Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Temple of the Serpent (Thanquil and Boneripper) Mass Market Paperback – August 31, 2010
|New from||Used from|
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Customers who bought this item also bought
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
It is filled with humor as well as intrigue and good battle scenes. If you want some Skaven fluff or even Lizardmen fluff this is the book for you.
After reading it I am sold on Thanquil as a flawed but immensely funny and satisfying lead character.
Temple of the Serpent is the second novel in the Grey Seer series, and wasn't as good (IMO) as the original. But still a lot of Skaven-y fun to be had. I don't like how they always wedge in a story about a bunch of humans though (like they also did in Greyseer). I bought a book about Skaven fighting Lizardmen, that's what I want to read. I guess they don't trust the Skaven being relatable enough protagonists.
All in all, not as good as the first book in the series (which explains the four stars), but a damn fine read.
Needless to say, in Temple of the Serpent, Grey Seer Thanquol is called before the Council to explain to the Lords of Decay how the Wormstone was lost in Under-Altdorf. This includes a brief recap of the first book - from Thanquol's twisted POV - so it's not necessary to have read the first book, but I highly recommend it!
"Under the madness of these persistent fractals, the equations of the Old Ones were unbalanced, broken by perverse arithmetic."
Temple of the Serpent actually begins with a prologue from the POV of an ancient creature called the slann, named Lord Talco, who studies the Great Math of the Old Ones, and views xa'cota (the rat fractals) as "corrupted algorithms." It was a bit difficult to follow, but it illustrated perfectly how different the lizard race is from the Skaven or humans.
Thanquol is forced to meet with Nightlord Sneek, leader of Clan Eshin, after his disturbing meeting with the Council. Sneek is planning to send Shiwan Stalkscent, an assassin, with Shen Tsinge, a sorcerer, to a long lost empire of Clan Pestilens. The plague clan was chased off by Sotek the Snake Daemon, who is worshipped by the lizard race. Sneek wants Thanquol to go with them to make sure the high priest of the lizards is killed. The lizard race has built the Temple of the Serpent, where the slann resides. As Sneek explains to Thanquol:
"Pestilens has tried many times to kill the snake prophet. If Eshin succeeds where the plague lords have failed, it will make them afraid."
In the midst of this plot, another member of the Clan Eshin named Chang Fang plots to avenge the death of his fellow assassin, Chang Squik - one of the reasons Thanquol failed to return with the Wormstone from Under-Altdorf. Basically, Thanquol is going to have deal with another mountain of problems just to stay alive. Since they have to cross a large ocean, they hijack a human ship called the Black Mary - I absolutely loved the way the Skaven pulled off that little trick.
Of course, there is always a human factor to any Warhammer story. In this case, the crew of the Cobra of Khemi find themselves steered by an unnatural storm to Lustria (also known as Green Hell), with the lizards and Skaven. The hired mercenary of the ship, Adawolf, sort of reminded me of Felix, but without the whining. While I found the crew to be interesting, I thought that Werner spent too many pages telling the humans' side of the story, instead of spending more time focusing on Thanquol's POV. After all, I bought the book because I am a Skaven fan, and I love how Thanquol constantly twists the actual events.
When all three groups converge on the City of Quetza, the battle scenes were superb. I was really impressed with Werner's detailed descriptions of the surroundings and other inhabitants of the jungle. He wasn't too wordy, but he made me feel like I was actually there, suffering with the rest of them. Although, I have to admit, I think I've lost count of how many Bonerippers Thanquol has gone through.
You don't have to be a Warhammer fan to appreciate the excellent fantasy adventure that CL Werner has written. I can't wait for the third book, Thanquol's Doom - I've already marked the release on my calendar. I just hope we see more of Thanquol next time...and it had better not be the last one!!
Something else we are given in the beginning is a vivid brush stroke of the jungle itself. Colorful, exotic, and above all dangerous. The author really made sure that we felt the claustrophobia from being just completely engulfed by the trees, vines, the torture of the heat and humidity, the wild animals, and the viscous plants. From start we are encouraged to believe that any venture taken into the jungles is dangerous and that one must have their wits about them at all times. Sadly in the latter half of the novel this seems to be forgotten and put to the way side. It's as though one of the characters of the book completely changed their attitude and manner with little rhyme or reason. That danger and sense of foreboding that is layered in the beginning completely evaporates by the end. I felt let down by this but not enough to not have thoroughly enjoyed the book.
The human characters in this book are not the main attraction and at times became a force for detachment. Their story a little more then a pasted together tale of the dangers of greed and the power of love (though it didn't feel like love, so lets call it kinship). The sailors and their emissary seemed pigeonholed in the story to solve a problem that Thanquol encounters at the midway point. Their was very little life to them, perhaps just being out shadowed by all the other happenings, their appearances throughout the novel, always seemed to pull me out of the story and act like a speed bump. It felt as if I had read about these people on various occasions and certainty the romantic arc was seen from the moment the characters names and jobs are revealed. Don't get me wrong they had their moments of wit and intrigue but two of the characters who could have added extra dynamics to the story are either killed of prematurely (the elf) or are simply left as deus ex machina (the priest). A more gripping and perhaps less predictable story path would have been to follow the priest more closely as he comes to grips with these worshipers of other gods, and the test of faith his environment could have brought him.
The teeming hordes are written in this book with such glee and a pitch perfect voice behind what makes the Skaven tick it's hard not lap it up. The constant backstabbing, the wanton switching of alliances any time fear gripped the group, the over the top groveling. Throughout the novel I found myself chuckling aloud, Werner has given a voice to Thanquol and it's so much fun to listen to the gears of his mind whizzing about. The cowardice with which he carries himself is only out-shined by those brief moments where he realizes that the only way to escape with his tail intact is to draw upon his great power. We see his relationship with the Horned Rat (a Skaven deity) more clearly and the reverence he well and truly holds for his god. I defiantly think the various religions could have played a heavier role and thought at any moment we were going to see a more intellectual war follow along with your standard Warhammer violence. Finally we are given a Boneripper worthy of this Grey Seer master, and the cunning way in which he acquires his loving bodyguard, is inventive and falls perfectly within the ethos of Thanquol and the Skaven at large. Werner wisely never lets the reader feel that Thanquol is suddenly going to befriend anybody, nor trust them as his paranoia takes it's roller coaster ride through out the book. He is such a great character to read about and follow along with in his various sinister plots and schemes all to advance the Skaven race, the Horned Rat, but more to the point his own standing within Skavendom. I know there is another Thanquol and Boneripper novel headed our way (entitled Thanquols Doom) I'm just praying to the Horned Rat it's not the last. There is a rich character here who gets better with every appearance, it would be a shame to let him disappear into the Warhammer annals with out a few more mis-adventures. The other Skaven in the book help to drive the story along and showcase the race in a perfect light. What's great about the more recent novels is that they are more focused on the Skaven. It's nice that we don't need to indulge every clan (like we see in Skavenslayer). In this way we are given more precise characters with a stronger narrative between them and the Grey Seer.
When diving into these novels, one has to know what they are reading, and take it at face value. These books aren't world changing treatises on life's larger problems but there are damn fine fantasy reads, that help give life to universe that has a long history behind it. Walk into this book with the right mindset and you will find your self leaving very satisfied.