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Authors: Stan Nicholls

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Orcs: Bad Blood

BOOK: Orcs: Bad Blood
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Copyright © 2008 by Stan Nicholls

Excerpt from
Orcs:
Army of Shadows
copyright © 2010 by Stan Nicholls

All rights reserved. Except as permitted under the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, no part of this publication may be reproduced,
distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, or stored in a database or retrieval system, without the prior written
permission of the publisher.

Orbit

Hachette Book Group

237 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10017

Visit our Web site at
www.HachetteBookGroup.com

First eBook Edition: April 2009

Originally published in Great Britain by Gollancz, 2008

Orbit is an imprint of Hachette Book Group. The Orbit name and logo are trademarks of Little, Brown Book Group Limited.

The characters and events in this book are fictitious. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is coincidental and
not intended by the author.

ISBN: 978-0-316-05282-5

Contents

Copyright Page

HOW THE WOLVERINES WON THEIR FREEDOM

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Chapter 27

Chapter 28

Chapter 29

ORCS: ARMY OF SHADOWS

Extras

Meet the Author

A Preview of "THE DWARVES"

Praise for ORCS

“With grand-scale world building, labyrinthine plotlines, extensive backstory, and pedal-to-the-metal action, Nicholls captures
adventure fantasy at its very best.”

— Publishers Weekly
(starred review)

“Stan Nicholls takes his well-deserved place beside Robert Jordan and George R. R. Martin as a modern star of fantasy.”

— The Independent

“Incorporating wall-to-wall action with undercurrents of dark humor,
Bodyguard of Lightning
is a gritty, fast-paced novel with a neat twist. The heroes are orcs — though you wouldn’t want to meet any of them on a
dark night!”

— David Gemmell

“Weirdly charming, fast-moving and freaky,
Bodyguard of Lightning
is the most fun you’re ever likely to have with a warband of orcs. Remember, buy now or beg for mercy later.”

— Tad Williams

“A neat idea and Stan Nicholls pulls it off with great panache.… Enough weird sex to keep the tabloids outraged for weeks.
You’ll never feel the same about
Lord of the Rings
.”

— Jon Courtenay Grimwood,
SFX

“A warning: if you don’t wish to become addicted to the most impressive new fantasy sequence in many a moon, you should avoid
Bodyguard of Lightning
.”

— Genre Hotline/LineOne Science Fiction Zone

“Stan Nicholls tries to correct the bad press authors such as Tolkien have given to orcs. Nicholls tells his tale briskly
and entertainingly.… If you like lots of hacking and slashing,
Bodyguard of Lightning
is for you!”

— Starburst


Bodyguard of Lightning
is naturally full of fighting, blood-letting and double-crossing. Nicholls has created a fast-paced adventure.”

— The Mentor

“In the fantasy field, Stan Nicholls’s
Legion of Thunder
demonstrates a truly coruscating imagination in its outrageous narrative.”


Publishing News
Books of the Year 1999

“Nicholls knows how to describe a battle in gritty detail, in such a way that it grabs your interest and yet still appears
as unglamorous and unromantic as it should. A strange tale of magic, fantastic creatures, and mythical elder races that warps
your expectations.”

— The SF Site


Warriors of the Tempest
is, above all, a wonderful piece of storytelling: fast-paced with plenty of hairpin twists, crammed with loads of juicy battles
and properly bad baddies, racing towards a carefully set-up conclusion that’s both exciting and genuinely moving.… Underlying
all the fun and games are a core of skillfully drawn, fully realized characters who engage your sympathy from the start and
never let go.… Sweet and sour orc, a feast for the most jaded fantasy-lover’s palate.”

— Tom Holt,
SFX
magazine

“The prose flows smoothly and the story is exciting.”


Science Fiction Chronicle

“Breathless and ruthless, menacing and fun. Easy to read and totally engaging.”

— The Alien Online

“Stan Nicholls’s excellent Orcs sequence… is a welcome counterblast to the anti-orc onslaught due with the film launch of
The Lord of the Rings
.”

— The Guardian

“Now’s your chance to catch up with one of the most unusual writers in the genre. And it’s particularly wonderful not to have
to put your brain to bed while reading Nicholls — unlike many of his writing peers, there’s a real intelligence always at
work here. Not that we don’t get the requisite rip-roaring action and colorful world-building — along with some cutting humor.”

— Tiscali SF Zone

“It is an excellent adventure read. A good adventure story with plenty of action, humorous and well-crafted. Thoroughly recommended.”

— SF Crowsnest

B
Y STAN NICHOLLS

“Gladiators” Game Book No. 1

Tom and Jerry: The Movie

Cool Zool

Strange Invaders

Spider-man: The Hobgoblin

The Nightshade Chronicles

The Book of Shadows

Shadow of the Sorcerer

A Gathering of Shadows

Fade to Black

Dark Skies: The Awakening

Orcs Orcs: Bad Blood

The Dreamtime Trilogy

The Covenant Rising

The Righteous Blade

The Diamond Isle

Nonfiction

Wordsmiths of Wonder: Fifty Interviews with Writers of the Fantastic

Ken and Me

Gerry Anderson: The Authorized Biography

Graphic novels (as adaptor)

David Gemmell’s
Legend

David Gemmell’s
Wolf in Shadow

In fondest memory of David Gemmell, 1948–2006

H
OW THE
W
OLVERINES
W
ON
T
HEIR
F
REEDOM

Maras-Dantia abounded with a diversity of lifeforms. There were inevitable conflicts between these elder races, but mutual
respect and tolerance maintained the social fabric.

