Monday, November 29, 2010

Review: Grimblades by Nick Kyme

Grimblades, An Empire Army Novel by Nick Kyme
416 pages
Advance Review Copy

When orcs and goblins invade the Empire, the Emperor Dieter IV does nothing. While the other elector counts bicker, Prince Wilhelm is left to defend the Reikland alone. The Grimblades are among his brave army that opposes the greenskins. Amidst desperate war across the Empire and a plot to kill the prince, the Grimblades must survive this orc invasion and be victorious...

Nick Kyme must have the coolest job in the world. He gets to write stories that are about the fantasy realms that make up the background for games of toy soldiers. How cool is that?!?

If you are in to the Warhammer Fantasy Battles tabletop miniatures game, or the Old World setting, then you probably know about The Empire, Karl Franz, Elector Counts, rough and tumble soldiers, political intrigue and Warrior Priests of Sigmar. It's a grim and gritty setting. There's dirt under the fingernails.

I play the tabletop game on occasion but for the most part I'm a fan of the lore behind the game as well as collector if toy soldiers. I used to have an Empire Army. Sold them off in favor of my Chaos and High Elf armies. The Empire had gotten boring.

So I received Grimblades and saw Mr. Kyme penned it. "Hrm, he's that guy who did the Dwarfs novels and Salamanders stuff. This may be worth digging in to." I wasn't able to read all night as I had to be up early for an appointment, but I read along the way, before the appointment as well as on the way back, and finished early the following evening. In-between I was surfing the Games Workshop website for prices on State Troops.

Needless to say, I DEVOURED it. The characters were set up from the word go. Good solid, characters with issues, who make bad decisions, deeply flawed characters we get to see succeed and fail, be heroes...and sometimes die for it. Nick Kyme did all the right things when he wrote this one! The plot is engaging and had me guessing who the good guys/ bad guys really were.

Previously Chris Wraight's Sword of Vengeance has been lauded as pretty much the best of the Empire-based stories. This one is creeping up on it! I think the only thing that keeps it from hitting the very top mark is that there are some instances where the soldiers of the Empire are just... too good. Times where the lone halberd-wielding soldier is gutting orc after orc.(an exaggeration on my part) That sort of thing. Small areas where the suspension of disbelief is marred slightly. Of course...this is an Empire Army Novel, so the perspective is a bit (and rightfully so) skewed.

I'm glad to have this section of ambiguous Empire History nailed down a bit.

 Nick Kyme is fast outpacing his contemporaries as a weaver of exceptionally deep, rich stories we can all relate to. A wonderful read!

4.5 out of 5 Stars.

P.S. I am in the process of assembling and priming about 2000 points of Empire troops now (again). My core unit? The Grimblades: a 40 man strong unit of State Troops wielding halberds. Thanks Nick, Black Library and games Workshop for feeding the toy soldier addiction...again.

No comments: