Trollslayer is a 1999 novel by William King. It is the first in the Gotrek & Felix series, which is set in the Warhammer universe. The fantasy one, not the fascist space ubermenschen one. Trollslayer contains one troll, which is slain fairly early in the book. Gotrek and Felix are not exactly friends, they are companions; Gotrek Gurnison is a dwarf who swore an oath to redeem some nebulous crime of his through death in combat against the strongest things he can find, and Felix Jaeger is a human who drunkenly swore an oath to follow him around and write an epic tale of Gotrek’s doom.

The book is very good at giving you the jist of who these two guys are. Each chapter is self-contained, as Trollslayer was compiled from short stories, so the two are introduced over and over, often referencing previous exploits as Felix is no warrior and the horrors he’s seen weigh on him frequently. This actually lends the book to casual reading, as each chapter is fairly short and thus the pacing of the adventures is very snappy. Every chapter has climactic battles, savage foemen, and is interesting and different from the others. There’s no cliffhangers, there’s no chapters of people just sitting around and twiddling their thumbs waiting for the plot to progress, there’s just Gotrek and Felix murdering evil things in the wilderness.

This same structure means the book does not end satisfyingly. There’s no through-line to the book. On a show like Veronica Mars, where episodic is the word of law, there is still an overall plot running in the background of the season, so by the time things are done, Veronica has solved the Big Case as well as all these little ones along the way. Trollslayer does not have this, it just kind of… ends. Did Felix learn anything? Did Gotrek? Have they changed? Perhaps not. Felix has a new sword, Gotrek one less eye, but they don’t appreciably move from start to finish.

Is it good, or is it ain’t?

It’s good. Nothing I think I would heartily recommend as a must-read, but it’s kept me company on the recumbant bike the past week or so, and I think that’s a good enough endorsement. Not painful to read, but not so amazing I couldn’t put it down. A good book.


~ by Tim H on March 2, 2013.

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