Orcs: Bad Blood
Orbit, Apr 2009, $14.99
On the planet Maras-Dantia, the Wolverine band of Orc soldiers unwillingly served the cruel evil Queen Jennesta; she demanded they find five instrumentalities. When they are put together, they form a portal that opens up into other worlds. The orcs use it to go to their homeworld Ceragan, a clean place populated by Orcs only. The leader of the wolverine band Stryke and others are weary of the constant deadly battles and see this realm as a haven.
They choose to remain here and stop fighting in order to live out the remainder of their lives rusticating in harmony and peace. Seraphim the human arrives informing them of a depressing tale of atrocities as orcs are in decline and humans are hunting them like they are dumb beasts on Acurial. The wolverines learn that Jennesta still lives and is coming after them to take the instrumentalities that will make her queen of all worlds. Stryke and the wolverines know they must go to Acurial to end the genocide and prevent the queen from achieving her objective. Jennesta remains in a position of power so has much to toss at her former minions whom she calls traitors. Still Stryke and the Wolverines are willing to fight to the death to prevent her from making an already horrific situation worse.
ORCS: BAD BLOOD makes a case that the species is not evil brutal thugs but are intelligent rational beings who battle to the extreme rather than surrender (think of the Highlander warriors in pre Culloden Scotland). They do not believe in slaughter, massacres or genocide, but will bravely fight against overwhelming odds. In fact they look forward to a quiet life and death in bed on their new world, but feel duty calls so they travel Acurial world to free the orcs though they assume a trap awaits them. There is plenty of action though little is settled even as Stryke and his wolverines prove the orcs are so different than the prejudicial Tolkien standard.