Wulfrik is a Warhammer Fantasy novel by the master of this genre, C.L. Werner. It has been awhile since I have visited Warhammer Fantasy and Wulfrik definitely surprised the hell out of me. Yetis, Fire Dwarves, Hobgoblins, the lammasu, and the Treetroll, I had no idea the editors at Black Library were letting their authors branch out so far away from their usually safe medium. Few noteworthy tidbits worth mentioning least I forget: Wulfrik’s Gift of Tongues; while originally I wasn’t sure if I would enjoy this it turned out to be pretty sweet.
So let’s row on into the plot shall we? Wulfrik is cursed by the Dark Chaos Gods, damned to wander for what may be eternity until he kills everything sent to him through the visions the gods provide him. This turns into somewhat of a quagmire for Wulfrik because the love of his life is stuck back in his home town, Ormskaro and his love Hjordis’s father, King Viglundr is trying to marry her off to a rival prince. In the meantime a Kurgan shaman comes along with hefty promises to end Wulfrik’s curse once and for all. Whether the shaman can make good on these claims or whether Wulfrik and his men can survive the trials and tribulations ahead of them is as good as anyone’s guess.
As you can probably tell from the title, Wulfrik is the main character and really while some of the side characters are intriguing themselves (Jokull, the scout with a tentacle “…lash-like appendage growing from his shoulder…” and another reaver, Arngeirr, welding a kraken blade) I didn’t really pay as much attention to any others and didn’t feel a ton of connection. This is excluding some of the more major characters within this saga, Hjordis, The King Viglundr, the Aesling prince Sveinbjorn, and the mysterious Kurgan shaman, Zarnath.
The linear change in Wulfrik and a few others isn’t so extreme that it jars the reader but nearing the end you might find it a bit shocking, until it settles in upon you that even though this is classified as a Warhammer Hero novel, Wulfrik is anything but a saint and will go to any lengths of the world to get his way.
I’ve heard a lot of people complain about the use of some magic ruining fantasy novels but the bits used by a varying assortment of unscrupulous creatures and fiends was crafted admirably. I loved the portrayal of the raven within this book and how it correlates with everything; you probably won’t understand my meaning with this until you read the book.
The setting changed vastly due to the “Wandering” nature of Wulfrik and his enchanted ship “Seafang” and for me that was fantastic. One day you could be resting up and getting drunk in a mead hall at Ormskaro and the very next instant you might be battling the fire dwarves in the “Dronangkul” or “Fortress of Iron”, or perhaps even elves from as far away as Ulthuan.
This was definitely an exciting read for me as Warhammer Fantasy is what originally hooked me on the fantastic worlds of Warhammer. I think Mr. Werner has been doing an excellent job in lighting the torch per say to hopefully grab some more attention to this greatly under-appreciated universe. I’m now even more excited to start on my next book, Sword of Justice, by Chris Wraight and hopefully have a successful hunt in finding Werner’s Dead Winter.
Wulfrik gets 8 out of 10 Liams and if you are looking to make a break back into the land of fantasy like myself then you need to start with this one. Wulfrik was engaging start to finish, has a unique fresh feel to it, and is what I like to consider a complete well-crafted novel – whether it stands alone or more is added to the epic Saga of Wulfrik the Wanderer.
You can find Mr. Werner Here.
Liam on the first page!