Book Review: Way of the Dead - Anthology


Title - Way of the Dead
Author - Anthology (11 Writers)
Year - 
Stand Alone or Series - Anthology Fantasy
Pages - 318 (Mass Paperback)
Reading Time - April 2011

Stories
Glow - Simon Spurrier 24
Head Hunting - Robin D Laws 22 (Angelika Fleischer story)
The Small Ones - C L Werner 38
Three Knights - Graham McNeil 22
The Road to Damnation - Brian Craig 54
Mark of the Beast - Jonathan Greene 24 (Torben Badenov story)
Jahama's Lesson - Matt Farrer 20
A Good Thief - Simon Jowett 36
What Price Vengeance - C L Werner 32 (Brunner story)

I always enjoy reading the antologies from Black Library.  There are several stories here thank link to other books from Black Library. First Head Hunting it's a Angelika Fleischer story (I have yet to read another tale with her), What Price Vengeance that links to Bounty Hunter Brunner trilogy (yet to read) and Mark of the Beast that links with the The Dead and the Damned book. List of warhammer short stories by BL that I read: 

Realms of Chaos (TBRead)
The Laughter of Dark Gods (Compilation of three Pre-BL anthologies) Ignorant Armies, Red Thirst and Wolf Riders
Way of the dead
Tales of the Old World (Compilation of several anthologies) (TBRead)
Invasion (TbReview)
Death & Dishonour (Only five of the nine stories)
War Undending (Short stories from other anthologies)

Review
Glow - Simon Spurrier 24
This story is about the work of the Witch Hunter Karver who is trying to find a drug called the Glow that supposedly makes people happy but instead makes them crazy. This is one of the best stories I have read about a witch hunter. To be a witch hunter and to be gentleman (to some degree). It's quite good. This tale could have been a modern tale about a detective and it's men trying to find cocain on a city. There is even the capture of a small fish (criminal) to tell them the location of some hideout. They even released him saying that he is better on the street than imprisioned. This is typicall game of a detective nowadays. There is a twist in the end quite good. There is also a development of the witch hunter (if only in a small scale) but it's quite good. If this tale could have been a novella probably would even been better. Simon Spurrier is quite good writer and again he shows it. 8/10

Head Hunting - Robin D Laws 22 (Angelika Fleischer story)
This tale is about Angelika Fleischer and his companion Franziskus. There is a trilogy of books written by the same writer and I hope they are better than this short story than didn't give anything new. The work of Angelika is quite peculiar. After battles are fought she goes to the battleground and takes anything from the deceased. But she isn't without scrupolous. I mean for a girl who is something like a grave robber she has a kind of sense of honour. This tale begins as a man (Victor Schreber, phrenology) she encounters on a battlefield asks that she returns a head from a village to him. The tale and plot is simple. I enjoy the story but it didn't add anything new. Angelika on this tale don't grow and we learn nothing from her. If I didn't knew there is a trilogy of books outhere I would have said that this tale somewhat sucked. 5/10

The Small Ones - C L Werner 38
The small ones by Werner is an interesting piece of lovecraftian fiction. A band of children discovers a half man half pig almost dying and try to help him. This evil sorceror controls a young girl that leads all the children. As he gain strenght he tells them of tales about the True Sigmar and the Four Princes (chaos) and why the four princes are so despised on the empire. He tells them that it was all fabrication of Sigmar and it's priests. The best part of the story was the Knight of Morr. Excelent character and I wished more tales/book should depict them. The tale had a good twist in the end. The peasents of the village who try to help the knight against the sorceror lie to him, as he lie dying, in the end so he could rest in peace. Nice story, character and plot. One of the best stories on this anthology. 8/10

