QUICK REVIEW: The Hardest Word – David Guymer

Day Two of 2017’s Black Library Summer of Reading campaign

Set in and around the fortress known as The Seven Words, in the Realm of Ghur, David Guymer’s Age of Sigmar short story The Hardest Word is a typically boisterous tale of Hamilcar Bear-Eater of the Astral Templars. When word arrives that his recently-conquered fortress may be under threat from the insidious skaven, Hamilcar bids his warriors to search for the source of the danger, while he offers up an unconventional distraction. Not one for the subtle option, his choice is bold, brash and surprisingly effective.

Told in an unusual first person present tense this has a hint of myth and legend about it – in terms of both what takes place and how it’s told – emphasised by Hamilcar’s exaggerated confidence-slash-arrogance and matter of fact self belief. He’s not all bluster though, as Guymer shows us just enough behind the swagger to demonstrate a deceptively keen mind. Story-wise it’s all a little daft, and the narration style takes a little getting used to, but it’s nonetheless really rather entertaining to follow Hamilcar’s antics as well as explore an interesting corner of the Mortal Realms. As a teaser for a future full-length novel it suggests there’s something unusual on the horizon from Guymer and Hamilcar.

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