The Revenge Of The Dwarves (The Dwarves book 3) by Markus Heitz (book review).

With this book, ‘The Revenge Of The Dwarves’, the third part of ‘The Dwarves’ series of books, Markus Heitz’s lumbering epic works its way towards some sort of conclusion. A somewhat unconventional enemy army for a fantasy setting, one that’s formed of hybrids half-orc and half-elf, roams about the world, dishing out the usual destruction that’s to be expected of such things. As ever with this sort of tale, there’s a super-weapon from ages past that could be used to secure the ultimate victory by whichever side takes possession of it and, needless to say, our hero, the redoubtable Tungdil, is leading the way for those on this side of all that’s good and holy.


If this sounds a bit formulaic, that’s because it is. This isn’t to say that ‘The Revenge Of The Dwarves’ is in any way badly written or clumsily plotted. On the contrary, the translation of this originally German-language novel is brisk and mostly readable, though in places overtly short sentences may cause the text to come across a bit choppily. But Heitz is a master of the art of creating fantasy worlds, giving his Dwarven race a rich enough history to make them believable, in much the same way as Stan Nicholls has managed with his ‘Orcs’ novels.

On the other hand, the sheer number of new words invented for the novel can sometimes be a little overwhelming. There’s a handy glossary of character names at the back of the novel, but a gazetteer of locations and lexicon of invented items and creatures would have been useful, too.

In addition, while Heitz is very good at world-building, character development isn’t necessarily one of his strengths. Some basically pointless ‘depth’ is added to the hero Tungdil by creating personal inner demons for him to slay before dealing with the external, actual demons threatening the existence of his kin. Indeed, there’s often far too much in this novel for its own good. As a simple D&D-style paperback, the basic story could have been told quickly and efficiently in half as many pages and, in all honesty, at times ‘The Revenge Of The Dwarves’ just feels laboured and overlong.

Nonetheless, the novel works, more or less, and those who’ve enjoyed the first two novels will enjoy finding out more about Tungdil, his allies and world. It’s an interesting twist on the usual fantasy tropes that the elf characters are so frequently back-footed and revelation of the magical power and foresight of certain humans may come across as a bit of surprise. Ultimately, ‘The Revenge Of The Dwarves’ is a solid, if a bit dry and overlong piece of fantasy fiction about war, bravery and sacrifice.

Neale Monks

October 2014

(pub: Orbit/LittleBrown. 768 page small enlarged paperback. Price: £ 8.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-84149-935-2)

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