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!READ PDF ♫ The Red Duke ♋ Bloodthirsty vampire lord the Red Duke is resurrected from his ancient slumber to terrorise the lands of Bretonnia Both intriguing and slightly frustrating but ultimately fascinating The Red Duke, penned by C.L Werner is told both in the present and the past, following the ancient history of the Duke before the Red came into his title and the present which is split by several characters including the Duke himself If you are a fan of Vampires, fantasy, the Undead or adventure then this book is worth your time It is a great character piece that really enforces why the Duke is the way his, the ups and down Both intriguing and slightly frustrating but ultimately fascinating The Red Duke, penned by C.L Werner is told both in the present and the past, following the ancient history of the Duke before the Red came into his title and the present which is split by several characters including the Duke himself If you are a fan of Vampires, fantasy, the Undead or adventure then this book is worth your time It is a great character piece that really enforces why the Duke is the way his, the ups and down of his insanity and what drives him and his need to conquer Earlier I mentioned my frustration and that is due to some of the other protagonists, while usually fairly solid still manage to make decision that are frustrating I couldn t help but feel frustrated at how stubborn a couple of them were or how a very certain character acted in a very certain situation, but perhaps that is because of the way I read it The story takes place predominately in Bretonnia, a land of harsh chivalry and peasantry not our own, so I would not take that criticism into account too harshly.Ultimately this is a solid fantasy horror novel with the mostly decent characters, a great villain and epic and personal conflicts that put it ahead of many others in the genre.A 4 out of 5 The Red Duke ended up being exactly the type of novel I was expecting to read It pulled all the right strings for me, invoked the right feelings and thus leads me to recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys dark fantasy stories without any hint of hesitation It might even be a fantastic novel to use for an in depth character study.If you like real vampire stories, chances are excellent that you ll enjoy this book If you enjoy knightly honour and human flaws set in a gritty world full of dirt The Red Duke ended up being exactly the type of novel I was expecting to read It pulled all the right strings for me, invoked the right feelings and thus leads me to recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys dark fantasy stories without any hint of hesitation It might even be a fantastic novel to use for an in depth character study.If you like real vampire stories, chances are excellent that you ll enjoy this book If you enjoy knightly honour and human flaws set in a gritty world full of dirty realism, you should pick this one up If you re a fan of Warhammer Fantasy, this book should be mandatory to read anyway.Full Review A mixed bag, The Red Duke is a solid enough story in many respects with good characterization and some really excellent horror moments, but suffers from a poor handling of the source material that repeatedly breaks suspension of disbelief Major points of the story rely on the workings of magic and the supernatural, however the Author seems to pick this tool up and set it down at his convenience, playing havoc with the readers understanding of what should be possible for who, who can do what, an A mixed bag, The Red Duke is a solid enough story in many respects with good characterization and some really excellent horror moments, but suffers from a poor handling of the source material that repeatedly breaks suspension of disbelief Major points of the story rely on the workings of magic and the supernatural, however the Author seems to pick this tool up and set it down at his convenience, playing havoc with the readers understanding of what should be possible for who, who can do what, and how The villains possess vast magical powers which they use at every opportunity to terrifying effect The protagonists, despite explicitly having even greater magical resources at their disposal make virtually no use of it for no discernible reason In once scene the son of a high ranking Duke and one of the most important figures in the protagonists army is gravely wounded in battle and a good bit of drama is made over the fact that he must now go into battle the next day despite his injury This would work, except that only a page or so before it was made explicit that there are a number of magical healers in the camp with the power to cure wounds in a matter of minutes if not seconds We are not given any reason as to why they either cant or wont heal the Duke s son Again, one of the most important figures in the army and all drama generated by the situation was lost as I read and reread looking for any given reason as to why all these magical healers had aperantly just run off right when they were needed most Aside from healing these mages also possess considerable offensive power in the setting, but only one of the many in the camp the day before the