In short these books show the action from the other side of the traditional fantasy fiction table. The traditionally depicted bad guy has the lime light. Cunning, treachery and manipulation are the exalted virtues, and self serving the rule of the day. All written in such a way as you can't help but be awed and inspired by such convoluted machinations, with lots of gloriously written action as well. Malus Darkblade is a Dark hero that you will eagerly want to read more about. The black humour of the situations is often under stated, but has a greater impact for that fact. The complete series is compelling and glorious and has to be one of my all time favourites. I just wish they would write more about Malus Darkblade.
Malus Darkblade is a Dark Elf (the Druchii). Dark elves are depicted as the evil, cunning, treacherous villains of the warhammer universe. So its refreshing to see a story from their point of view. This is a universe where treachery, cunning, greed, selfishness, power and might are seen as virtues, and Malus Darkblade possess all of these in abundance. Malus is the hated brat of the litter as far as his family are concerned so he's on the lowest rung of the social and power standings of his kind, only just avoiding degradation and death on a daily basis. Obviously, as is the way of his kind, he schemes and plots in an attempt to gain power, wealth and glory for himself. When is latest scheme goes astray he's tricked into entering the chaos lands in search of a jewel of power. The jewel actually contains a trapped mighty demon and when Malus puts on the ring the demon possess Malus. He now has a year to find 5 powerful artefacts that will ensure the demon's release, if he fails the demon will consume his soul. This is the basic plot line for the entire series.
The books are well written, fast paced, action heavy with a lot of dark humour to die for. Malus is often a hero for his race, but more through necessity, accident and pure stubborn bloody mindedness than heroic tendencies. I absolutely love this character and his development throughout the entire series not just these 3 books. The first book is an introduction to the Dark elf world and Malus's plight, the rest of the books go from strength to strength as he seeks and manipulates all and sundry in an attempt to save his soul. Malus is as cunning and treacherous as all his kind, but with a certain redeeming character as well. The dark elves do have certain morals, slightly askew from our own. But they still fight against the worst excesses of the chaos gods, and to further their own race. You can't help but root for him, and eagerly anticipate his next endeavour, as he seems to blunder from plot to plot indesperation with the clock running out, rather than any coherent pre-planned plan. Book 2 in this volume see's the start of his quest for the artefacts and his wonderful manipulation of his own kind to get them to unwittingly help in his quest. (if they ever find out he's possessed they'll kill him for his weakness and failing by being conned by a demon) Set on the high seas this is arguably the best of the first three books which are the ones contained in this volume, and will have your rooting for Malus throughout. Book 3 has him dealing with the consequences of the second book and the difficulties of hiding the growing effects of the demons manipulation.