Published: 16 April 2019
Publisher: Black Library
Series: The Vampire Genevieve Book 1
Format Read: Physical Copy
Detlef Sierck, the self-proclaimed greatest playwright in the world, has declared that his next production will be a recreation of the end of the Great Enchanter, Constant Drachenfels – to be staged at the very site of his death, the fortress of Drachenfels itself. But the castle’s dark walls still hide a terrible and deadly secret which may make the first night of Detlef’s masterpiece the last of his life.
Thoughts: I read this in October already, I just have not been able to write the review yet.
Drachenfels was published in 1989, it was one of the first Games Workshop books published before Black Library was the power house it is today. The author used Jack Yeovil for reasons unknown to me, but that is oke as I knew it was Kim Newman who sat behind this series from the start. Kim Newman is also well known for his Anno Dracula series which I read the first book of many years ago and that Milou funnily enough has the series of almost.. All or most of the books features the same Genevieve that we meet or met for the first in Drachenfels.
One of the first original covers…
I got a copy earlier this year that is a reprint of the original. Being as old as it is it does not feel dated at all. This story was very unconventionally written. Not in a bad way though, I enjoyed reading this from start to finish. I say unconventional writing more in the sense that it is not written in the way of your normal Warhammer novels. This was written more as a D&D novel but had the Warhammer twist to it. What was also refreshing for such a old book was to read how humans, vampires, dwarves and the occasional elf seemed to work together in some form of harmony. It was not strictly race against race fighting one another like the books that came later. I loved that.
There is a lot that happens and that one needs to take in in this book that is just under 300 pages. The book started with a bang and then took a step back with a whole different direction it was so odd, but it worked out really well. For me at least. It mainly follows the story of a playwright who is down in the dumps after a big play of his failed, he has been locked up due to not being able to pay all the people he borrowed money from to put it all together. He gets bailed out by none other than the prince/hero who we meet in the first few paragraphs who slayed count Drachenfels in Castel Drachenfels along with the VAMPIRE Genevieve and a band of other characters we got small glimpses of. The prince wants all these people immortalized in a brand new play done by none other than Detlef.
With all that out of the way what we get is quite a creepy yet amusing horror esq story in such a short book. I really did not want it to end really as I had quite a lot of fun with it. Newman knew exactly how to write characters I could like instantly and root for. Even the villain was well done. Initially the book plays out the scenes from the first few chapters but in the form of the play but also gives us a glimpse into what happened before we get to where Detlef is stuck in jail.
I do not know how to describe it any beter without giving out too many spoilers. What I can say is that Kim knows how to write vampires. Knew even from the start when this debut novel was written. He even said in a small forward that what he was aiming for was to write vampires in the traditional sense, you know, the kind that are damaged by silver and sunlight and that age centuries, not gay ass diamond encrusted poofs, you know? My kind of Vampires, Mc Dave kind of VAMPIRES. We both loved it. Salty was really happy with this novel as it also contained a dwarf that was misunderstood and taken for a mutant. He gave this a 10 out of 5 for that reason alone, you know, because he could relate and stuff. I had to stop him from typing this review though, because that would have been a total contradiction to his character and I think he was slightly still concussed after that Roof incident.
I ended giving Drachenfels a solid 4 out of 5 on GR. I can also go as far as to say that if you are interested in reading some Oldworld Warhammer this book would be great. It can even be read as a standalone with no prior knowledge of anything related to Warhammer, this is the other part of this novel that made it great reading. It did not even feel like I was reading Warhammer at all. Apart from the places where the scenes play out. Simply amazing. I am really interested in picking up book 2 some time, maybe before the end of this year or next year.
I hope you are all doing well.