne champion. The book alternates chapters telling each character’s story.

Stefan’s grandfather, the former Elector Count of Ostermark, was found worshipping a chaos god and killed by the inquisition. Gruber, a fat sickly man took over as the Elector Count and had Stefan’s face branded with a hot iron when he was born – giving him a “mark of chaos”. Stefan is wary of having the taint of chaos within him and is consequently self-conscious and unsure. His story follows mostly his search for reclaiming his good name and saving his province of Ostermark from Chaos and corruption within.

Hroth the Blooded is a Chaos champion for the Blood God Khorne. He and his war band along with the sorcerer Sudobaal travel around raiding Ostermark. His band of Warriors slowly grow in power and size as Hroth battles other Chaos champions to prove his worthiness and his favor in the eyes of the Chaos god’s.

The book also weaves the stories of these two characters together with others, such as the High Elves in the North and the Norsicans, until they all collide in an epic conclusion. The author does an excellent job of depicting all sorts of Empire units familiar to players of the table top game. Stefan meets the Marshall of the Reiklandguard (later to become the Reiksguard), a quirky engineer and his Hellblaster Volleygun, a mighty Warrior priest, and a host of other recognizable characters that really put me into the Warhammer world. The author’s description of the towns, winter terrain and even the mighty fortress of Talabheim really set the scenes well. You’ll shiver as the soldiers march over the frosty, muddy ground. Your heart will pump as the author describes the tense combat between characters in gory detail. You’ll puke when Stefan meets the evil spawn of the Chaos God Nurgle.

Overall I’d say this is a must read for someone looking to get into Warhammer novels or an Empire fluff connoisseur. The author tells a magnificent story that even made me start writing a story of my own. The book does suffer a little from “fantasy formula” syndrome, but what fantasy novel doesn’t?  The book does become “predictable” here and there, but even in the most predictable areas I still couldn’t put the book down. I thoroughly enjoyed it and would recommend it to anyone interested in the subject!

Rating: 4 Great Cannons out of 5

-Karl Voss
Quote
I sexually violated the cat.  When we have children I will push harder for this time honored and enjoyable tradition

Remembering what Rufas started and endures in us all

Offline rufus sparkfire

  • Global Moderator
  • Posts: 33265
Re: Wanted: book reviews for the Library!
« Reply #63 on: November 25, 2007, 11:14:30 PM »
Excellent! Thank you very much indeed.

http://www.warhammer-empire.com/library/quill/mark.php
Hey, I could still beat up a woman!
If I wanted to.

Offline Karl Voss of Averland

  • Posts: 4729
  • Captain of Loningbruck
Re: Wanted: book reviews for the Library!
« Reply #64 on: November 25, 2007, 11:36:04 PM »
No Problem! Glad I could give back to the site!
Quote
I sexually violated the cat.  When we have children I will push harder for this time honored and enjoyable tradition

Remembering what Rufas started and endures in us all

Offline neverness

  • Posts: 544
    • The neverness hobby chronicle
Re: Wanted: book reviews for the Library!
« Reply #65 on: December 15, 2007, 05:49:44 PM »
Fell Cargo by Dan Abnett

The premise is that an infamous pirate warlord, Captain Lucca Silvaro has been spared prison time and execution by the Prince of Luccini with the added bonus of Letters of the Mark and Reprisal The letter of Mark charges him, and crew, with the task of hunting down the butcher ship and if successful they’ll be pardoned for their crimes. The butcher ship is a mystery pretty much until the climax of the book, though clues as to it’s true origin and power are gathered throughout as they hunt it down.

The plot isn’t so straight forward, as they encounter new ships and towns, the course of the characters (and there are a lot of names to keep track of) often shifts dramatically and suddenly. This was sort of my favorite aspect of this read, it wasn’t that I knew that the basic plot would take us to the final fight, but who would make it there and come out a survivor was quite the mystery.

Abnett’s only fault, I think, was not including a terminology glossary in the back. He throws around sailor jargon and maritime speech like the average reader would be expected to know it. One doesn’t always have a dictionary handy at times, and I think that would help some readers out quite a bit.

