QUICK REVIEW: Pride and Penitence – Alec Worley

For his second Black Library short story, Alec Worley tackles the famous Blood Bowl team The Bright Crusaders, who are finding it tough in the final of the Purity Cup against the skaven of the Doomtown Rats. Desperate to prove that they can win big despite their famous no-cheating stance they turn to their star player, Gerhardt the Penitent, to see them through. The only problem is, Gerhardt’s skill on the pitch is equalled by his obsession with proving his humility in ways which invariably hinder the team’s progress. With time running out, can he find a way to retain his code and still help his team win?

The preposterousness of a Blood Bowl team who won’t cheat is front and centre here, in an against-the-odds story that’s utterly ridiculous…but hugely entertaining. Being inside Gerhardt’s head is a strange experience, offering a rare (largely) heroic perspective as he valiantly takes on his opponents with barely a thought for his own safety. His mind is instead filled with a bizarre, masochistic sense of fair play that drives him to strange and hilarious behaviour. Daft though it all may be, it’s characterful, beautifully paced and, bar a slight over-reliance upon similes, really nicely written.

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