Knight of the Realm
BL Publishing (410 pp, $7.99, 2009)
Reviewed by Bill Ward
A sequel to last year’s Knight Errant, Anthony Reynolds’ Knight of the Realm continues the story of the young Bretonnian knight Calard and his adventures in the grim world of Warhammer. If you are not familiar with the Warhammer setting – a world based on a very popular gaming franchise from Games Workshop – it is essentially a mash-up of very familiar fantasy elements such as orcs, elves, and dwarves with a decidedly dark edge. It is a bleak, violent place, a place always in the midst of war and in danger of being overrun by the insane worshippers of Chaos.
Chaos has proven to be this series’ primary antagonist, as Calard and his half-brother, Bertelis, earned their knightly spurs in the first book fighting against tides of goat-headed beastmen. In Knight of the Realm, an army of Chaos-worshipping Norscans – think seven-foot-tall black magic Vikings – are raiding the length and breadth of Bretonnia and the combined armies of the land must ride out to defeat them. Bretonnia is a region modeled on an idealized medieval France replete with chivalry, knightly contests, and a rigid feudal hierarchy, but infused with a strong Arthurian flavor in the form of a cult of the Lady of the Lake and saint-like Grail knights.