Monday, 26 September 2011

'Thanquol's Doom' - C L Werner

This bad boy arrived in the box of goodies the Black Library sent me to review. It was an easy first choice really. Thanquol is the skaven Grey Seer that used to bother Gotrek and Felix, but with little success.  He is a very likeable villain, who is just utterly useless, but a lot of fun. This is my first book where Thanquol is the protagonist, but it's actually his third. Still alive, so he probably did not run into Gotrek in the first two. Thank you Black Library for the review copy of Thanquol's Doom.

Thanquol is knee deep in a swamp, and not too happy. He has once again turned his enemies against each other, and it's time to return back to skavendom in triumph. He should be greatly rewarded, a hero's return. Unfortunately The Horned One wills otherwise. Instead of a hero's welcome Thanqoul is told to keep quiet about his recent adventure or it will be his last. He is then told he must lead an army against a dwarven keep, which have withstood the skavens for a long time. To make matters worse, Thanqoul is told he is just a decoy to draw attention from someone else. Unfathomable, how can they think this other Grey Seer is greater than him? Seething with anger he agrees, like there is a choice, knowing in time he will turn events to his favour.

Thanquol is a great character. It's his many shortcomings, for a human, which makes him so endearing and likeable in spite of being a monster. He reminds me of Peter Seller as Jacques Clouseau. Someone who is way too confident in their own abilities, and manages to make a complete mess of anything they do, but still comes out on top. Thanquol is ten times as bad as Clouseau. The Grey Seer has some terrible magic at his disposal, which is not what you want in the hands of a sociopath killer, which happens to be addicted to a substance which severely impairs his judgement.

Just like with Clouseau, it's a lot of fun following Thanquol on his misadventures. His constant paranoia, justified when dealing with skavens, is a constant source of amusement. His favourite way of explaining why everyone is out to get him, is the rumours which have spread about him. He is supposedly untrustworthy, and prone to turning on his allies. This is obviously spot on, but to Thanquol it's a complete mystery how these rumours came to life.

I do think it's worth mentioning how fun skavens are in general and how well thought out they are. You get a clear picture of their society and how they think and act. This is the third book about Thanqoul, but it's really not necessary to read them to understand skavens. I also love how they speak/squeak. Sometimes instead of saying just one word in a sentence, skavens add an extra word. It's really cool and adds more context and meaning.
'I have all the help I need-want,' Thanquol said. He gestured with his staff at the motley pack of clanrats. 'These are best-fiercest fighter in Bonestash,' he said. 'Worth-equal twenty dwarf-things!' The clanrats seemed to take the compliment with a mix of stupid pride and craven anxiety - no doubt wondering if Thanqoul really expected them to take on twenty dwarfs.
Thanqoul's Doom is really carried by the protagonist from which the book's title is named. The plot is not exactly great, but I don't have a problem overlooking any plot issues or inconsistencies as Thanqoul is far too entertaining to worry about it too much. My biggest issue was how overpowered the slaves were compared to the dwarfs. Skavens have a huge advantage in numbers, and they breed like, well rats. Dwarfs live hundreds of years and their litters are small. The dwarfs would have been obliterated a long time ago if it were not for their advantage in technology and skill at arms. This is all forgotten in Thanqoul's Doom, and it felt like the skavens had all the advantages.

Thanqoul is one of my favourite characters from the Warhammer setting and I enjoyed this book. Our Grey Seer stumbles from one hilarious disaster to the next and in between he manages to blow up a lot of bystanders. Even him venting his anger on the less fortunate skavens is fun, as he on the next page is quivering from fear when confronted with someone more dangerous than himself. Thanqoul's Doom is a blast!

Thanqoul's Doom weighs on at 408 pages and is published by The Black Library. It's due for release in October 2011.

Recommendation: read


  1. when i read the title i thought Thanquol was going to die which made me need to read the end of the book to any mention of him, happy he dosnt die tho!

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