Until a new race arrived.

They called themselves humans, and braved unfriendly wastelands to enter Maras-Dantia from the far south. Small in number
at first, over the years they grew to a torrent. They claimed the land as their own, renamed it Centrasia, and set about exploiting
its resources. Rivers were polluted, forests stripped and elder race settlements destroyed. They showed contempt for the cultures
they encountered, demeaning and corrupting the native inhabitants.

But their greatest crime was to defile Maras-Dantia’s magic.

Their greed and disregard for the natural order of things began to drain away the land’s vital energies, diminishing the magic
elder races depended upon. This in turn warped the climate. Before long, an ice field was advancing from the north.

So it came to war between the elder races and the humans.

The conflict was far from clear cut. Both sides were disunited. Old divisions within the elder races resurfaced, and some
even threw in their lot with the incomers. The humans themselves suffered from a religious schism. Some were Followers of
the Manifold Path, commonly known as Manis, and observed pagan ways. Others adhered to the precepts of Unity. Dubbed Unis,
they supported the newer sect of monotheism. There was as much animosity between Unis and Manis as between elder races and
humans.

One of the only native races without magical powers, orcs made up for the deficiency with their superior martial skills and
a savage lust for combat.

Stryke captained a thirty-strong orc warband called the Wolverines. His fellow officers were Sergeants Haskeer and Jup, the
latter the band’s only dwarf member, and Corporals Alfray and Coilla, the group’s sole female. The balance of the command
consisted of twenty-five common grunts. The Wolverines were part of a greater horde serving despotic Queen Jennesta, a powerful
sorceress who supported the Mani cause. The offspring of human and nyadd parents, Jennesta’s taste for sadism and sexual depravity
were legendary.

Jennesta sent the band on a perilous mission to seize an ancient artefact from a Uni stronghold. The Wolverines gained the
artefact, which proved to be a sealed message cylinder, along with a cache of an hallucinogenic drug called pellucid. But
Stryke made the mistake of letting his band celebrate by sampling the drug. The following dawn, returning late to Jennesta
and fearing her wrath, they were ambushed by kobold bandits who stole the artefact. Knowing they would pay a terrible price
for their negligence, Stryke decided to pursue the raiders.

Assuming treachery by the Wolverines, Jennesta declared them outlaws and ordered their capture, dead or alive. She also established
contact with her brood sisters, Adpar and Sanara, with whom she was linked telepathically. But bad blood between the siblings
prevented Jennesta discovering if either knew the whereabouts of the band or the precious artefact.

During the search for the kobolds, Stryke began to experience lucid visions. They showed a world consisting solely of orcs,
living in harmony with nature and in control of their own destiny. Orcs who knew nothing of humans or the other elder races.

He feared that he was going insane.

Locating the kobolds, the Wolverines exacted bloody revenge and regained the artefact. They also liberated an aged gremlin
scholar called Mobbs, who thought the cylinder might contain something that had a direct bearing on the origin of the elder
races. He believed the cylinder was connected with Vermegram and Tentarr Arngrim, two fabled figures from Maras-Dantia’s past.
Vermegram was a sorceress, and the nyadd mother of Jennesta, Adpar and Sanara. She was thought to have been slain by Arngrim,
a human whose magical abilities equalled hers.

Mobbs’ words brought out a latent spirit of rebellion in the band, and Stryke successfully argued that the cylinder be opened.
Inside was an object fashioned from an unknown material, consisting of a central sphere with seven tiny radiating spikes of
variable length. To the orcs it resembled a stylised star, similar to a hatchling’s toy. Mobbs explained that it was an instrumentality,
a totem of great magical power long considered mythical. When united with its four fellows it would reveal a profound truth
about the elder races, a truth which the legends implied could set them free. At Stryke’s urging, the Wolverines abandoned
their allegiance to Jennesta and struck out to seek the other stars, reasoning that even a fruitless search was better than
the servitude they knew.

Their quest first led them to Trinity, a Uni settlement ruled by fanatical preacher Kimball Hobrow, where an instrumentality
was revered as an object of worship. Seizing it, the band narrowly escaped and made for Scratch, the trolls’ subterranean
homeland, where they hoped a further star might be located.

Impatient with her own minions, Jennesta employed the services of Micah Lekmann, Greever Aulay and Jabez Blaan. Ruthless human
bounty hunters who specialised in tracking renegade orcs, they undertook to return with the Wolverines’ heads.

The band’s expedition to Scratch was successful, and a third star was secured. But Haskeer, seized by a strange derangement,
made off with them. Coilla, giving chase, fell into the hands of the bounty hunters, who negotiated to sell her to goblin
slave traders. Haskeer himself, convinced that the stars were communicating with him in some way, was captured by Kimball
Hobrow’s zealous followers, the custodians.

Having rescued Coilla and Haskeer, the band learned that an instrumentality could be in the possession of a centaur called
Keppatawn and his clan in Drogan Forest.

Jennesta stepped up the hunt for the Wolverines, including more dragon patrols under the direction of her mistress of dragons,
Glozellan. She also maintained telepathic contact with her brood sisters, Adpar and Sanara, queens of their own domains in
different parts of Maras-Dantia. Adpar, ruler of the underwater nyadd realm, was making war against a neighbouring race, the
merz. Jennesta offered her an alliance to help find the stars, promising to share their power. Not trusting her sister, Adpar
refused. Enraged, Jennesta used sorcery to cast a harmful glamour on her sibling.

BOOK: Orcs: Bad Blood
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