Tuesday, 4 February 2014

‘Unseen’ – David Guymer (Black Library)

In the depths of the Drakwald forest, a group of mercenaries gather around the fire, drinking to ward off the chill of the night. But more than cold is waiting for them in the darkness, and soon they find themselves being stalked by a creature more deadly than they could ever have imagined...

A short review today as not only have I caught Hope’s cold but she also decided to wake me up at half two this morning to ask me if today was a nursery day… Not a great way to start the day then and it isn’t surprising that my brain feels like a large lump of half melted cheese. In times like this, I can always count on a Black Library book to cheer me up a bit (despite what I’ve been saying recently), especially if it’s a Warhammer fantasy one that takes me back to the Old World. I love it there, a land in a state of perpetual warfare that seems to give rise to thoroughly readable novels more often than not. That was what I needed today and that’s what I got with ‘Unseen’, a short burst of fantasy fiction that gets its claws into you just like, well… whatever is paying a visit to the home of the wizard Heinrich Frisen. It’s a vicious piece of work and its encounter with the mercenaries, hired by Frisen, makes for brutal reading in a fight that is compelling purely because the outcome is never in doubt.

It’s not just these moments that make the book though. Guymer works very well to bring in the oppressive atmosphere of the Drakwald Forest and add that to the unease felt by the mercenaries, especially so given this is such a short book (forty six pages on my phone). It all makes for a tale where the tension is introduced subtly and then expanded on until just the right moment when it is set free. Guymer shows here that he has a firm hand on the plot and has the timing down to a tee.

‘Unseen’ is a tale that Black Library fans will get a lot more out of than regular readers I think; it’s not a long tale at all and I think Guymer uses this as a way of skipping detail where he can get away with it (assuming that the reader should already have some knowledge about the setting). I’d say don’t let that put you off though if you haven’t tried a Black Library book before; ‘Unseen’ may skimp on the detail but it does everything else just right and made for a read that filled in my lunch break just perfectly. Now all I need to do is get through the rest of the day…

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