Swords Of The Emperor by Chris Wraight. Book review

swordsSWORDS OF THE EMPEROR by Chris Wraight, The Black Library, P/B, £12.99

Reviewed By Steve Dean

There are two full-length novels in this weighty tome; Sword of Justice and its direct sequel Sword of Vengeance as well as two short stories.

In Sword of Justice, the emperor sends his champion Schwarzhelm to the city of Averland to find out why they haven’t yet elected a new leader. When he arrives, he finds a city mired in legal procedures, the populace on the edge of revolt, and Orcs on the rampage all over the shop. When he starts having bad dreams, he leaves the city in pursuit of the Orcs. Could all this be part of some grand plan by the forces of Chaos? You bet your sweet bippy it is.

Sword of Vengeance carries on the tale, and without giving too many spoilers, we catch up with Schwarzhelm, his aide Verstohlen, his erstwhile rival Helborg and the other assorted major and minor characters.

Each novel stands on its own, and could be read separately, but obviously they are better as a pair, like cheese and toast. And there’s something for everyone here. Bloody battles, bitter back-stabbing, ‘orrible Orcs and sneaky shenanigans by the cart load. The pacing is just right, the characters well rounded and complete, the heroes suitably heroic, the baddies very bad indeed, and a great climax to end it all.

And if a heroic climax is not enough for you, there are two short stories to properly finish it all off. Both good, and which show the two heroes, Schwarzhelm and Helborg, as two quite different characters.

Overall then, a fine example of its kind, great writing at a great price.