BL Publishing (411 pages, $7.99, 2008)
Reviewed by Bill Ward
Every race or culture in Warhammer has fairly clear antecedents — Dark Elves are reminiscent of Moorcock’s Melnibonéans, Orcs and Goblins have their ultimate roots in Tolkien, and human societies like the Norsca and Kislivites have obvious historical counterparts. But it’s almost odd that the Bretonnians, a society modeled on Medieval France, have received as little attention as they have because, when most people think of secondary world fantasy, it is Medieval Europe that immediately springs to mind as the foundation for such worlds. Not so in Warhammer, which overwhelmingly focuses on the territory of the Empire, a society modeled on the Renaissance principalities of Germany.
But with Knight Errant, Anthony Reynolds sets out to give the Bretonnians their due, with what is obviously the first book of a planned series chronicling the adventures of a young knight named Calard. Calard is the first son and heir of the Lord Garamont, castellan of Bastonne, one of the primary dukedoms of the realm of Bretonnia. Bretonnia is patterned on Medieval France, with similar names, chivalric code, heraldry, emphasis on mounted combat, and feudal structure. But this is also the world of Medieval romances such as the Song of Roland and Le Morte D’Artur, complete with a Lady in the Lake, magic weapons, and knights who have sworn to quest for the Holy Grail.