Saturday, February 28, 2015

Retro Reviews: The Broken Lance by Nathan Long

The Broken Lance
Author:  Nathan Long
Series:  Warhammer: Black Hearts
Original Publisher and Date:  Games Workshop, November 29, 2005
Still in Print:  Not as an individual novel
Current Formats and Length: Paperback, 256 pages
Availability: You can find it used online, or in omnibus format.
ISBN: 9781844162437

Brief History

Nathan Long started writing at the age of 12 and spent several years writing screenplays for TV and films. He's written 15 novels in the Warhammer shared world so far, and Valnir's Bane was his first book published in 2004. His first original book written out of the shared world is Jane Carver of Waar, a parody/ode to Edgar Rice Burroughs. He's also written a few video games.

The Black Hearts series is a reflection of Long's love of the old classic film heroes, everyday men who went through incredible events, and, just as often as they were heroic, they also showed their fear or weaknesses.

Back Cover Description

A deserted outpost...A cry for help...or a trap! In the second book of the "Black Hearts series", Reiner and his band of reprobates are given a new mission. All communications with a vital Imperial border fort have been lost, and they are sent to find out what's going on - has the commander gone rogue, or are more sinister forces at work! The memorable rogues from last year's Valnir's Bane return with another tale of bravery and treachery. Reiner and his fellow criminals are back with another suicide mission. Can their luck hold out once more!

Brannigan's Review

In my review of Valnir's Bane, I mentioned I came across this series by mistake as I was looking for a different series with the word 'black' in the title. Since then, I've read the first book in each series and The Black Hearts series is by far the more enjoyable one, so I had to dive into its second book.

The Broken Lance is a superb second book. It gets right into the action and has an even quicker pace than the first book. Our favorite group of dishonorable men—and one woman—find themselves once again forced to serve the crown on a secret mission to discover the intentions of a general that feels slighted by the king. Of course, Nathan Long begins to throw enjoyable twists into the plot that force the protagonists to battle with the choice of protecting their own hides or saving the kingdom again.

I truly enjoy a well-written rogue, and Long does it marvelously. He knows how to make scoundrels worth rooting for. It's one of the reasons I hate the modern, dark, and gritty fantasies with their unlovable rogues. I want to laugh and cheer my scoundrels to victory. Even with the fun of the book, Long still allows moments of emotional weight to come into the story and show that his characters have substance.

The Broken Lance is the second book everyone wants to read. It adds to the mythology of the characters and amps up the action and twists. I'll be reviewing the third book in the near future so keep an eye out for it. There are a few minor moments of descriptive violence and implied sexual activities, but I have no problem recommending this book to teens or adults. After enjoying the first and second book, I recommend you go out and buy your own copy, or better yet, the omnibus.


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