by David PringleI picked up this book looking for some fantasy action and what I found were a number of stories set in the Warhammer gaming universe. However the background is extremely generic so these sit alone as straightforward reads. I was a bit disappointed with the quality of the stories; there’s nothing that really shines here. At the end of the book I felt that this was a cash-in on the Warhammer brand rather than a book strong enough to stand apart from it.
The titular story, by William King, is an almost plotless affair consisting of page after page of gore-drenched combat. It’s gruelling and horrific, and King includes a novel touch involving his central characters that I liked. A pretty accurate depiction of a literal descent into hell.
THE REAVERS AND THE DEAD, by Charles Davidson, is once again straightforward, a story of zombies and pirates and mucho bloodshed. Once again, the gore is to the fore and as an exercise in torn body parts this is serviceable enough. Brian Craig’s THE PHANTOM OF YREMY is something different, about a mysterious thief who steals from the rich. This one’s better written and has greater depth than the two preceding it, but it hinges on a remarkably obvious hidden identity and loses points for that.
THE OTHER by Nicola Griffiths is an uninteresting and derivative love story. THE SONG by Steve Baxter has a Halfling as lead character and is fairly entertaining on a superficial level.
Things pick up for the next trio of stories which are the best in the anthology. Sean Flynn’s APPRENTICE LUCK in which an ancient grimoire leads to adventure beneath the streets of a city is a fine old fashioned adventure full of wizards and goblins. Brian Craig pops up again with THE LIGHT OF TRANSFIGURATION and it’s a story of religious hysteria set within a nunnery built upon the ruins of a black magician’s castle. Plenty of imagination and a fine sense of foreboding keep this one alive. Neil Jones’s THE SPELLS BELOW is a tale of wizardry and bloodshed that I found pretty exciting.
CRY OF THE BEAST by Ralph Castle is a werewolf-type effort about hermits troubled by a sinister Chaos beast. Some okay atmosphere, despite a familiar plot. Brian Craig’s A GARDENER IN PARRAVON is third time unlucky, an unsuccessful outing concerning evil plants and surreal mock-sexual antics. Finally, THE TILEAN RAT by Sandy Mitchell is an odd combination of Victorian-era detective story and dark fantasy. There’s nothing to remember it by, but the intrigue remains throughout.
|Title||The Laughter of Dark Gods|
|eBook format||Paperback, (torrent)|
|File size||6.3 Mb|
|Book rating||4.24 (37 votes)