I hope Abnett does another story with these characters and that it’s as good if not better than the story here. An Amazon reviewer noted that Pirates of the Caribbean was a huge inspiration for this book. Heck, anyone who ever does anything with pirates again are going to find their work compared to those films, but this story was far more intense, gorey, grittier and nastier. This would make a fun film to watch, very visual story, but Holywood would never make it due to the lack of any love interest. -Another reason why I like it!  :eusa_clap:

-neverness.
« Last Edit: January 01, 2008, 10:51:55 PM by neverness »

Offline rufus sparkfire

  • Global Moderator
  • Posts: 33265
Re: Wanted: book reviews for the Library!
« Reply #66 on: December 16, 2007, 11:13:01 PM »
Hey, I could still beat up a woman!
If I wanted to.

Offline neverness

  • Posts: 544
    • The neverness hobby chronicle
Re: Wanted: book reviews for the Library!
« Reply #67 on: January 01, 2008, 10:54:55 PM »
Thanks! i really enjoyed that book! I've never read a book (or seen a pirate movie) with that many exploding wooden ships, cannonballs, and sheer maritime carnage before. It simply rocked!

Re: Wanted: book reviews for the Library!
« Reply #68 on: January 02, 2008, 12:22:56 AM »
Can I make the recommendation that there is some sort of rating system on the titles?  I'm interested in reading some Warhammer books, but when I just see title after title, I must admit that it's a bit much to want to go through each review to find which is best. 

Offline Midaski

  • Sunny Sussex, England
  • Administrator
  • Posts: 11391
Re: Wanted: book reviews for the Library!
« Reply #69 on: June 04, 2008, 11:05:09 AM »
Just thought some of you might like to know that

http://www.play.com/Books/Books/6-/RegionHome.html

are doing some Warhammer books at 2 for £7.00

I have bought Heldenhammer by Mr "I'll take S4 anyday", and Runefang by C.L.Werner

In the UK that's post free and the books are £6.99 list price.

 :icon_question:
Also has anyone read the "Daemon Gates" trilogy by Aaron Rosenberg?

The "Hour of the Daemon" is on offer, but it looks like the third part, and the other two are available but not on the special offer, and you really have to read all three parts of a trilogy .......

I was wondering if anyone reckons they are worth it?

Quote from: Gneisenau
Quote
Metal to Finecast - It is mostly a swap of medium. 

You mean they will be using Ouija boards instead of Tarot cards for their business plans from now on?

Offline wissenlander

  • Posts: 7158
  • The original Graf of Brennenburg
Re: Wanted: book reviews for the Library!
« Reply #70 on: January 22, 2009, 02:48:57 PM »
The Empire at War: A study of the great battles of the Empire

I posed the question a while ago in this thread about The Empire at War:  was it worth reading and potentially acquiring.  I was fortunate enough to get my hands on a copy and have given it a good once through and offer my view for those of curious mind.

Overview
This book is written from the perspective of a retired Imperial general.  In a sense, this is the Empire’s Art of War.  The grizzled veteran takes us through five different battles to emphasize varying tactical and strategical elements.  The battles contained within the tome vary in scale from the insignificant to epic, and covers a wide range of Imperial history:  each battle has a different aspect that allowed the winning general to achieve victory.  To understand if this work is worthy of your time and money, I will briefly outline the five battles (hopefully without giving away great detail).

Talabec (Civil War)
Chapter 1 brings us to the beginning of the Imperial civil war where the rivalry between Talebecland and Stirland commences.  It highlights an obscure, but often talked about aspect of Imperial history.  It was very much a clean slate chapter, with nothing ever having been done in that aspect before (to my knowledge). 

There are a couple of missed opportunities here, in my opinion.  The Elector of Stirland has no name, which is very disappointing.  Also, there is mention of allies to both sides, but little is mentioned outside of a few passing references.  Averland’s colors were even misrepresented.

Still, I actually found this to be the most interesting chapter.

