A snappy serial in the Tolkein vein draws its heroes and villains from a somewhat tired set of fantasy tropes, but Long’s storytelling ability makes it worthwhile.
The story takes place in a Middle Earthâ€“like realm populated by the usual suspects of the Tolkein-inspired fantasy world: humans, dwarves, elves, orcs and goblins. The species are allied as they are in The Lord of the Rings: Dwarves and humans fight against orcs and goblins, while elves stand in the shadows. The eighth installment in the Warhammer series, Orcslayer follows the continuing exploits of the dwarf Gotrek and his human companion (and warrior-scribe) Felix. Gotrek is a Slayer, a mighty dwarf warrior who, because of some past shame, is bound by oath to seek glorious death in battle. Felix, a wittier fictional creation, is Gotrek’s epic-maker, the poet charged with recording Gotrek’s adventures and, one posthumous day, setting them down in verse. The forces of Chaos (presumably capitalized for dramatic effect) are brewing in the North, and the swarthy kamikaze Gotrek sets forth to seek his demise. However, he is sidetracked when a local dwarfish royal enlists him to aid in retaking a stronghold now overrun by orcs. Gotrek, Felix and a band of fellow dwarves with comically Nordic monikers (Narin Blowhardsson, among others) rush into battle. But the sundry crew quickly realizes that their orc foes are under the control of a much more mysterious–and dangerous–enemy, a fact that does not deter them from aggressively slashing their way across the countryside. Long relishes each pint of orc blood spilled, and delights in describing every axe-blow, sword-thrust and arrow trajectory–and there are more than enough of each to go around. Despite the sometimes tiresome buildup of fantasy battles, the narrative maintains the momentum throughout.
An engaging if derivative fantasy tale.