Hamilcar: Champion of the Gods

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 31 Jul 2019

Member Reviews

A stellar book filled to the brim with action, bloody mayhem, and tension. Hamilcar: Champion of the Gods is one of those books that just refused to be put down. Magical stuff.
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I first encountered the character of Hamilcar Bear-Eater in the Gods and Mortals anthology and instantly fell in love with him as a protagonist. I remember saying in that review that I wished there was a novel-length outing for him. So, I dove in without giving it a second thought (much the Hamilcar way) and got stuck in.

There are many ways to describe Hamilcar as a man. Bombastic, loud, self-confident, great … I could go on, and I’m sure the Bear Eater himself would love me to fling adjectives his way long into the night. To me, he was an immensely fun character to read about. I couldn’t help but imagine him to be the Brian Blessed of the Warhammer world. If you were to perhaps cross Brian Blessed with Gimli or some such great warrior.

Hamilcar is loved by pretty much all mortals within the Age of Sigmar and the feelings of his fellow Stormcast Eternals range from love, to disdain, to annoyance and indifference. He is quite literally the most polarising figure in Age of Sigmar that I have come across … think of John Cena as far as popularity. If John Cena wore shining gold armour and swung a halberd around whilst screaming his own name at the top of his lungs.

Everywhere Hamilcar goes, he inspires greatness in others. Men and women will fight to their last breath if he simply bellows something like ‘Fear not, mortals, Hamilcar walks beside you. The battle is already won for he is fighting with you!” He often reflects on how easy and joyous it is to gain the adoration of the mortal men of the world and speaks about how he prefers it to the love of his fellow Stormcast (one assumes because the mortals give him the adoration and hero-worship his personality craves).

The novel is told in first person, from the perspective of the great man himself. He really is one in a million as far as the Stormcast go. Where others might be stoic and taciturn, Hamilcar is hilarious, boisterous and good-natured. Seeing the world, even the darker, less-pleasant parts of it, through Hamilcar’s eyes is truly an addictive thing. I honestly didn’t want the novel to end and am thrilled to know that more will be forthcoming.
The main antagonist is another reason that I love this novel so much; the Skaven. Nothing makes me happier than reading a novel featuring the loathsome ratmen. They are hilarious and their ways of speaking are just wonderful. ‘Man-thing must die-die!” The complete and utter reckless abandon to which they approach life is a glorious thing to behold, especially in a race that’s main attribute is its sheer cowardice. One quote sums this up:
“The fact that Skaven will flee in terror from any Freeguilder they don’t outnumber six to one, but will happily scamper along a length of mouldy wood a thousand feet off the ground will never cease to astonish me.”

Their recklessness is summed up best in their experiments or inventions. They are very much the ‘I’ll make it and try it right away without thinking if it will be dangerous or not’ kind of creatures. 

They quite literally are fantastically stupid and make great enemies for it. Also, given the history our own world has with rats (the Black Death etc …) having ratmen as an enemy will tug at the inner hatred our species has towards them. It’s clever from a story standpoint.

I am slowly getting more and more hooked on Age of Sigmar as a setting. I have accepted that the Old World has gone (even if a part of me hopes it will one day return) and, due to characters like Hamilcar Bear-Eater and the fact that many of the old races and named characters still exist in Age of Sigmar, I am coming around to this new age.

If anyone wants a fantasic, enjoyable and hilarious introduction into the world that is Age of Sigmar, get stuck into a copy of Hamilcar: Champion of the Gods. You won’t regret it. It’s easily the most enjoyable thing I have read all year.
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Welcome.change of pace from the usual grim protagonist of the warhammer universe. Good charqcter building and exciting fights. If you enjoyed the Caphias Cain nivels your sure to enjoy this  tome
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The book was well written. Loved how larger than life Hamilcar seemed. The Age of Sigmar is one of my favorite series. Would highly recommend it to others.
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Hamilcar by David Guymer is just plain fun.  The perfect read for a creative escape into a fantasy world, filled with adventure.
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After appearing in various audio dramas and short stories, Hamilcar Bear-Eater – mightiest of Sigmar’s Stormcast Eternals (and modest, as ever) – gets his own novel. Taking place in the Realm of Ghur, this sees the Astral Knights’ Lord Castellant boldly set out to drive the forces of Chaos from the region surrounding the ancient fortress known as the Seven Words. He soon realises that the real threat is actually from the skaven, and is forced to pit his strength – and his wits – against Ikrit, a worryingly powerful warlock engineer with designs on Sigmar’s secrets.

With a brash, charismatic, immodest, snigger-inducing first person perspective, Hamilcar is a breath of fresh air amongst the dry, serious voices that a lot of Stormcast are written with – think Ciaphas Cain without the cowardice. It’s tremendous fun seeing the Mortal Realms from his perspective, especially when other Stormcast are involved – Hamilcar isn’t a man to keep his thoughts to himself, and his opinions on his fellow Stormcast are worth the entry price alone! It’s not just about the humour though, as Hamilcar is capable of surprising insight, honesty and, at times, genuine emotion, and has a way of relating to ordinary mortals which goes beyond what you’d expect from a Stormcast.

This is very much a classic fantasy adventure story packed full of action, danger and heroism, which takes Hamilcar at the peak of his powers and then strips everything away from him, before building him back up again. To say more would spoil things, but suffice to say it’s cleverly plotted and structured, and while it perhaps starts off a touch slowly, once it kicks into gear it’s nothing less than a joy to read. Along the way Guymer explores more of Ghur and some of its unusual inhabitants, and makes the skaven antagonists feel like genuinely dangerous, threatening enemies. This is the man who wrote the excellent Headtaker, after all, and while Ikrit doesn’t have the manic unpredictability of Queek he does have both an interesting agenda and a realistic chance of achieving his goal.

Having written a few short stories to get into the swing of Hamilcar’s character, Guymer has really nailed it with this novel, which manages to be a pacy, action-packed adventure that also digs beneath the surface of Age of Sigmar to tackle some intriguing topics. Stormcast stories can occasionally lack a little in the way of stakes, but this delves into the issues of past-life memories and the reforging process for Stormcast in a fresh and unusual way which hammers home the personal implications in a way we haven’t seen before. Humour isn’t often a touchstone of Black Library fiction but with this character Guymer has incorporated it seamlessly in a way that elevates a good story into something quite special, and should be at the top of every Age of Sigmar fan’s to-read list.
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