I never heard of James Wallis before I picked this book. I chose it because I am a Warhammer fan. It was refreshing and new compared to other Warhammer novels in the way that it managed to portray a rather realistic story in the Imagined world of Warhammer.Plot & Storytelling: The story is of a young army officer, 'Karl Hoche', in the service of the emperor who stumbles upon the work of chaos cultists within the army. This unlucky encounter forces him to join a secret service of the empire for rooting out dangerous conspirators. He becomes sort of a secret agent (not of a Ian Fleming's James bond style but more of a field agent in one of Tom Clancy's novels ). The story has many surprising twists (I won't say too much as I do not wish to spoil the fun) and is hard to put down. There are some gruesome events of violence in this book (torture), but Wallis doesn't feel he needs to delve into the gory details in order to give his readers a good experience (unlike popular writers such as Terry Goodkind ). He does a good job in enticing the readers curiosity and imagination.
Action: Warhammer books always contain a lot of action (after all this is what this game is all about). 'Mark of Damnation' doesn't fall short in this category though it is more of the realistic kind. Our hero when faced with three opponents would choose to flee. This is definitely not another William King's slayer book for that matter.
Characters: The main character 'Karl Hoche' is developed quite nicely. As he confronts the many situations in the story his entire world view is twisted and shutters. He begins as a simple soldier (son of a priest to the god Sigmar) whom sees the world in the shades of black and white. Along the way everything he knows to be right is tested, even his faith in the gods. James Wallis tackles this with style and grace as to not make it too tedious. The other characters are mostly one dimensional, though Wallis creates a charming and intriguing bunch of them come to life. A rather gay undercover agent, a cynical and depressed spymaster to serve as Hoche's tutor just to name few. To sum it up, I think this is a five story book. And it made me look forward to delving into other works by James Wallis.