My eyes are red and tearing from my last heroic push to complete this tome. Do I get an unlock for that? Gotrek & Felix: The First Omnibus is a collection of three books (Trollslayer, Skavenslayer and Daemonslayer) from William King and based on Warhammer Lore. The first two books are collections of short stories and novellas while the third is a full length novel.
Gotrek Gurnisson is a Slayer; a dwarf who has suffered some shame (this far the details of which have yet to be revealed) and as a way to make amends is seeking a glorious death. Felix Jaeger is the son of a rich merchant; a scholar and poet, who was expelled from university after killing a fellow student in a duel. After this, he somehow provoked the famous Window Tax Riots, during which Gotrek saved his life. The two went out and got good and drunk together after this incident, and Felix swore an oath to travel with Gotrek and record his doom.
The books are written from Felix’s point of view (which fits well as he is the chronicler of Gotrek’s journey), and it is his growth as a character that keeps things interesting. Gotrek is more or less a force of nature, running towards any and every hopeless battle while Felix reluctantly follows along and inevitably ends up performing better than he ever hoped he would.
Trollslayer has the pair cavorting across the lands encountering all manner of evil in a loosely linked series of stories. Skavenslayer is more focused and concentrates on the Skaven (rat-men) plot to take over the city of Nuln. King’s rendition of the Skaven is wonderfully awful; cowardly, malicious creatures who are always one scare away from “squirting the musk of fear” or chewing their own tails out of nervousness or frustration. In Daemonslayer, Gotrek and Felix take part in an expedition into the Chaos Wastes of the North.
As a stand-alone book, Gotrek & Felix: The First Omnibus is great fun, a wonderful swords and sorcery (and bit of steampunk) yarn. My only real Warhammer connection is Warhammer Online, and I don’t think I would’ve enjoyed the book any less had I not been playing WAR; I’d recommend it for any fan of s&s fantasy.
On the other hand, reading the book really helped keep me in the mood for playing the game, so if you’re a WAR subscriber you might want to keep that in mind.
You may be a bit lost at first (I was) since the first book is all short stories, but soon enough you’ll get a feel for the characters and really start enjoying them. King’s skill as a writer improves through the three books as well (or so it seemed to me). The writing seems to get better and better as the series goes on.
I don’t usually get caught up on price, but this is also quite a bargain. Amazon lists the book $8.79 USD at the time of this writing, and it runs 763 pages. The downside is that it’s a mass-market paperback with about a 1.75″ spine, so it probably won’t stand up to too many readings without the spine cracking.