Hel Fenn
One of the most famous battles in the annals of Imperial history, Chapter 2 retells the story of the end of the Vampire Wars.  This one comes under a little more scrutiny, only because there is some information already available.  Army books touch upon it, and there is a series about the Vampire Wars done by Black Library (these books I have not read so cannot say how good or accurate they are, but be aware that some information may be conflicting).

The strategy used by Martin of Stirland was one borrowed from another great battle in history (the real sort of history).  I won’t ruin that surprise, but I found it quite obvious that there was some outside inspiration in that regard.  No fault to Count Martin, for this is how great generals learn. 

My one complaint with this chapter is that some of the more well known facts of the battle were left out.  Perhaps it was a given that these events occurred and the reader can plug them in as they see fit, but it is another instance of frustratingly inconsistent writing. 

Blood Hollow
This battle focuses on a lesser Hochland noble’s campaign against marauding orcs in the Middle Mountains.  As far as significant timeline alteration, this campaign is very far down the list, but is rather recent in Imperial history. 

It is significant in the fact that it is a completely new piece of fluff, but is of little interest to anyone but Hochlanders or general fluff enthusiasts.

Kislev’s Gate (The Great War against Chaos)
This chapter comes under greater scrutiny than does the Battle of Hel Fenn, for this is one aspect of Imperial history that is (decently) well covered.  However, unlike Hel Fenn, I found this chapter not wanting.

I believe this is a great expansion point for those interested in the reunification of the Empire.  And I must say the artist’s interpretation of what Magnus the Pious looks like is not what I had in mind.  But everyone is entitled their opinion.

Black Fire Pass
The final chapter harkens back to the birth of the Empire, when the mighty Sigmar lead an alliance of tribes and dwarfs against the masses of greenskins.  I know there is a book published by Black Library that tells the tale of Sigmar, and one would hope that there is some consistency between the two texts. 

But in this piece, the author gives great detail about the formation of the alliance and the battle itself.  A very interesting portrayal of tactics used millennia ago in our burgeoning Empire.

Conclusion
As with many Black Library publications, there are some drawbacks.  There are a few spelling errors, but not as many as I had expected.  Some inconsistencies present themselves, which leaves the reader baffled and in the position to try and piece together varying sources to allow for a fuller picture.  But possibly the greatest issue with the book is the narrowness in which it covers.  The only provinces of importance are Talebecland/Talabheim, Stirland and Hochland.  Battles involving coalitions do little to mention the allies.  Unless you have any interest in one of these provinces or a thirst for fluff in general, you may find the book to be a disappointment.

Overall, I enjoyed this book greatly.  It was a quick read (almost too quick) and the art work was well done.  There were many pictures that were retreads, which I had seen in 4th – 7th edition army books, but I do believe some of the artwork was original.  Where this book comes into its own is in the aspect of the unique and original maps.  There are also added inlets, highlighting various formations, regiments, weapons, allies, etc.  With the heavy imagery involved, it is no wonder this book is going for a higher price now a days, though.

Stealing Karl Voss’ rating system, I would give this a 4 out of 5 great cannons for the mere fact that it gives greater detail to some of the more important struggles our Empire has encountered.  As with anything, the detail could be greater, but I am of the opinion that anything that expands our little fantasy world and doesn’t destroy its integrity is worth reading.
« Last Edit: January 23, 2009, 01:21:02 AM by wissenlander »
Me and Wissenlander had babies!

not together.

finding photographic evidense that Wiss smiles is going to be hard...

Offline wissenlander

  • Posts: 7158
  • The original Graf of Brennenburg
Re: Wanted: book reviews for the Library!
« Reply #71 on: January 23, 2009, 07:52:41 PM »
Blood on the Reik:  A journey through the Old World

This book is written from the perspective of an elderly diplomat who is in declining health.  The book is a summation of his life’s travel.

It’s a brief work and mainly a sketch book.  I enjoyed it for the simple fact that it’s from a Wissenlander’s perspective and he goes into some stories about Wissenland itself (nothing major) and other cultural folk tales and the like.  It is a good inspiration book, for anyone who wants to get a feel for the grittier parts of the Empire.  Definitely a resource that someone wanting to run a WFRP campaign would want to look through, as it tends to focus on the plight of individuals as opposed to the grandiose sweeping armies.  Anyone who enjoys artwork may find it worth while as well, but I’d encourage a flip through before a purchase.

