Sunday, October 18, 2009

Orcs: Army of Shadows-Stan Nicholls

Orcs: Army of Shadows
Stan Nicholls
Orbit, Oct 2009, $14.99
ISBN: 9780316033688

After getting off their malignant homeworld, Stryke and the Wolverines settle on the Orc orb Ceragan. Their new home proved idyllic, but over time ennui set in so eagerly they venture to anther world Acurial where they join the resistance whose members are not afraid to fight unlike the Orcs who fear the wrath of the Peczan Empire and their evil Sorceress Jennesta. The Wolverines risk their lives to liberate the oppressed orcs from human domination. Their efforts to spark the feral berserker nature of their submissive local peers lead to a civil war.

Using the stars that let them dimension hop to Acurial they land on a world mostly made up of water with islands as the only land. They land on one island populated by dwarves who believe the newcomers are gods especially the dwarves who are part of the Wolverine horde. When slavers kidnap a dwarf, the Wolverines go after them. In their way is Peli Madigan of the Gateway Cops whose job is to get the stars and bring them back to her order as it is too dangerous for individuals to use. Jennesta lands on the world forcing Stryke to make a decision no sentient being should have to make; the Wolverines believes they can win against overwhelming odds, but must find the courage to battle their enemies.

Tolkien gave Orcs a bad name, but Stan Nicholls redeems them with his Wolverines who are good with a strong sense of morality especially by making them do what they promise once they give their word.. Although battle ready, the group prefers other options before choosing war as a last resort (if only President Bush was a Wolverine). Filled with action that never slows down on dry land or water, readers will be fascinated by the two worlds the Orcs visit on their quest and look forward to final book in the so far entertaining trilogy.

Harriet Klausner

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