Three Knights - Graham McNeil 22
This was one of my favourite tales of the book. Three siblings brettonian knights are on a quest to cleanse a ancient castle from its undead occupants. The dialogues are what to expect from Brettonian nobles with their arrogants but at the same time looking down to the "helpless" peasents they must protect. The end of the tale is the best part of the tale and book. One of the knights who had been in several battles including in the north had battle a blood knight, who are famous to be excelent swordsman, and won it. In the end as they arrive at the castle one of the brothers is killed and as the two are surrounded by skeleton the master of the dragon knights appear and the veteran knight tells him it's true intend. He didn't want to kill them he desire to be one of them. Sacrificing his last brother he arrongantly expects to be one of them. The end we saw the blood knigths attack a village and he knight is not a knight but transformed into a mindless ghoul. The best of this tale. 9/10

The Road to Damnation - Brian Craig 54
This tale is the biggest of this anthology but no the best of the lot. The writing of this tale by Brian Craig (Stableford) don't differ much from other tales by him. It depicts an Estalian and a Arabian pirate and I like the characterization of both. This tale begins as they are chased by goblins and orcs on a quest to find a lost treasure. After some adversities they split and each follows a path. The ending is quite good and again Brian Craig makes another way of seeing chaos. Something he done great in Pawns of Chaos (40k). Interesting that some writers make the chaos gods simple and corrupt corrupt corrupt but this writer gives them some depth and manipulative. Brian Craig is one of the best writers depicting Chaos. No doubt about it. But as I said in the overall it was not the best tale of this book. 7.5/10


Mark of the Beast - Jonathan Greene 24 (Torben Badenov story)
This tale is set before The Dead and the Damned anthology. In this tale we learn how the Badenov band come to be as they are left for dead from their captain. The story itself it's straightforward. A small band of kislev hunt a herd of Beastman but even winning some of the men are capture. Badenov then tries to free them but the incompetent captain leaves them for dead. A cliché about a worthless noble captain. Good tale but not his best. 7/10

Jahama's Lesson - Matt Farrer 20
This tale is one of the first about the dark elf perpesctive and it was great. The Dark Elves in spring depart from their shores to capture more slaves. Some go to Ulthuan, others go more southern shores but mainly they go to the lands of the Empire and Bretonia. Jahamma is highly skilled assassin with a job to sneak into the a duke castle and end the lives of the knights before the attack of the dark elves. The narrative changes from Jahanna to the waiting elves. But as to expect every Dark Elf have their agendas and things don't go as expected from them. Quite good story about dark elves. Thank god Mike Lee appeared and gave them life as we know it.  8/10

A Good Thief - Simon Jowett 36
This tale is about a poet-thief than can't read. His poetic skills provides them jobs and the lacked of good breeding makes him run from the law. A Magister captures him and gives him a job. If he can do it then he would be free. The job: Capture the right thing for him. He departs to a village where a man rules supreme even changing the name of the village to his name. He starts enquire and reciting poems but the head of the village starts reading from a book and everyone gets enthralled. He then learns that that is the thing he must capture. After battling and wining the book he returns to the magister and gives him a book. The Magister sends the book the fire and thief is set free. But a thief is always a thief and the book he gave the magister is another book not the real one. His objective is to sell the book to other people since he can't read it. But the magister knows that a thief is always a thief and capture and makes him work for him again. This is an interesting yet simple tale. Sometimes our handicaps are our greatest strenght. If he had the means to read he would become enthralled as everyone else. What happend to this writer? 7.5/10.


What Price Vengeance - C L Werner 32 (Brunner story)
This is my first story by the Bounty hunter Brunner and I was impressed. For what I read this is possible one of the first short stories Werner wrote for Brunner. Again the eerie setting he gives him is his trademark. The story begins when a group of mercenaries kills the only son of a viscount of Chegney and kidnaps his only grandchild to ask for a ramson. The viscount learns that this mercenaries where to ones he cheated and this was only a act of revenge. The steward of the viscount then hires Brunner to retrieve the child. The battle itself in my opinion was rushed but the end compensate all of that. With a twist in the end he tells the viscount that his grandchild is dead but we learn that he gave him to someone to take care of him. Brunner is a coldhearted bount hunter that make him more likeble. Great Story 8.5/10

Conclusion
Apart from a couple of tales this was not my favourite anthology released by Black Library. Realm of Chaos is the next anthology to read and the last is Tales of the Old World.
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