This is a curious book - for a start it belongs to the genre of 'things written based on role playing games' for a second, it mixes high fantasy with a 'whose going to do it?' and a fair degree of theatrical high jinx. Lets start with the setting. Warhammer is the name given to a game played with small figures, and there is also a role playing system where you make up stories yourself. (Much like Dungeons and Dragons in fact.)The warhammer world is based very heavily on Europe, with countries like Bretonia (France). Unlike many fantasy settings, it has a moderate degere of technology - guns exist. It also has chaos - evil, dark and degenerate forces that threaten society. The eponymous Drachenfels is a monster of elgendary proportions, his origins obscured in the mists of time. A powerful enchanter and source of much evil, he is virtually imortal. That is until a group of young adventurers (a young nobleman, a dwarf, a wizard, an academic, a bandit king, a bounty hunter, an assasin and a vampire) manage to make their way into his castle and kill him off. (having lost most of their aprty in the process.) Many years pass, and the young nobleman, being a chap with some clout, comissions a playwright and actor to stage a play version of what happened, and decides that it would be fun to go back to the old castle and put it on in situ for the entertainment of all the other mad nobles. The survivors of the quest are rounded up - most are old, some are dying and/or mad, the vampire girl Genevieve is the only one who hasn't changed much. However, as plans get udner way for the dramatic production, it becomes clear that soemthing sinister is going on and that drachenfels may well still be a presence to be reackonned with. This is a pretty good book in the context of what it is - it is aimed at the osrt of young teenage lads who play warhammer, so the violence is largely implied (although there's plenty for your ima
gination to get to grips with.)There's a fair bit of plot and a few surprising twists along the way. there's also a fair helping of humour - nothing cheesey thankfully. it's not a big book, so the events come thick and fast, with most of the characterisation being farly minimal. Tolkein it most certainly isn't. It is well worth a read if you have a few hours to kill, because it isn't structured like conventional fantasy (mostly being occupied with the troubles surrounding the staging of the play) and the setting isn't the cliched sort-of-medieval that you usually get. Jack Yeovil has written a few other warhammer novels, but this is generally considered to be one of the best.
Swords and sorcery set in the warhammer gaming world