Day eleven in Black Library’s 2016 Advent Calendar brings a second Age of Sigmar story – Bear Eater by David Guymer. Following on from the events of Guymer’s Knights of Vengeance audio drama series, it sees Lord Castellant Hamilcar of the Astral Templars, known as the Bear Eater, leading a handful of Stormcast to meet with the ruler of a nation seemingly untouched by Chaos. Still hunting for Mannfred von Carstein, Hamilcar hopes to warn the people of Jercho (yep, subtle…) of the vampire’s trickery, but even in a realm of constant sunlight he finds that darkness is already waiting for him.
In another example of the freedom that the Age of Sigmar setting provides authors, Guymer has built an intriguing world of light and heat that takes a little getting used to but ultimately feels enjoyably vivid. Into that world comes Hamilcar, a larger than life character who dominates proceedings with his forceful personality and oddly casual manner. Guymer plays up to Hamilcar’s arrogance and insouciance with some interesting stylistic choices which occasionally jar a little, but nevertheless he adds a rare dash of brusque humour that’s not often seen in Warhammer fiction. It all feels a touch unfamiliar, but suggests the next chapter in the hunt for Mannfred might be rather interesting.