Matthias Thulmann: Witch Hunter by C.L. Werner
I’m not into RPG’s. So I’m not always comfortable with an RPG-based book. But I’ve been to Warhammer’s Old World before — I‘ve read Fell Cargo, and a couple of Dark Blade books. And I do like the main concept of the Warhammer storyline — a medieval world on the brink of apocalypse where a dark empire, ruled by the descendant of a god, is mankind’s only hope against the hordes of Chaos.
So I started this book ready for a sword & sorcery tale that I expected to be mildly entertaining. But, Witch Hunter was so much more. Remember when reading was new, fun, and an adventure? C. L. Werner reminds you with these grim tales.
Mr. Werner creates a gothic setting with classic horror appeal that really made me feel the characters’ dread of Old Night and what might be lurking in the shadows.
Matthias Thulmann is a bold hero, somewhat reminiscent of Robert E. Howard’s Solomon Kane, but he’s also an original and fascinating character of depth. The reader’s first impression is that of a cold-blooded zealot who enjoys the authority of his order. However, as the novels progress it’s revealed how he cleverly uses arrogance like a weapon and he’s a man of honor in a profession that’s riddled with ambitious power-seekers, fanatics, and, sometimes, enemy conspirators. As Matthias battles the minions of Chaos, a struggle with personal demons is the price of his noble campaign.
I also found Streng, Matthias’s hired-sword and torturer, to be an equally intriguing character. More a dog-of-war then a soldier-of-fortune, I picked up hints that Streng’s motivation might not always be as mercenary as what Matthias’s constant reprimands imply.
Matthias and his allies are surrounded by all manner of foes — human, vampire, mutant, undead, and otherwise — and each one is uniquely interesting. It’s profound how the most dangerous of these villains are the ones with good intentions or just don’t perceive their actions as evil.
I enjoyed the Witch Hunter novels so much that I went out and bought two more Warhammer omnibuses and A Time of Legends book. I figure if I have only half the fun with them as I did with C. L. Werner’s tales, it’s money well spent.
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