|The Fate of the Dwarves is the fourth
and final instalment of German author Markus Heitzs epic saga that began, for
English readers, three years ago with Dwarves.
When the previous
volume, The Revenge of the Dwarves, ended there was an obvious set
of plotline cliff-hangers for a follow on volume The Fate of the Dwarves
is that ending.
The three previous books have been Tungdils story; he was the viewpoint
character, with sidebar chapters to showcase the supporting cast. This time around the
principal character is Bo´ndil Ireheart.
Right from the start of The Fate of the Dwarves there is a
significant cloud over the identity of Tungdil, who has returned from the black abyss in
which he was trapped at the end of The Revenge of the Dwarves. Is
he the real hero back from the black abyss? Has the black abyss, with its constant horrors
and struggles corrupted our hero? Or is Tungdil, his actions and the manner of his return
just a huge scam? These questions loom large in the book, but the unrevealed [to the
reader] thoughts of Tungdil, even though he is there front and centre in the action, is
simultaneously most unusual representing a stylistic change by the author
and quite vexing.
In the foreword to The Fate of the Dwarves there is some
evidence that Herr Heitz became bored with the series and following some clamour from fans
to tell more on the world of Girdlegard and its hero nonpareil, Tungdil Goldhand, had
decided to write a conclusive ending to the story. What has resulted is a less than
gripping travelogue through Girdlegard, punctuated with moments of violence, as our band
of heroes gather forces to deal with the all too pressing problem of the black abyss.
Indeed I found that the scenes set at the black abyss were where the author had invested
his emotional energy, with the other scenes merely backdrop.
I regret to report that The Fate of the Dwarves is a less than
worthy conclusion to the saga of the dwarves. This is a book by an author whose heart was
never in the project and that shows a real pity because Herr Heitz is capable of so
much better. Read to complete the cycle, but dont expect to be enthralled.