Die-die, murder-meat!

After a series of failures, Grey Seer Thanquol is offered a chance to redeem himself by journeying to the island of Lustria to kill the Prophet of Sotek. Dogged by assassins and stranded in a foreign land of giant lizards, temple cities and endless jungle, Thanquol must use all of his cunning and magic if he is to come out alive.

Temple of the Serpent is the second Thanquol & Boneripper novel by CL Werner, published in 2010. It follows directly on the heels of Grey Seer, with Thanquol’s disasterous adventure landing him under the thumb of Clan Eshin’s Nightlord Sneek who has a special mission only the famous Grey Seer Thanquol can do. Deathmaster Snikch puts in an appearance, making me want to purchase his model more than usual.

I wound up liking Grey Seer, to my surprise, but wrote off the idea of a series as so much nonsense. I was thus quite surprised to discover this book. There’s something immensely enjoyable about Thanquol. He’s such a profound example of double-think, it’s a joy to read; he will often flipflop between contrary stances at the drop of a hat, all with absolutely no pause. We have always been at war with Eurasia.

In proud tradition, Thanquol names both bodyguards he gets Boneripper. And they both die. Oh, Thanquol. Never, ever change. I fully expect the series to ratchet up the amount of dead Bonerippers. Eventually, each book will come with a copy of Yakety Sax.

There’s also plenty of descriptions of Thanquol voiding his musk-bladders, if you’re into that. Eventually this made it sound a lot like Thanquol was pissing himself. Maybe that was the joke!

Much like the previous book, there’s a hapless human story, with an all-powerful slaan priest, Lord Tlaco, taking over the third storyline as this novel’s ridiculously powerful magic-user.

Thanquol is sent to Lustria with a force from Clan Eshin to assassinate the prophet of Sotek, the serpent god who had driven Clan Pestilens back to the Old World where they waged war on the normal skaven and very nearly won. On Lustria, Lord Tlaco knows they’re coming and uses his magic to drag a human ship across the ocean to interfere or… or something. Slaan are weird. I don’t think even Tlaco knew why he did what he did.

The humans crash on Lustria. They have an elf with them, but he dies really quick so there’s not much awesome elven action. The survivors meet up with the skaven, who enslave them. Turns out the temple of Sotek is warded against skaven and humans are the perfect tool to go in and destroy the wards! If only they would stop running away… but Thanquol has a fiendish plan! Threaten to kill the hot babe the man-meat brought with them.

And then everything goes to shit for everyone involved. In the end, Thanquol survives to row a dinghy across the entire atlantic ocean by himself while Tlaco adjusts the ocean to speed him on his way home.

Is it good or is it ain’t?

It was pretty good, I enjoyed it quite a lot! The criticisms from the previous novel carry over in a lot of ways. The human story meanders because the real meat is with the skaven, but everything turns into a roller-coaster once the two sides hook up right until the last dozen pages or so, where it starts to lag again.

The skaven dialogue is painful and full of hyphenation, since what’s interesting in an army book from 199x doesn’t necessarily work out to something delightful to read (or I’m sure to write) in novel form. It gives them flavour, though, letting you know exactly who is talking at any given time. If you want to bash the book against your face, skaven! If not, absolutely anyone else is speaking!

I found this book to be an enjoyable read in an enjoyable series. gg, CL, gg

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~ by Tim H on December 12, 2011.

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