With the success of Total War: Warhammer, there has been a renewed interest in the Old World that the game is set in. Ironically the Old World no longer ‘exists’, it having been destroyed in the end times and rebooted as Age of Sigmar. It is now euphemistically called ‘the world that was’. Before the end of the Old Old World (that makes perfect sense…), there were quite a few good novels and series depicting it; some of which you can still buy. Some of my favourites are:
Gotrek and Felix (originally by William King)
The longest and best of series set in the Old World. I’m a particular connoisseur of the first set of novels written by the excellent William King.
The stories tell the tales of the Trollslayer Gotrek and his human companion Felix, who has sworn to record Gotrek’s deeds when/if he falls in battle. What follows is a series of increasingly incredible scenarios that manage to show off some of the best elements of the old world. We see everything from chaos cultists to Skaven and daemons to dragons. They are rip-roaring fun, easy to read and a great introduction to the setting.
I believe they are still all available on the Black Library as eBooks.
Zavant by Gordon Rennie
A left field one this and you can only find it on places like Amazon and eBay second-hand. It tells the tale of the great sage Zavant and his Halfling manservant Vido. The best way to describe it would simply be Sherlock in the Old World! The book is a series of short stories told as cases; my particular favourite being the one involving feuding vampires.
For something beyond the blood and mayhem of the old world, and instead something with a bit of urban adventure and mystery, Zavant is well worth a read.
Hammers of Ulric by Dan Abnett, Nik Vincent and James Wallis
This is the first ever Warhammer book I read (and the frist Dan Abnett one) and as such, it has a very special place in my heart. It isn’t the best novel I’ve ever read but it is still a damn good read. The book tells the story of the White Wolves of Middenheim and how they stop an evil threat to the city. It’s a great standalone adventure and another great urban tale in the Old World.
Available as an eBook on the Black Library website.
The Legend of Sigmar by Graham McNeill
The Sigmar Trilogy by Graham McNeill is possibly the best series of Warhammer novels that has ever been written. Each of the books is well-paced, easy to read and they tell possibly the most important story in the Old World without disappointing.
The series shows the rise of Sigmar from the son of the Unberogen King to becoming the Emperor. All the expected events are there; the tale of saving the Drawf King, the battle of Black Fire Pass and the war against Nagash…amongst so much more. All the main characters were well written and believable, particularly Sigmar’s closest companions such as Wulfgar.
Possibly the best compliment I can give the series is that they are a great read even if you aren’t interested in or know nothing about Warhammer. In their own right they are simply a great collection of fantasy literature.
You can buy the trilogy as an eBook on the Black Library Website.
The Rise of Nagash by Mike Lee
My final pick is this excellent trilogy from Mike Lee. The tone of this series is significantly different and darker to the others on this list. This is mainly due to it following the utterly evil Nagash, of whom you can’t really feel any empathy for. This doesn’t detract from the books but it can make it difficult to read at times. The style is also vastly different to almost any other novel/series set in the Old World; it is almost more akin to a story set in ancient Egypt.
As with the Sigmar Trilogy this is an excellent trilogy in it’s own right, without being tied to the Old World. If you want something a bit different from a Warhammer novel and/or have a thing for Nagash and the undead, this is an excellent trilogy of books.
Available on the Black Library website as an eBook.