Age of Legend is an anthology of tales devoted to one of the most interesting fantasy lands around – Warhammer! While I haven’t read many of the stories from this brainchild of Games Workshop, I have enjoyed a few, and that sword and sorcery fun led me to dig up this book of ten, pulse-pounding, gore-coated, sorcery-singed short stories. So let me tell you about them.
A SMALL VICTORY by PAUL S. KEMP (3 STARS)
I realize that it is hard to find very interesting zombie stories these days. There are just so many of them it seems they all recycle the same tired, old ideas. But, even though this one started out as a pretty standard zombie apocalypse (fantasy-style, of course), its twisted ending made it stand out from the zombie hordes.
BLOODRAVEN by SARAH CAWKWELL (3 STARS)
I’m a sucker for dwarves. Just love the bearded dudes. The warhammer dwarves are some of my favorites, because they are just so stubborn, vicious, and brilliant. So this tale about a dwarven stronghold being overrun by a vile horde of Chaos followers from the icy north was right up my alley. The only reason I only gave it three stars is because I didn’t like the ending. Dwarves are too damn vindictive not to take everyone down with them.
CITY OF DEAD JEWELS by NICK KYME (3 STARS)
A monster has overrun a dwarven keep. A group of warriors sent in by a dying king to destroy the monster within. Lots of fighting and dying. Plus, there are dwarves. I mentioned that I dig dwarves, right? But anyway, this story was a really entertaining monster hunt.
THE LAST CHARGE by ANDY HOARE (2 STARS)
An aged knight of Bretonnia who wants to die in glorious battle rather than succumb to the decrepit state of old age. His prayer to a goddess does not go unanswered. The arrival of an enemy well-worthy of the famous knights final battle. I couldn’t have written a better setup for a story, but the ending left me flat. It was too abrupt and not epic enough.
THE NINTH BOOK by GAV THORPE (3 STARS)
A group of mercenaries ends up in a crumbling hunting lodge in the middle of a dark forest. Little do they know they are being followed by Chaos followers – and by another entity who is far more dangerous. The nightmarish tale that follows is sword and sorcery fun – even if you, sort of, know how it will all end.
THE GODS DEMAND by JOSH REYNOLDS (3 STARS)
A city in the Empire is being attacked by a vicious horde of beastmen, led there by Gorthor the Beastlord upon the orders of the Chaos gods themselves. The valiant defenders are led by their elector duke, who is almost as bloodthirsty and mad as his enemies. Soon, both the duke and the beastlord discover what the gods really demand of them. What follows is a very nice, twisted ending. Exactly what I love in short stories.
PLAGUE DOCTOR by C.L. WERNER (3 STARS)
Plague has struck the Empire, spreading its misery across the land as it devastates whole villages and towns. But desperate times are also the best time to make gold for some people, and so it is that our main characters find themselves traveling the land, pretending to be plague doctors, who – for a considerable sum – will help any township ward off or cure themselves of the deadly disease. But naturally, fate has a terrible sense of humor.
THE CITY IS THEIRS by PHILIP ATHANS (3 STARS)
An orc and goblin horde is about to overrun a major city of the Empire. There doesn’t seem to be anyway for its duke to save his people – until an alchemist comes to him with a possible secret weapon. Now, the only problem is how to use its devastating power to best affect with killing anyone in the city as well. This one was a decent story, just a bit too sappy in some parts for me.
THE SECOND SUN by BEN COUNTER (4 STARS)
A human wizard braves the icy north to uncover a mysterious entity. He hopes to awaken it and gain untold knowledge and power. In the future, a mysterious book is discovered. It winds up in the hands of an Associate Comprehender at the Bright College of the Empire. This studious flame wizard braves the most secret knowledge of his order to piece together a forgotten secret. But neither man knows the twisted fate that awaits them. Great story with a really intriguing ending.
AENARION by GAV THORPE (5 STARS)
The First Phoenix King of the Elves has spent years attempting to hold back the Chaotic hordes. His unbreakable will and mighty prowess in battle are the foundation upon which his race’s hopes of salvation have been built. But what happens when a grief so great occurs that Aenarion himself begins to lose faith? And how can this indomitable king be turned aside when he has chosen to journey down a path so terrible that it will lead to the downfall of his entire race? Read this one and find out. As for me, I love anything Aenarion related, so this story was going to be a 5 star no matter what.
Overall, this was a really enjoyable collection of warhammer stories. Sure, they tended to be heavy on the gore-coated combat and vile twists of fate, but still, every one of them was very enjoyable to read and a few were outstanding. So if you love warhammer, dwarves, elves, fierce combat, vile villains, and twisted endings, I’d recommend you picking this one up.