Orbit, Sep 2008, $14.99
“Bodyguard of Lighting”. Half-nyadd Queen Jennesta (her other side is irrelevant and weak) sends her mostly Orc unit the Wolverines to retrieve a cylinder from the humans in Homefield. She warns her commander Captain Stryke not to come home alive without the package; collateral damage is desired. The troops succeed, but celebrate their victory by using illegal drugs they stole from the humans. Kobolds attack the unit and steal the cylinder. Not back on time, Jennesta assumes she was betrayed and so declares the Wolverines as outlaws.
“Legion of Thunder”. Queen Jennesta sends Orc Commander Delorran to kill the Wolverines and bring back her cylinder. The evil sorceress warns her minion not to fail on either of their tasks; if they do she will dine on their life forces. Soon afterward Stryke learns his and his men (and one female) are named outlaws; if they go home her Highness will serve them as her main meal regardless of bringing the cylinder to her. He knows Jennesta waits for no living thing. So he changes the mission to recapturing the cylinder to learn what it contains and go from there.
“Warriors of The Tempest”. Stryke and his warriors struggle to collect the now known five-artifacts and learn how to use them to save the world from the shocking axis of evil. The three deadly sorceress sisters seem to have forged a pact that will lead to pandemic horror if true; as paradoxical as it seems each is the most malevolent powerful being on the planet.
This omnibus edition of Stan Nicholls’ thought provoking Orcs trilogy uses the perspective of the so called “bad guys” to tell the quest fantasy. Their ruminations on the vicious vile violence they obeyed before switching to stay alive make for a fine fascinating saga. However, Tolkien purists will object to the change from wicked Wolverines to courageous champions trying to save the world from the tempest triad. Fans will enjoy this fine threesome as the “Stryker” force makes a strong case against ethnic profiling.