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The Red Duke (Warhammer Heroes) Paperback – 10 Nov 2011

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Product details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: The Black Library (10 Nov. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1849700737
  • ISBN-13: 978-1849700733
  • Product Dimensions: 10.6 x 2.5 x 17.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 493,249 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

C. L. Werner was a diseased servant of the Horned Rat long before his first story in Inferno! magazine. His Black Library credits include the Chaos Wastes books Palace of the Plague Lord and Blood for the Blood God, Mathias Thulmann: Witch Hunter, Runefang and the Brunner the Bounty Hunter trilogy. Currently living in the American south-west, he continues to write stories of mayhem and madness set in the Warhammer World. Visit the author's website at

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Gareth Wilson - Falcata Times Blog TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 10 Nov. 2011
Format: Paperback
Clint hits back with the heady mix of Vampires, honour and the Bretonnian way of chivalry in this, his latest release from the Black Library with an opening that feels that they've touched on a scene from David Gemmell's Waylander. It's cleverly done, it has some decent twists and as we all know, that beneath the shiny oaths and bonds, there's a dark seedier underside of politics, double dealing and of course revenge.

As with Clint's usual titles, the action comes thick and fast, the characters are, if you'll pardon the pun, full blooded and whilst not everyone subscribes to the procured standards of Chivalry they all have their own codes of honour by which to stand. Finally add to this a break neck pace and some great dialogue and it was a title I had a hard time putting down.
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By T. R. Alexander TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 20 Mar. 2012
Format: Paperback
The vampire known as the Red Duke was a mighty warrior whose undead army ravaged the Bretonnian province of Aquitaine before being defeated by King Louis the Righteous at the Battle of Ceren. Four hundred years later the feud between the noble families of d'Elbiq and du Maisne leads to the dreaded vampire being reborn to wreak havoc upon his former domain. His mind drifting between past and present, the Red Duke is determined to reclaim everything that he has lost.

I have been interested in the story of the Red Duke since I got the `Circle of Blood' campaign pack that Games Workshop released in the late nineties and this novel retells the story of that campaign with only a few changes to the story. The book is nicely paced and very well written and is something of a compulsive read once it gets going. The battle scenes are nicely written and easy to follow and the characters are nicely developed, the Red Duke in particular is written very well. I did like how the book was set out with each chapter beginning with an extract from the history of the Red Duke when he was alive, his decent into vampirism and his original campaign against King Louis.

This book was very enjoyable to read and it is probably one of the best Warhammer books that I have read in a while. `The Red Duke' is easily worth a full five stars.
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By Little h on 16 Oct. 2012
Format: Paperback
I had high hopes for this book as i am such a big fan of most other Warhammer Vampire books i have read, but was really disappointed with this one. It wasnt so much the story, as this i believe would have been quite good if written differently, but rather the format that i found hard going. It flits from past to present so much that the reader gets a bit lost with the constant too'ing and fro'ing. You find yourself wanting to skip through sections, just to get back to the main story, without having to keep being pulled into the flash backs. I dont think this style does anything to help keep the reader engaged and doesnt do the story overall, good story but told badly.
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By ben_bourne on 19 Mar. 2013
Format: Paperback
This book envelops a mix of Vampires, honour and the Bretonnian Knights. It's clever book and it would be good to see more Bretonnian novels out there. I don't like the Brettonnian use of infantry but the book is a very good read with some good twists.
I recommend this book.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 0 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
The Tale of an Insane Vampire Warlord (Spoiler Free Review) 24 May 2012
By Poisoned Blade - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
The Red Duke blends elements from the classic horror films and recent hits like the Walking Dead, and incorporates them into an epic fantasy war campaign full of carnage and despair.

Although the story is a good one, the way it's told is a bit on the confusing side. It begins with a blood feud between two noble houses and one side decides to resurrect one of Bretonnia's greatest swordsmen / generals to seek revenge on the other family. Things don't work out as planned and the Red Duke is unleashed upon the land once again. From there, the story skips around and tells tales of three different timelines. You catch glimpses of the Red Duke when he was a renowned swordsman of the Holy Crusades 500 years in the past. You read about him after he became a vampire and led an army of undead, but was vanquished. And you read about him in the present, after he has been resurrected and he begins to create a new army of the undead. This story would have been much better if it was told in chronological order, instead of skipping around from timeline to timeline. To make matters worse, the Red Duke is insane and sometimes thinks he is still fighting in the crusades or fighting in his first campaign as a vampire. The Red Duke would have made a great trilogy, but the way this book is presented, it's a little hard to follow.

The Red Duke is the focus of the book... which is good... because the book is called The Red Duke. But he is more like a protagonist / antagonist. He is the central focus of the story, but if he wins, all of Bretonnia will be plunged into terror. The other characters are from the two feuding noble families, who must set aside their differences and warn the king that the nightmarish Red Duke is forming an army once again. Overall, the characters are pretty light and there isn't much of an emotional attachment to them. They do their part in the story, and that's about it.

Writing Style:
C.L. Werner (author of the Matthias Thulmann: Witch Hunter series) is great at writing horror and battles. The environments are grim, dark, and foreboding. The undead creatures are terrifying. Many of the characters die tragically in epic battles. The battle scenes range from magically enhanced duels to full on wars with tens of thousands of troops. When choosing an author to write The Red Duke, I can't think of a better one.

