Sigvald by Darius Hinks. Book review

SIGVALD by Darius Hinks, Black Library, p/b, £7.99,

Reviewed by Sandra Scholes

This is labelled as a Warhammer: Heroes novel where Hinks’s Sigvald uses the two opposites of order and chaos, fusing them into his two main characters. What starts out as order is the Baron Gustav while chaos is represented by Prince Sigvald himself. He is a young man who as everyone knows when they see him is beautifully handsome, and exudes a sensuality none can resist, and when Gustav comes to his palace seeking refuge for his half-starved men he tells Sigvald he needs his help to quash the army of the Blood god Khorne.

If readers are already familiar with Sigvald’s story, then they will be in for a treat with this novel as there is a lot more to discover about Sigvald and his court. Sigvald is a product of chaos, and Slaanesh has given him pleasure for years, spoiling him with all he desired, but once the baron gives him the information about the helmet, he realises it was never enough. He had always desired more than he can handle, but how much is anyone’s guess. It does depend though on how strong his army is against Khorne, and if rumour is correct, then Sigvald and his men are in for a rough time if they are to break through their castle to find the prized helmet only one warrior holds.

Hinks’s book tells of Sigvald, but it also mentions the men who work tirelessly for him, and it also has touches of erotica with his ‘pets’ taking an interest in the baron, Sigvald’s wife and the sensuality of his court. This is Slaanesh inspired erotica complete with naked dreamers, evil scientists and devilishly sadistic surgeons. There is nothing normal about any of his friends and servants, from alien limbed women to women with serpent tongues. Sigvald, sits on his throne in his huge, ostentatious golden palace where he has all the pleasures he can sample after making a pact with Slaanesh the god of pleasure. It is no wonder he has everything, from his unusual women to wine and drugs to hand. The appearance of newcomer, Baron Gustav also heralds good news that interests the geld prince. It is the promise of power, and even though he already has power through Slaanesh, he is still greedy for more.

This novel acts as an expose of Sigvald as prince, romanticist, rake and hero, but he is an anti-hero as he cares nothing for his men, or the people of his court. He cares more about his appearance, which he checks regularly, and loathes the sight of blood on his face – like Wilde’s Dorian Gray, he is too consumed by his own pleasure to care about others. Despite this, you can’t help but like how the character has been developed by Hinks, as his opposite, baron Gustav is the one who unlocks his fighting instinct and inspires him to get on the battlefield.