Malus guffaw- naught
Release Date: 15 January
320 pages | Hardback Author: CL Werner Publisher: The Black Library
Long- time readers of
epic fantasy may note a slight resemblance between Malus Darkblade, titular hero of The Tales Of Malus Darkblade, and a certain magic sword- wielding albino hero made famous by Michael Moorcock. But Elric of Melnibone isn’t the only clear influence on display in Deathblade, CL Werner’s latest addition to the series. There’s a heavy dose of Jack Vance’s Cugel’s Saga, and even a little of Gene Wolfe’s The Book Of The New Sun in this conniving dark elf anti- hero.
After numerous life- imperilling quests described in earlier books and comics, and a decade spent wandering the Chaos wastes with only the sword of Khaine for company, Malus has finally plotted and backstabbed his way to true power. But his position as ruler of the city of Hag Graef is imperilled when the Witch King orders an outright attack on the High Elves, with Malus in the vanguard – the very last place a self- obsessed coward wants to be…
All of this is the stuff of solid, archetypal fantasy that both Warhammer and genre fans will enjoy reading. But Deathblade misses out on the ironic, dark humour that an anti- hero like Malus really needs. Werner lets the Darkblade take himself a little too seriously, and the result is a story that too often falls flat just when it should raise a laugh. Damien Walter Werner realised he wanted to write after reading The Hound Of The Baskervilles at age 10, then writing his own Holmes story.