Lord of the Night reviews the third novel in the Thanquol and Boneripper series, Thanquol’s Doom.
“Grey Seer Thanquol, mightiest of the mighty, dread-terrible overlord of underearth and Prophet of the Horned Rat returns to match his undefeatable brain against the Dwarves. But has the smart-genius Thanquol met his match in the infamous Ikit Claw and his infernal machines?”
~The Founding Fields
(Note: This is an advanced review of Thanquol’s Doom. It is scheduled for release in October 2011.)
Thanquol is back and meaner than ever in his latest adventure that sees him go against the ancient enemy of all Skaven. The Dwarves. C.L Werner has really made Thanquol his own through this series, Thanquol has become so much more than just a special character in the game. He’s a villain that many yearn to see in the novels, very few villains can ever gain their own series and Thanquol is without a doubt the best of them.
Fresh from his unlikely success in Lustria Thanquol returns to Skavenblight through trickery, betrayal and by breaking yet another of his hasty oaths to himself. But the Horned Rat does not allow rest as Thanquol is shanghaied, first by Warlock-Engineer Kaskitt Steelgrin into robbing a Warlord of Clan Mors while he assaults a Dwarven stronghold! And then by Seerlord Kritislik into joining the drug-addled Grey Seer Skraekual into a secret mission, the secret Thanquol is not privy too, while robbing Mors. But when Ikit Claw usurps control of the army for his own purposes Thanquol finds himself caught between the violent war-rats of Mors and the insane tinker-rats of Skryre. It will take all his cunning, brutality, magic, his new undying servant Boneripper (Whom all Army Book readers will recognize as Thanquol’s signature robotic Boneripper), and a pinch of warp-snuff to survive this, especially when old enemies conspire to doom the malevolent Thanquol once and for all.
Thanquol is as nasty and hilarious as ever in his latest adventure. All readers of this series and of G&F should know what to expect from the great Thanquol! After all, he is the greatest of all Skaven, the chosen of the Horned One, he who will usher in the ascendancy and who can crush any enemy from the lowliest clanrat to the mightiest Dwarven slayer… at least that’s what runs through his head a lot. With Boneripper by his side, there’s nothing he can’t accomplish… until the warp-snuff clears his head.
A plethora of great characters make their debuts in the novel, and their final appearances as well. Most notably we have the legendary Ikit Claw who serves as the antagonist of the novel and makes a great impression, as the mechanical Dr Frankenstein of the Skaven. Ikit is mad, even by Skaven standards, and gives Thanquol the greatest challenge he’s had since Gotrek and Felix tried to kill him. Grey Seer Skraekual, a drug-addicted fawn-whelp, plays a big role as he leads Thanquol on a quest to recover something that will decide the fate of the entire Skaven campaign. And another character makes a big appearance later on, but I won’t spoil who it is… suffice to say that I enjoyed this character endlessly and I pray he and Thanquol cross paths again.
And the Dwarves aren’t lacking for interesting characters. The innovative Klarek Bronzehammer is the leading Dwarf point of view, and with his Iron Throng consisting of the veteran Horgar Horgarsson, the young Runepriest Kurgaz Brightfinger, the doctor Kimril and the hunter Thorlek, he is prepared to doom Thanquol, or doom himself trying. And the Slayer Mordin Grimstone gives yet another crazed Dwarf-thing who wants Thanquol dead, at least this one doesn’t have a man-thing tagging along.
And an old enemy returns to pay Thanquol a visit, I won’t spoil it as its extremely surprising, but I doubt we or Thanquol have seen the last of this enemy.
The action of the novel is packed with Skaven tactics and warfare. Leaders who fight in the traditional position, in the rear ranks. Massed rushes of half-naked, or fully-naked (An important distinction), Skavenslaves into the enemy, and plenty of warped Clan Skryre machines and tinker-toys to massacre the Dwarf-things, when they function properly. Dwarves fighting Skaven underground is the sort of stuff both army books are filled with, and we finally get to read a real battle between this subterranean enemies. Expect lots of carnage, overpowered magic blasts, and some surprising battles near the finale.
The pacing is well written. The atmosphere of the novel shifts with Thanquol, when he exults in his incredible power its hard not to feel empowered along with him, and when he realises he’s in way over his horns the reader feels the need to shrink down and start mindlessly praising the Skaven with the larger weapon. The humour in the series is as grand as ever, anyone who doesn’t laugh while reading this novel just doesn’t have a sense of humour. Thanquol is a rare character whose both menacing, evil and yet can make the reader laugh repeatedly and consistently. One of my particular favourites is a scene involving Thanquol, a slave-dealer, and a pirate crew and their barge-scow, and Thanquol’s utterly laughable interior monologue.
The ending is an interesting one. The Dwarves are a strong people but its clear that in the long-run, its not the Skaven who will destroy them, its the Dwarves themselves. Their inability to make progress into the future is what will drive them to extinction, not the Children of the Horned Rat. And of course Thanquol is alone again, and poor which is even worse! But one way or another, he’s getting some warpstone before he slinks back to Skavenblight.
I give Thanquol’s Doom an 9.2/10 for another great misadventure for Thanquol and Boneripper. These two make a fantastic pair, Thanquol’s megolomaniacal genius and Boneripper’s dull unquestioning loyalty.
Should you buy this book? If your a fan of Skaven then I would definitely say yes. This is the premier Skaven series, but any fan of Fantasy should be willing to give the series a try. And if you want a book you can enjoy and laugh at, then Thanquol’s Doom is definitely for you.
That’s it for this novel. Next up is Red & Black, but I very much look forward to Thanquol’s next adventure, he may be poor and in deep trouble, yet again, at the end of the novel but I’m sure he’ll find a way to blame it all on somebody else.
AVE DOMINUS NOX!