Throughout the Realmgate Wars, Sigmar’s centuries long crusade against Chaos in the Mortal Realms, there has never been a hero like Hamilcar Bear-Eater, famed Lord Castellant of the Astral Templars. Would Gardus have charged headlong into the stronghold of Uxor Untamed with a mere handful of warrior at his back? Would Vandus have had the foresight or magnetism to drink himself euphoric, start a war with the Skarabrak lodge, and then wake come morning to a sore head and fifty thousand moonclan berserkers avowed to Sigmar’s cause? No. Only Hamilcar. But when an ancient skaven warlock with a thirst for godhood turns his attention towards Hamilcar’s divine soul, the Bear-Eater knows he will have to call upon his martial prowess and uncanny wits just to survive. Because his next death could be his last.
Author: David Guymer
Publisher: Black Library
Release Date (paperback): 22/08/2019
Release Date (Kindle): 16/02/2019
Page Count: 314
My Chosen Format: Kindle
My Rating for ‘Hamilcar: Champion of the Gods’: 5 out of 5
I received a copy of this book via Netgalley for free in exchange for an honest review.
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.