finnal battle sees fit to attend said battle Again a supernatural force on the side of the protagonists is set up, and is then never addressed while the villains continue to use magical means to achieve victory in virtually every scene The strange pattern continues as, during the finnal battle other vital sections of the protagonists forces that would dramatical change the nature of the conflict are mysteriously missing with no explanation Despite a full muster of the Dukedom being called, no Grail Knights show up, no Pegasus Knights show up the Duke has one , no Paladins show up, a load of Grail Damsels and various priests show up and then leave before fighting for no reason, they don t build any trebuchets or artillery of any kind, and not a single magical item is brought to the field The one Prophetess on the side of the protagonists that bothers to show up is suddenly and without explanation incapable of using any magic except by harnessing a plot specific artifact which injures her whenever she uses it, effectively cutting her contribution to the battle down to a minimum The author seems intent that the hero s not have access to magic of their own I don t have any problem with this idea by itself, but rather than simply come up with a plausible reason as to why no wizards show up, or are otherwise occupied the Author tells us that they exist and are present and then simply never mentions them again, apparently hoping the reader will just forget them.In a perfectly mirrored opposite to this strange trend, the author could have easily explained the boundless magical powers of the antagonist with a few throw away lines about his own necromancers showing up in numbers to aid him He makes no mention of this however and we are left with the image of one vampire and his small time necromancer accomplice raising a vast army of undead large enough to overthrow an entire major nation all on their lonesome in a matter of a week or so Later in the storydo show up, but by that time it s to late in the story for their presence to be felt and they add no discernible advantage to the enemy despite tripling or quadrupling the amount of magic he has at his disposal These repeated inconsistencies in the narrative take a severe toll on the otherwise high quality of the book, especially towards the end where they becomeandpronounced Considering the amount and quality of other of Warhammer fiction C.L Werner has written these issues were all very unexpected.I would recomend this book for those looking for a quick thrill or who enjoy vampire based fiction, for fans of the Warhammer however the story is not plausible within its own pre established setting and does not line up well with other books set in the same universe you would have to into the particular characters and races featured to be enthralled by this novel written in a very informative style which allows the mind to imagine the environment described. The red duke was a surprisingly fascinating read The story of the red duke is fascinating with an eery feel to it that never let s go until the end of the story The characters are interesting and all main ones get a decent character development I have little to remark it is one of the best of the black library and I won t spoil any further. CAUTION HERE MAY BE SPOILERS A good stand alone novel by one of Black Library s top heavy hitters C.L Werner Its a good story about a Vampire who comes back to reap havoc on the citizens and nobility of Bretonnia A good vampire novel and a great jumping of place if you want to dive into the Vampire lore.The Good Stuff The best thing about this novel is the Red Dukes downfall, after spending a couple of centuries stuck in a old tomb he s lost his mind and keeps flashing between the past and p CAUTION HERE MAY BE SPOILERS A good stand alone novel by one of Black Library s top heavy hitters C.L Werner Its a good story about a Vampire who comes back to reap havoc on the citizens and nobility of Bretonnia A good vampire novel and a great jumping of place if you want to dive into the Vampire lore.The Good Stuff The best thing about this novel is the Red Dukes downfall, after spending a couple of centuries stuck in a old tomb he s lost his mind and keeps flashing between the past and present One minute he s in the present and planning his takeover then all of a sudden his mind has flashed back Its a original idea and works well It was great how his vampire and Necromancer underlings just fall into the role of his old generals when his mind is back in the past, it was fun to read that they know he s insane and can t figure out what they are going to do about it.The Bad Stuff The only thing negative about this book was that at the start of every chapter there was a flash back to how he became a vampire or something leading up to it The problem is there seemed no rhyme or reason to the order, it wasn t in a chronological order leading up to how he became a vampire It just jumps from one time line to the next A good book with a good story by a great Black Library author Another win for C.L Werner and despite the haphazard order to the flash back scenes it was a enjoyable novel Werner does a workmanstyle job of telling a story of intrigue, honour, vampires and madness set across