Saturday, October 26, 2019

SKAVENS IN THE LAIR!!

Not sure if I'll get any pushback for including Warhammer in my month of horror, but I am a huge fan of the Skaven, and I felt the man-sized rat-like creatures deserved to be included among my monster roster.

GREY SEER by C.L. Werner is something I first read about ten years ago, after I had already been introduced to the Gotrek & Felix series. Thanquol is a recurring enemy of theirs, along with his rat-ogre bodyguard, Boneripper. He is also a Grey Seer, a natural-born wizard, aided by Warpstone, which is dark magic in solid form (humans call it Wyrdstone). Unrefined is far more dangerous than refined, and Thanquol is absolutely addicted to the stuff.

Grey Seer Thanquol is forced to retrieve the Wormstone (a toxic version of Warpstone) by the Council of Thirteen. He's made many enemies among the Skaven clans, mostly due to dirty politics (and a certain dwarf screwing up his past plans), so the Council considers Thanquol to be disposable.

The narration switches views between the skavens and humans, and it's easy to follow. I personally prefer the scenes with the skavens. The smugglers who find the Wormstone seem so boring compared to Thanquol and his adept, Kratch. While the mysterious Dark Master, playing the skavens and humans against each other, is interesting, very little is revealed about him. Thanquol and Boneripper are completely awesome characters, even if they are technically the "bad guys."

TEMPLE OF THE SERPENT is the second book in the Thanquol & Boneripper series. The Grey Seer is called before the Council to explain to the Lords of Decay what happened in the first book. TOTS actually begins with a prologue from the POV of an ancient creature named Lord Talco, who studies the Great Math of the Old Ones, and views the xa'cota (the rat fractals) as corrupted algorithms. A bit difficult to follow, but necessary to illustrate how different the lizard race is from the Skaven or humans.

Readers will learn more about the different Skavens clans, as well as their ongoing political scheming. As a result of the chaos around him, Thanquol has to deal with a mountain of problems just to stay alive. Of course, there is always a human factor within these stories, and, when the three races converge in the City of Quetza, the battles are superb.

Werner does such a great job describing the surroundings and the jungle's other inhabitants, I felt the suffering of the characters as if I were there with them. You don't even have to be a Warhammer fan to enjoy this Skaven series!

As always,
AstraDaemon

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