The Wurms of Blearmouth review

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The Wurms of Blearmouth is the fifth novella by Steven Erikson featuring the infamous necromancers from the Malazan Book of the Fallen, Korbal Broach and Bauchelain (from Memories of Ice). The first three novellas were also released in omnibus edition (titled Bauchelain and Korbal Broach, including Blood Follows (released originally in 2002), The Healthy Dead (2004) and The Lees of Laughter's End (2007)) and Crack'd Pot Trail was released after that. I didn't read this last one since the necromancers are only present as some kind of cameo... maybe I'll pick it up in the future...
Tyranny comes in many guises, and tyrants thrive in palaces and one-room hovels, in back alleys and playgrounds. Tyrants abound on the verges of civilization, where disorder frays the rule of civil conduct and propriety surrenders to brutal imposition. Millions are made to kneel and yet more millions die horrible deaths in a welter of suffering and misery.  
But leave all that behind and plunge into escapist fantasy of the most irrelevant kind, and in the ragged wake of the tale told in Lees of Laughter’s End, those most civil adventurers, Bauchelain and Korbal Broach, along with their suitably phlegmatic manservant, Emancipor Reese, make gentle landing upon a peaceful beach, beneath a quaint village at the foot of a majestic castle. There they make acquaintance with the soft-hearted and generous folk of Spendrugle, which lies at the mouth of the Blear River and falls under the benign rule of the Lord of Wurms in his lovely keep.  
Make welcome, then, to Spendrugle’s memorable residents, including the man who should have stayed dead, the woman whose prayers should never have been answered, the tax collector everyone ignores, the ex-husband town militiaman who never married, the beachcomber who lives in his own beard, the now singular lizard cat who used to be plural, and the girl who likes to pee in your lap. And of course, hovering over all, the denizen of the castle keep, Lord—Ah, but there lies this tale.
Even if Wurms is a novella featuring Bauchelain and Korbal Broach in a self-supporting story, I would strongly recommend reading the first three novellas beforehand. To fully benefit from all the insights and characters appearance from the other novellas, here's the reading order:

Blood Follows
The Lees of Laughter's End
The Healthy Dead
The Wurms of Blearmouth

Despite the fact that the necromancers have an important part to play in Wurms, there's a whole new cast to consider and the brightest gems of Erikson's new humorous novella are clearly the weird and weirder inhabitants of the town of Spendrugle.  Who are we meeting?

Lord Fangatooth Claw the Render and his dutiful scribe Coingood, ruling narcissistically from the keep
Spilgit Purrble the deposed Factor and Felittle, a girl with dubious habits concerning her urinary habits
Hordilo Stinq, one of Fangatooth's men patrolling with curiously named Golems and becoming friend with a dead man who doesn't seem to be able to actually die like a real dead man
Comber Whuffine Gaggs, a lonesome herder with hidden powers
Felittle's mother, Feloovil Generous, who holds the inn and has some strange... body parts...

I'll stop enumerating here but with this list alone, you get an idea of the tone of The Wurms of Blearmouth.  Spendrugle citizens have seen their share of oddities and eccentricities since the town resides at the specific spot where most, and possibly all, of the ships sailing the region are wrecked, for their sincere pleasure. However, this time, things will change.

To reiterate, even if it's a novella, different storylines are established and recurring characters from the previous books are coming back.  In the end, everything revolves around the new opportunities presented by the arrival of the necromancers and their pursuers. With each new relationships developed in this short time, new characteristics emerge from the funny and original protagonists and a whole lot of grins made easy appearances on my lips.

If you have already read a Bauchelain and Korbal Broach novella, this one is a no-brainer.  For everyone else, even if you haven't read Erikson or if you were disconcerted by his more heavy writing in the Malazan Book of the Fallen, this is the time to discover a whole new perspective presented by the author, one at which he excels as much.

Cover: The Tor cover (by Steve Stone who's behind other Malazan covers) looks good with the necromancers and the violet coloring!
Release date: July 8th 2014
Map: No
Number of pages: 208 (paperback edition)
Acquisition method: courtesy of Tor
Other: No appendices, dramatis personae or glossary

I liked...Was disappointed by...
The weird charactersWanted more!!!!
The humor
The return of the three-handed sword!!!

The Wurms of Blearmouth review rating :


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