three time periods Sadly the story feels restricted by the 300 page template that pervades game fiction but the Red Duke is possibly the best of CL Werner s books I ve read It is based on an old Warhammer Battle campaign called Circle of Blood but benefits from straying from the script of those battles It focuses on two feuding knights who must put aside their hostility to defeat the Duke.Th Werner does a workmanstyle job of telling a story of intrigue, honour, vampires and madness set across three time periods Sadly the story feels restricted by the 300 page template that pervades game fiction but the Red Duke is possibly the best of CL Werner s books I ve read It is based on an old Warhammer Battle campaign called Circle of Blood but benefits from straying from the script of those battles It focuses on two feuding knights who must put aside their hostility to defeat the Duke.The titular Red Duke is a famed Bretonnian knight who returned from the crusades in Araby subtle as a vampire lord and laid waste to the Duchy of Aquitaine He was eventually killed but his remains were interred He regenerated as vampires are want to do but found himself entombed This drove him quite mad and the author gets quite a lot of mileage by having the unstable vampire flash back to various parts of his past.The story does follow Circle of Blood s outline to a certain extent For instance the first part of the campaign is a battle in the village of Mercal between the undead and a rabble of peasants led by the Holy Knight, a respected knight of the realm In the novel this still happens, but instead the Holy Knight is a failed questing knight who is now a templar of the death god Morr Knights of Morr are something Werner seems to like, they crop up in his tales regularly and his warnings to the arrogant nobility are ignored This chap is get the Warhammer term for siring a vampire, not a grammatical error by the Red Duke and later becomes the titular Dark Knight who serves as his general later on in the story.The shiny Bretonnian honour system takes a bit of a bashing in this story There are no heroic Grail Knights except perhaps for the King Louis the Righteous of Bretonnia, the king during the Duke s first rampage There is a significant amount of the novel devoted to Grail Prophetesses of a local landmark called the Tower of Wizardry Knights of the Realm are content to quarrel amongst themselves The three main knightly protagonists are divided by infighting and seem unable to unite to fight against this great evil, and it is this infighting that allows the Duke to escape his tomb Even Louis the Righteous and his immediate vassals aren t quite as righteous as advertised One learns a lot about the Red Duke in this book, which is great considering he was a bit of a one note villain in Circle of Blood There s little need for detailed motivations for villains in the battle game We learn that he was the rightful Duke of Aquitaine and the king s brother, that he was get by one of the Old World s most powerful Blood Dragon vampires and that before he was turned he was such a frightening warrior he was named El Syf in Araby literally the Sword We learn of how certain parties tried to usurp him It s all good stuff the book does jump around from time period to time period though the thrust of the main narrative is the tale of Circle of Blood.There s some nags It s too short in my view and I would love to have seen it carry on past the climactic battle The nature of this story having to leave the Duke alive is that there is no real satisfying conclusion though a sequel novel set in Warhammer s present could rectify this I wouldn t hold your breath though, this is part of a series of one off tales The twist conclusion to the main story regarding the Duke s bloodline came out of nowhere and left me utterly confused Overall though well worth checking out Who better than C.L Werner to write about one of the Old Worlds most deadliest vampires You will not find a finer book about Vampires, trust me. I mistakenly bought this book thinking it was all about the mad vampire, Konrad von Carstein Instead, it s an enjoyable read about another vampire who is mistakenly set free after hundreds of years of being imprisoned inside a statue.This vampire was actually a former, glorious, Bretonnian duke who was turned by mysterious vampire in the deserts of Araby.Each chapter begins with a flashback from the Red Duke as he recalls his former life as a gallant knight of Bretonnia Then it continues the s I mistakenly bought this book thinking it was all about the mad vampire, Konrad von Carstein Instead, it s an enjoyable read about another vampire who is mistakenly set free after hundreds of years of being imprisoned inside a statue.This vampire was actually a former, glorious, Bretonnian duke who was turned by mysterious vampire in the deserts of Araby.Each chapter begins with a flashback from the Red Duke as he recalls his former life as a gallant knight of Bretonnia Then it continues the story of him wanting to cause havoc to all those in Bretonnia who imprisoned him.Being a big fan of GW s now deceased, grim dark, warhammer world, I thoroughly enjoyed this novel If you re a fan of Vampire Counts and Necromancers, you ll relish this book too