I don’t regret the acquisition as I’m of the ilk that just enjoys any ‘official’ source of WFB fluff, especially if it’s Empire centric.  But coming from the generalist, I’d give it a rating of 2 out of 5 great cannons.  There just isn’t enough meat to warrant a purchase of this book unless you are interested in any of the aspects that I listed above. 

My apologies Herr Helmgart.
« Last Edit: January 23, 2009, 07:55:29 PM by wissenlander »
Me and Wissenlander had babies!

not together.

finding photographic evidense that Wiss smiles is going to be hard...

Offline rufus sparkfire

  • Global Moderator
  • Posts: 33265
Re: Wanted: book reviews for the Library!
« Reply #72 on: January 25, 2009, 11:07:34 PM »
Thanks for the reviews! Write some more.

I don't much care for 'Blood on the Reik' either. It's an awkward combination of unimaginative text (too much stolen directly from real history) and insane artwork.


edit: added to the reviews section.

http://www.warhammer-empire.com/library/quill/quill_index.php
« Last Edit: January 25, 2009, 11:45:48 PM by rufus sparkfire »
Hey, I could still beat up a woman!
If I wanted to.

Offline Midaski

  • Sunny Sussex, England
  • Administrator
  • Posts: 11391
Runefang - C.L. Werner
« Reply #73 on: February 23, 2009, 07:33:27 PM »
I finished reading Runefang last week.

Synopsis:
Wissenland is under attack from an undead horde. Some Necro has been released from a tomb and is on the march attacking all before him:  the last time he existed, he was defeated by the Solland Runefang, which is apparently different to the Wissenland Runefang which the current count has.
So a team go off to find the Solland Runefang, so the Count can use it to kill the Necro again.


Strange book - it's the first C.L.Werner book I've read, and so I cannot comment if it's his normal style.

For me it was a very average read, evidenced by the fact that I had been reading it for a few weeks,  without the urge to finish it - or maybe I should just say I could put it down easily.

400+ pages and it takes a while to get going, lots of character introduction, several of which turn out to be of little consequence. It's over a 100 pages before the 'team' get going on their quest.

We have lots of nobles, remnants of knight chapters, mercenaries, the usual 'oddbods' mix, a traitor in the camp, and I kept wondering who was going to be the book's hero, and I was still wondering with just a few pages to go ...........  :engel:

There are actually a couple of runefangs around, and there are a couple of twists. It switches back and forth a bit from the quest to what is going on with the Undead invasion, and I did find myself wondering about the time scales and geography on a few occasions as the Undead Horde marched around and the Wissenland Count nipped off for a parlay on the Averland border.
It may have been that the geography of forays into the Black Mountains and the towns attacked and the previously mentioned 'parlay' is all reasonable, I just felt that if I'd have looked it up on a GW map and it was ridiculous I might have not bothered to finish the book.

Most of the plot is guessable. The fight scenes are numerous and reasonable - some better than others - the orcs ones leading the way.

Around 6/10.
« Last Edit: February 23, 2009, 07:45:36 PM by Midaski »
Quote from: Gneisenau
Quote
Metal to Finecast - It is mostly a swap of medium. 

You mean they will be using Ouija boards instead of Tarot cards for their business plans from now on?

Offline rufus sparkfire

  • Global Moderator
  • Posts: 33265
Re: Wanted: book reviews for the Library!
« Reply #74 on: February 23, 2009, 10:45:56 PM »
Lovely! Thanks for the review.

I have to say, I am mystified why anyone would want to read any of these books.  :icon_lol:


Added to the Library:

http://www.warhammer-empire.com/library/quill/runefang.php


More reviews please! Anyone!  :icon_biggrin:
« Last Edit: February 23, 2009, 11:05:18 PM by rufus sparkfire »
Hey, I could still beat up a woman!
If I wanted to.