Book Review: The Cold Hand of Betrayal - Anthology

Pages : 252
Author : Anthology
Publisher: Black Library
Reading Time: Abril/May 2006

In the grim Old World, the bloodthirsty followers of the Chaos Gods ravage the land. It is a dark age, a bloody age, an age of daemons and of sorcery. It is an age of battle and death, and of the end of the world. Amidst the fire, flame and fury, it is a time too, of mighty heroes, of bold deeds and great courage. Packed with grim fantasy tales from the gothic Warhammer world, The Cold Hand of Betrayal is a great collection of Warhammer fantasy short stories penned by some of the Black Library’s favourite authors. A terrific collection that will appeal to all lovers of dark, gritty fantasy.

This is a book about ... you got it.. Betrayal. Well let us begin, there are several stories... The first it's Kinstrife by Graham McNeil. This is a story which the two main characters are brothers and high elves. This is the way a betrayal should begin since in the warhammer world there wasn't a more act of betrayal than Malekith and the Druchii did to the High Elves. Well, you see a story about two brothers who are seeking vengeance for their late father who died by poison from a dark elf assassin. The story it's divide in two parts. The first it's the current time and the other it's some flashbacks from the main character Lord Eldain. I didn't expect for this kind of end... It's like a plot within a plot.. a betrayal within the betrayal.. I guess it won't hurt if I tell you. The flashbacks take you to know why they are there in druchii land . Besides that another plot starts to unfold in which we begin to realise that not everything is well between the brothers. Rhianna, to be bethroned as everyone expects to Eldain comes to close to his brother Caelir. He already loves her and she loves him too. So before they part Caelir promises himself to her. Eldain becomes aware of that by Rhianna who tells him days before they part. This we only know in the last 10 pages or so. Then the flashbacks ends and the high elves start to war the druchii making great damage to their warships and one Ark. When they are fleeing after causing so much chaos and mayhem and death Caelir is injured and Eldain stands his hand to help him but sees his ring. The ring of the marriage between his brother and Rhianna. In a act of betrayal, yes this is the main betrayal, he leaves the scene. Then the author presents a final chapter which is a flashback in which Caelir asks his brother to look after her if he dies. Well this shock me. I never thought that High Elves had such .. qualities.. It's horrific :I a dissapointed. Oh well.. There is a part when the druchii slave masters are chasing a pack of humans and the high elves could save them. Caelir and the Shadow Warriors wanted to kill the druchii but Eldain forbades him saying "They were only humans" ... " Do not trouble yourself with them." It's kind of brutal.

The second history is call Small Mercy by Richard Ford. This is a begins with with two bounty hunters arriving at a village with a norsc prisioner. They bring it to a tavern where they are going to pass the night. The patrons here the tale and a child is beddazzled by these norsc one blue eye soldier. Well the betrayal here it's kind of sad. Well the "friends" of the norcs arrive and kill all habitants excpet this boy. Later we see the same boy a captain in the mist of Storm of Chaos war. We don't see much of the fight except we know they are running away and they are rallied by a charismatic, suicidal, valiant general. Well they start running and there are several skirmishers. One time they encounter a Chaos Knight Champion and the captain try to attack the knight but falls. The chaos knight remove the helmet and voilá. Yes. The northmen. The northman smiles at him and tries to give a hand but meanwhile the general kills the chaos knight and... afterwards... they imprisoned the captain for treason. I like it but.. there's something not right... the story has only 18 pages which doesn't benefit the writer. I think he is a good writer and the plot is well employed.

The third it's from Nyck Kyme and it's called Perfect Assassin. This a story about an assassin as he tries to best a unknown assassin that is threating his "kingship" as king of assassins. The last case that will decide which is a better thief it's a case that already 7 assassins died. Well this a good story. The plot it's good. And the ending is well know before he even attempt to best the last case. This story has 24 pages.

The fourth it's from the author of Brunner Triology, C L Werner and it's called Sick House. I had read a story written by CL Werner in the Swords of the Empire but not a novel. This is about another personage of him. A bounty hunter named Brunner. This story has a good concept and I like it. The writing it's complex. It's the best written story of the book. He gives a lot of time creating the plot and use adjectives abundably. I like the story but the end was for me too quickly. This is the second biggest story with 38 pages.

The fifth is In the Service of Sigmar. This story was written by Adam Troke. I am not familiar with this writer but that never stop me from reading someone's work. I like the main story and the end was forthcoming. This kind of similarites to Christian church upsets me but okay. (Btw: I am not christian. I am pagan.) I am not saying that is the writer's fault. It is the warhammer world story inself. For some actions I wish all humanity vanish. lol. The main story is about a man who wants to progress in his career and do a job where the church of sigmar tell him if he do it correctly he will be allowed into knighthood.

The sixth is Blood and Sand. Well here it is. The writer Matt Ralphs. I didn't knew him either. The plot itself reminds me of the crusaders. They went from france, england and german to strike at the infidels and convert the heathen. Very well. But... something i don't understand... Why striking so far away from home when they have within their borders reference to other gods? In tilea there is another god. In bretonnia there is another. Argh.. I don't understand... but okay.. I like the crusades in our history. I don't like the reasons but I like the wars. As I said I am pagan. The story inself it's good and the end was predicable as we seen over and over in human history in the crusaders... The crusaders didn't come to jerusalem and other lands to convert. They really didn't care about the muslins or heathens as they call it. So the writer has to read some books about the crusades i think. I like the story. But...

The Seventh is Son of the Empire Robert Allan is the writer. The concept here of betrayal is something diferent. We are presented here with a incoming invasion of some northmen and a pristess of shallya invoked some knight to fight them. Nothing out of normality. But in the end we see why this book is about betrayal. It's not a betrayal of a friend but a soul-betrayal.. a god-betrayal i might say... I think anyone should read this story. It has a beautiful concept.The Eighth is The Daemon's Gift. This was my least favourite story. It was hard to follow. The plot itself it's good but... there's something not catching. I didn't feel anything for the characters and they didn't give anything new to me. I hope this happens only to me.

The last one is from Mr Steven Savile's "Death's Cold Kiss". This is a good story which will further increase the great plot that begin with Inheritance. This is a story about a priest of Sigmar called Guttman that turns into a vampire.For those who knew and have read the book from the same author Inheritance we see this same personage in the prologue when the former count of sylvania is dying in the year 1797. The the book jumps to the year of 2009. Here in this small story we see one of the following events in 1797 where the priest is followed and turned into vampire and the main story is about is two brethern trying to deal with that transformation. I loved this small story and it was my favourite after the first one Kinslayer. The writings are fluid and are of easy read. I like it a lot.There is only one problem or situation... The priest is alive in year 1797. From that time he is bitten to the time when he is killed by Skellan and Fischer pass only one month aproximedly. But this two personages are presented in the book at 2009. There is a time gap here that is wrong.Well apart of that the story is great. 

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