Book Review: Gotrek and Felix — The First Omnibus

Gotrek & Felix, by William King

Gotrek shrugged. He glanced to the door. The archway was filled with green-skinned marauders, advancing behind their grinning moon banners. Felix slid the Sigmarite sword smoothly from its sheath. A thrilling musical note sang out. The runes across its blade blazed brightly. For a second the goblins hesitated.

Gotrek looked over at Felix and grinned, “This is going to be a truly heroic death, manling. My only regret is that none of my people will ever get to hear of it.”

This omnibus collects together the first three books of adventures of Gotrek Gurnisson, the battle-hardened dwarf trollslayer and his associate Felix Jaeger, warrior-poet of Altdorf. They’ve become two of the most iconic characters in Warhammer fiction. The books are great, and if they weren’t tied to a game-based IP, they’d be widely recognised as some of the best swords and sorcery fiction ever written.

The adventures are exciting, the characters spring to life, and the strange gothic undertone that gives Warhammer its distinctive flavour seeps out of every page. This is an Empire where hunger and war are familiar gnawing fears, where madness and corruption lurk in the shadows, where politics turns brother against brother, and where even the most high born can sell out their own kin to the lords of chaos.

Book 1: Trollslayer.

In a a travelogue written as a collection of short stories, Gotrek and Felix break up a Chaos cult during a sacred festival, travel to the lands of the border princes with a dispossessed count and his people, seek treasure and vengeance beneath the dwarf city of Karak Eight Peaks, and battle one of Chaos’ chosen warriors and her beastman retinue. Along the way, the Empire itself comes to life. The tough, determined humans. The oath-bound, honorable dwarfs. The subtle corruptions of chaos, and the savage greenskins.

Book 2: Skavenslayer.

The trollslayer and his companion settle briefly in Nuln, a large and prosperous city of the Empire. With no coins to their name, they start by earning their way as sewer tunnel clearers … and encounter the Skaven for the first time. Unlike the first book, this isn’t a collection of unlinked stories. The Skaven are plotting to overthrow Nuln, and Gotrek and Felix are drawn unwillingly into their plots.

One faction of Skaven wants to use the adventurers to foil another faction. Felix has to deal with a brother he hasn’t seen for many years who is now among the city’s wealthiest merchants. And who is the mysterious Doctor Drexler who seems so familiar with combatting chaos plagues? As the plots thicken, the whole city is threatened by plague and by starvation until finally the full force of the Skaven army is unleashed … from beneath the city itself.

Book 3: Daemonslayer.

In an epic story Gotrek gets together with two other trollslayers and a dwarf army to carry out a crazy plan which takes them beyond the ends of the civilised world. In a huge dwarfish airship, they plan to sail out to the Chaos Wastes to fulfil an old oath to a long abandoned dwarf city, to search for treasure and survivors, and of course for a heroic death. And yet, when they get there, Gotrek finds that his coming was foretold and that a great doom is upon them all.

It’s another well-told story with vivid, memorable characters. And yes, the dwarf engineers get their moments of glory here too. What’s even better is that the biggest baddest daemon of them all, a Bloodthirster of Khorne … is going to be in the game (read about it here) so we can also follow in G&F’s footsteps.

In summary, all I can really say is that if you want to read more about Warhammer and get a sense of the setting, READ THIS BOOK. And I’m really looking forwards to seeing Gotrek and Felix again in the pub at Aldorf!

4 Responses

  1. anything that gives me an excuse to pop into the pub = good! Might nick this from you and read it, sounds good stuff.

  2. Really interesting. Have been hesitating about buying this for quite a while.

    Think my mind is amde up now though. Thank you 🙂

  3. […] Book review! I remember these! Book of Grudges reviews a completely different book: Gotrek and Felix – the First Omnibus. […]

  4. I read this thinking it was going to be awesome. I was so disappointed. I felt I was reading work written by a teenager for their English class. Read Mike Lee or Dan Abnet instead.

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