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A Troll that reads ? whatever next !


The Pride of A King.

A Trollish review.

Mantic Does Books! I had heard the rumours, wafting into my Troll Ears like the vapours of a Bisto advert, that there were a group of intrepid keyboard tappers that have made it their mission to put into words the lives of characters in the Lore of Pannithor(or is it Mantica? not sure tbh) so I endeavoured to obtain and read these books, however I do 90% of my reading on Kindle and was initially unsure of how to obtain the books. I did manage to obtain a copy of Steps to Deliverence and read it, but at the time I was a bit meh! About the background of Pannithor and so I think the story washed over and through me lol. Then I attended the Clash of Kings Tournament in the UK, in the Goody bags we were presented with was a copy of one of the Mantic Novels! Outstanding!

I managed to get Drowned Secrets and Broken Alliance and when the furor of the Tournament had faded I sat down and read the Books, both of which touch on the subject of Dwarven society as they feature Free Dwarfs as encounters in a couple of the chapters, this wetted my appetite to discover more about how the Mantic Writers figured the Free Dwarfs into the burgeoning background of their world order. I have already been through the sourcebooks so far and noted down a lot of the Lore surrounding Free Dwarfs and their uptight cousins the Imperial Dwarfs and when it was announced that there was a Dwarf centred novel being released I eagerly awaited its arrival. Because I read on Kindle mostly I delayed my purchase until I could buy the ebook from Amazon so there will be a lot of people out there that are way ahead of me in this.

I am a massive Fan of Free Dwarfs , I have played Dwarfs since 1st edition Warhammer Fantasy Battle when I eagerly sent away my coupon from the game box to gain my Free Thorgrim Branedin model to take part in the Ziggurat of Doom scenario from the book, Legions of Stout hearted Warriors have marched across the table for the past 46 Years from a multitude of manufactures and scales before I discovered the Mantic Dwarfs and their unique Brock Cavalry and then, to my joy the Free Dwarfs were created and I fell in love all over again.

The Book itself opens with a brief description of the races of Pannithor followed by a Timeline that lists the current Pannithor novels in chronological order which is useful if you are just getting into the Lore and want to read them in a meaningful order , this will be more useful as the number of books in the series increases and the Lore and timeline gains more substance within the setting.

Then comes the Prologue, this is accompanied by a nice graphic of a map of Halpi and of Abercarr, the realm of the Imperial Dwarfs. The Prologue sets out a brief History of the three main types of Dwarfs represented in Pannithor, Free Dwarfs, Imperial Dwarfs and Abyssal Dwarfs and of the events leading up to the story told in the main book , it also details the Religions of the Dwarfs and gives an idea of the motivations behind each of the Dwarf Types , the Prologue is written in the style of a scholarly essay pertaining to Dwarfs and their culture from a study by a Professor. This Prologue expands on the Lore already contained in various rulebooks and supplements that I have read and puts it into a context together as one document , Needless to say I have copied this information into my own notes for writing background for my Free Dwarfs, very useful indeed as it helps set the stage for the main body of the novel.

The actual story itself is well written and held my interest for the few days it took me to digest it, I found the Characters very interesting and I must say that the descriptions of some of the Free Dwarf characters themselves will result in the changing of some models I currently use in my Army and the addition of others that I now feel should be included to add that extra bit of authenticity to My Army.

I enjoyed the description of how the Dwarfs functioned in both their societies and warfare , how their Clans functioned and how the differences between the Free Dwarf society and the Imperial Dwarf society had led to both mutual mistrust and often downright hostility with one side feeling oppressed and the other feeling burdened with Free loaders. It made the fact that the majority of the book is all about Dwarfs with only brief cameos from other races easier to deal with as the differences between the Free, Imperial and Abyssal Dwarfs were explored and also how similar they all were which made the tensions between them all the more saddening. The way the role of Clan society and Religions dictated the Way the different Dwarf factions behaved and interacted was cleverly handled in the narrative.

I loved the fact that any player of Kings of War could readily identify troop types and combat formations from the description of the Battles in the book and a further delve into the “Tail” operations of Dwarf society aside from just throwing warriors into fights but how to keep them in the field and supplied was touched upon with a Dwarf Twist on the logistics of war. An insight into the battles fleshed out several troop types from being simply entries in an army list to being characterful in their own right. The various “Dirty Tricks” employed by both sides in the Book made me think of skirmish sized wargames based in Pannithor , but not, alas the overly complicated Vanguard, perhaps I may adapt another set to allow smaller than Ambush actions although some of the Mountain based scenarios lend themselves to Ambush games and there is a fantastic siege. So many ideas from this one book, although I must admit that after I read Broken Alliance I did dig out my Halfling sprues again. One of the many reasons I am a fan of Novels based on Fantasy Wargames Lore.

I was slightly disappointed by the Plot twists as I did spot a couple a way ahead which is unusual for me , perhaps the author had aimed at a slightly younger audience although with the amount of injury detail and Post Traumatic Stress , high body count and sometime ghoulish detail I don’t think so. It may just be my Classical education has spoilt me with subtle plots? But overall the Story clipped along at a pace quick enough to carry me with it and the fact that I did not do my usual feat of having two or three books on the go at the same time speaks volumes for the grip the story had.

Overall I was impressed by the amount of Lore and depth that this book has added to the Pannithor-ian version of my Favourite fantasy race and I am in the process of reading back through the books and taking notes so I can add canon to my own fan fiction backgrounds.

I particularly liked the fact that the Dwarf narrative has been advanced from the creation of the Free Dwarfs , through the Halpi’s Rift campaign and a bit of their own evolution to where the Dwarfs stand now, without spoiling the book too much I can say I am both worried and excited by the Hint of Foreshadowing that happens due to the events in the Pride of the King !

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