Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Book Review: Master Of Death

Let me put a disclaimer on this one. I love the Vampire Counts. I have at least 3000 points worth of them and i love the huge quantity of fluff that has built up around them over the years. with that out of the way one thing that has been lacking over the years is real insight into the patriarchs (or matriarchs in Neferata's case) of the vampiric bloodlines. yes we know Alcadizar led an army that smashed Lahmia and scattered the vampires to the four winds, but then there is a massive gap in the lore until Nagash returns to recreate his empire. Josh Reynolds was the man chosen to create three time of legends books, each focusing on one of the undead lords that were mentioned during the rise of Nagash trilogy (which, shamefully, i have not read), and so far he has not dissapointed.

W'soran, also refereed quite commonly by the other Vampires as the "old monster", is the patriarch of the Necharach line. He is vain, as are most of his brothers, and cunning like Neferata, but also a monumental coward compared to his brethren. Nagash's death showed him that even the greatest can fall, and fleeing does not irk him like it would his siblings. He also does not mind sacrificing those closest to him to further his plans. He is consumed with finding the secrets of life and death to try to prevent the true death ever occurring to the one person he can't live without, himself.

I didn't know what to think of the book at first. It has an odd structure where, before the start of every chapter, you get a flashback. However the whole story is a flashback, as in the first chapter we see the betrayal of his protege Melkhior (a huge part of the existing background fluff, so a logical thing to place in the book) and W'soran's death. Most of these flashbacks seemed to have no continuity to them, often they were his interactions with his fellow vampires, and quite often him running from the problem at hand, trying to take as many of his books and acolytes with him. most of them didn't seem to fit. Their were alot with Ushoran that made sense as it showed that he was the only one of his brethren he seemed to get along with, and built the tension as Ushoran was now his greatest enemy, having been possessed by the crown of Nagash. Overall the book showed his attempts to become greater than the great necromancer, to transcend death and become unto the god that Nagash believed himself to be. Since we have already witnessed his death we can view this story as a tragedy as we know the great work will never be complete.

It is in the conclusion of the book, however, that the fog was lifted and everything made perfect sense. Everything that was learned, all the flashbacks, all the pointless little ditties came together in the final battle and an absolutely breathtaking finale. I will not spoil it, but it made the whole book, and made me so so very pleased that i had persisted. From that end alone i give it a 9/10, and recommend you check it out if you are a fan of the background of these great characters.

Master Of Death is on sale at Games Workshop stores, on the Black Library website, or available as an Ebook.

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