Luther Huss by Chris Wraight. Book review

LUTHOR HUSS by Chris Wraight, The Black Library, p/b, €10.50, http://www.blacklibrary.com/all-products/luthor-huss.html

Reviewed by David Rudden

I’m not as big a reader of the Warhammer Fantasy series as I am of their far-future line, but occasionally if an area I’m particularly interested comes up or if it’s a book by one of my favourite writers I’ll give it a shot. The whole setting has a rather interesting dark-Germanic-Tolkien feel to it, but I haven’t really been pulled into a series since the Malus Darkblade books a few years ago and so I wasn’t approaching ‘Luthor Huss’ with any expectations.

This outlook was rewarded as, though ‘Huss’ is a solid novel and I don’t really have any complaints with it, it wasn’t the most memorable of books. It follows the training and crusade of Sigmarite priest and core canon character Luthor Huss and its intersection with the investigation of Witch-hunter Eichmann, who ended up being an altogether more interesting character in the end. Eichmann reminds me of Inquisitor Glokta in Joe Abercrombie’s ‘The First Law’ trilogy; a man jaded by digging in the filth of humanity, burnt out by the evil he must do to keep humanity safe and beyond that, pure. The opening scenes, where the weary witch-hunter seems to be cracking under his vocation, numbly torturing one heretic after another while being curtailed by his own superiors’ politics, are some of the most fascinating in the book.

Huss’s parts, while more action-filled and typically Black Library, are a lot less interesting. There is one great twist at the end which I definitely didn’t see coming and got a gleeful little snigger out of me but in the end it’s the supporting characters that are the most interesting here; from the survivors of devastated towns to mercenaries to those who grew up around the uncompromising fanatic Huss.

The set pieces are impressive, if pulled from standard fantasy fare and Chris Wraight’s writing is reliable as always. There’s nothing stopping me from recommending this book; it’s just not as inspired as Wraight’s other work or other books in the Black Library. An entertaining read when you’re already a fan or want to read something solid from the fantasy side of things, but not unmissable.