World Building:
The Warhammer books all have a very well defined world. Based on the history and folklore of medieval Europe, this fantasy is somewhat grounded in history, then pushed to the limit in terms of warfare. Although the story skips around quite a bit, the world still feels like a real place that is in grave danger. This story is full of small to mid sized villages struggling to defend themselves from an army of the undead.

The Warhammer Books are great at depicting fantasy action on an epic scale. There are duels, battles against monsters, sieges, and full scale wars that incorporate strategy and tactics. The action is well written and you feel the impact of the swords, the loss of fallen comrades... and the horror as you see them join the ranks of the undead. This book is action packed from cover to cover.

Maturity: Older Teens
This is a book that combines horror and war. Although there's no swearing or sex, this book is full of violence, gore, and torture. It's not inspirational or happy, high fantasy, like Lord of the Rings. Instead, it has more in common with horror films.

Although, the story is told in a slightly confusing manner, it is a good story full of action, battles, undead creatures, heroes, and horror. If you're looking for a story about an insane vampire warlord who is out to conquer Bretonnia, then this is a great book.

Read it if you love Warhammer's blend of Warfare and Horror.
Read it if you like the Grim Writing Style of C.L. Werner.
Read it if you want to visualize armies of undead in action.
Avoid it if you like happy fantasy books.
Avoid it if you like stories told in chronological order.
Avoid it if you like really deep characters.
Avoid it if you like stories that build and build and build to a climactic ending.

If you enjoyed this book, check out the Malus Darkblade series or the Matthias Thulmann series, also set in the Warhammer Universe. If you like the D&D Universe, read the Erevis Cale and Twilight War Trilogies by Paul S. Kemp or the Dark Elf Trilogy by R.A. Salvatore.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Vengeance, Bloody Vengeance! 17 Nov. 2011
By Rodney C. - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Seeking revenge for the deaths of his sons, Earl Gaubert heeds the words of one of the lowliest peasants in his court, and seeks out a witch named Jacquetta who promises to lead him to the unmarked tomb of the Red Duke. And with the help of Renar, -- a peasant Necromancer -- instill the powers of the duke into vessel's of Earl Gaubert's choosing.

Once known as El Syf ash-shmel, or "the North Sword," by the Arabyans, the Duke of Aquitaine cast fear into the hearts of his enemies, even before his vampiric resurrection as the Red Duke. Entombed after a bloody battle upon the Fields of Ceren, it will take everything within the Lady of the Grail's reach to help to bring the Red Duke's resurrected reign to a final and bloody end.

Werner, a veteran of the halls of the Black Library delivers a bloody brilliant approach to vampires, Warhammer Fantasy style. Now, granted I haven't read too much of Warhammer Fantasy, but what I have read I've liked for the most part. More specifically the vastness of the world building. After finishing The Red Duke, I've come to the conclusion that Werner knows his stuff. I wouldn't be surprised if the man lives and breathes the source material. And this shows more than anything in the thoughtful layout of the novel.

Beginning with each chapter and speckled throughout The Red Duke, are flashbacks to 500 years before the Earl of Aquitaine's entombment, giving the reader the rich history and backstory needed without the endless, mind-numbing, drool-fest infodumps that seem to be so crippling to most speculative fiction novels. Although each flashback isn't as long as the chapters they reside in, Werner finds a way to include just enough information into them without giving the whole story away.

But not everything is refreshing. As the story unfolds almost poetically in spots, I can't help but think that the plot of the story is kind of overdone and cliched: an evil from centuries past has been resurrected to exact vengeance on the heads of those who most deserve it. Along the way, said ancient evil being manages to somehow amass a large following of supporters and soldiers willing to die with a single command. It's not that it's overly used in fiction, but in movies as well. Although it does manage to work rather well with this story, I would have much preferred it to be more refreshing.

If that doesn't bother readers, though, the ending might. For those that like closure and a succinct tieing of loose ends, The Red Duke might dissapoint. But, if you're looking for a story that carries well, and is richer than most when it comes to shared world literature, then look no further.

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Just a brief addition to the other reviews. 26 Aug. 2013
By Ashley - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Terrific story coupled with a great atmosphere made this a wonderful read. Enjoyed the reviews but I liked the ambitious ending. Dare I say hopeful ending....
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Not bad, but no ending! 11 Jan. 2012
By Jason Hubbard - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I love Warhammer books, so it doens't take a lot to keep me happy. Throw in some heroes, villians and sorcery and we will usually be ok. This book started off strong, but went downhill from there. There are also a bunch of flashbacks that do fill in gaps in the story, but get a little annoying after a while. Not a lot of character development either (besides the Red Duke of course).

No, you wont' hate this novel, in fact you'll probably really try to like it. However, the ending is lame and left me a little sour. Looking back on it, I would have perferred to re-read another novel instead. It really had potential, but blew it. Too bad because I like the author and enjoyed his other work.

I give it 3 stars becaue i can't give it 2.5. To me it was a fair read.
Five Stars 11 Jan. 2015
By Cagdas - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
thank you!
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