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Title: Temple of the Serpent
Series: Warhammer: Thanquol & Boneripper #2
Author: C.L. Werner
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Format: Digital Edition
Thanquol is blamed for the loss of the warpstone in the previous book and various skaven faction leaders all plan on killing him. To survive, he goes on a mission with the assassin faction to wipe out the leader of a city sacred to that faction. The assassins were driven out long ago and a race of lizardmen took it over. Now it is up to Thanquol and a small army to penetrate a dangerous jungle, find the city, kill the leading magician and make it back home. Hopefully with loads and loads of loot.
There is a magic toad, who has the power of mathematics from the higher powers, that is orchestrating many strings. In response to the skavens coming to the city, he brings a boatload of humans to balance out the equation and to see what the final solution will be. The final solution? Every single human dies by the end of the book. Almost every single skaven is killed and the lizardman magician dies as well. The toad goes back to contemplating mathematics.
Thanquol gets back to the ship and after a fight with zombie pirates, abandons the ship in a lifeboat and the magic toad magically has it go back to the skaven capital. That is how the book ends.
I rather enjoyed this dark fantasy. Having a villain as the main character allows me to root against him and when things fall apart around him, it isn’t a bad thing but a good thing. It also helps that skavens as a race are just despicably cowardly creatures and the author does a fantastic job of getting into Thanquol’s head and showing how he can switch his thought process on a dime. Each skaven is completely self-centered, so what is good is what is good for them at that moment.
I knew that the human storyline was going to be a bloody mess, but I figured the mercenary guy, Graetz Adalwolf, might survive. I did not see him killing himself to escape the attention of the magical toad. Good call though, as that would probably end up having been hell on earth for Graetz. There was only one female human character, so she was the obvious love interest, but it was written in such a desultory manner that it was no surprise when she bites it at the end. In fact, with just a very small re-working, the whole human storyline could have been done away with. But since they provided at least half the blood and entrails, this story would only have been half as fun without them.
Boneripper. Once again, not really a character but a name. Thanquol seems to have quite the limited imagination when it comes to naming his rat ogres, so when they unsurprisingly die in one violent way or another, he just names the new one Boneripper. Bonerippers remind me more of a force of nature than a character. Kind of like a super violent magical spell that Thanquol has, but in the shape of an ogre.
Now, like I stated at the beginning, I did enjoy this. I only rolled my eyes once, right near the end. Some human zombies that the skaven army had encountered takes over the ship that Thanquol needs. Can anyone say “Pirates of the Caribbean”? Sigh. But it did allow the current Boneripper to die and become a food source for Thanquol on his magical boat ride back to his home. Ok, that whole “magical boat ride back home” thing had me rolling my eyes too.
But I still want to read the final book in the trilogy. Considering how I’ve felt about previous Warhammer books, that counts as a stunning success for me.