Book - Orcs

Orcs

Stan Nicholls Orcs as remembered by Kneel Downe...

After filling my young reading life with Lord of the Rings, Moorcock’s tortured heroes and every shade and family member of Shannara possible I fell out of love somewhat with the fantasy genre. I mean there’s only so many quests and dark lords one can take, right?

So it was with some trepidation that I allowed word of mouth to steer me in the direction of Stan Nicholls hefty Trilogy. Let’s just say I was pleasantly surprised. The high concept here is that the story is told from the point of view of everyone’s favourite villains, the Orcs. Initially you fear that this joke will wear thin very quickly and this tome may become little more than a one trick pony. You would be wrong.

Deft characterization and dialogue actually extend this conceit into something much more. Set within the world of Maras-Dantia and featuring the exploits of Stryke and his war band of orcs, the Wolverines, the trilogy gleefully throws cliché after cliché at you in a sublimely twisted way. Yes, there is an evil overlord. Yes, a quest for a mystical and all powerful mcgubbins forms the bones of this tale but Nicholls presents it all in a delightfully skewed manner. Sharing as much in common with the Dirty Dozen or Leo Kessler’s pulp SS Panzer division books as it does with any middle earth tale, this a brutal fast paced treat for anyone just a little jaded with mysterious elves and lovelorn heroes. The inclusion of a strong female lead, Coilla and a misplaced dwarf, Jup add a richness and opportunity for the story to extend it’s reach beyond its fight, argue, fight template. To tell you more would be to spoil the ride. Trust me, if you like your fantasy brutal and darkly humoured then this may well be the book for you.

Image - Amazon.