Sigmar’s Blood is one interesting little novella that incorporates much of what makes Warhammer Fantasy such an excellent universe, but at times the read can be a tad jumpy and overfilled with characters.
Mannfred Von Carstein is hell-bent on reclaiming the land of Sylvania and a crusade comprised of only the most devout followers of their various religions has a chance of stemming this evil. At the forefront of the crusade is Grand Theogonist Volkmar, who at times seems to have the ability to shoot out bolts of pure faith in order to banish the undead or heal the wounded. Volkmar was a strong character, but my favorite was the battle entrenched witch hunter, Von Korden. Von Korden barely slows or takes a rest in his pursuit to destroy one of Carstein’s allies, a Necromancer named Ghorst. We find out later that Von Korden is so driven because he is seeking retribution for the murder of his family.
The opening description of the Necromancer Ghorst is especially noteworthy and I think it really exemplifies Phil Kelly’s imaginative writing ability which is the strength throughout the novel focused on the gory details of battle and the undead. Ghorst is literally dragged in on a rotting bone carriage, pulled stuttering across the lands by hitched-up undead. Inside the carriage are mounds of putrefied and still squirming corpses, all the while Ghorst is singing a song and a bell on the carriage is tolling out.
Next is Jovi Sunscryer a powerful wizard of the Light Order and his two acolytes. Wait what, more characters? Yes, more characters, there are tons more characters in this novella of only one-hundred and twenty some odd pages. Flagellants, Crusaders, Mercenaries, The Silver Bullets, Knights of the Blazing Sun, Sigmar’s Sons, Tattersouls, a group of militia men from The Drunken Goat, Reiksguard, and a few Royal Altdorf Gryphites. The funny thing is the number of men from these accompaniments only total around a hundred and ten or so and I think we are introduced to about half of them.
The other disorienting bit in Sigmar’s Blood for me is the battle locations. We are continually jumping from one ruined site to another in some semi-epic confrontation with the undead but I’m never really sure how anyone ended up there.
Despite these small annoyances, Sigmar’s Blood is actually a real treat to read. Beautifully graphic descriptions of decay, death, and gore. A solid, fast paced read from one scene to the next, if a bit jumpy. Then the ending, another Black Library story that leaves so damn many strings left either uncut or that simply fall out of the readers hands into the lands of imagination. Sigmar’s Blood is most definitely worth the read if you can stomach a few minor faults.

  1. Nathan says:

    I have read my fair share if 4k stuff, but very little of their fantasy. I only have the first Gotrek and some witch hunter under my belt.

    • Some of the older fantasy novels really have a flare to them that the new ones occasionally lack, but they are starting to make a come back. Konrad Saga and The Death series by Sandy Mitchell are two fantastic older WHF series.

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