Description: The following is a summary written by author Stan Nicholls for ORCS:
Volume 1: Bodyguard of Lightning
Volume 2: Legion of Thunder
Volume 3: Warriors of the Tempest
The Orcs: First Blood trilogy places orcs centre stage and tells their story. It asks who and what they really are. It turns the tables and makes them heroes in a hostile world.
The numerous elder races of Maras-Dantia had always lived in relative harmony. That was shattered by the coming of humans. These rapacious incomers dammed rivers, denuded forests, razed villages, tore precious resources from the earth. Their rape of the land bled it of the magic elder races took for granted. This threw the seasons into disarray, and threatened perpetual winter.
Soon there was war between Maras-Dantians and the humans.
Orcs stood in the eye of this storm. Of all Maras-Dantia's natives, they were the most combative. One of the few elder races not to possess magical powers, they made up for the lack with a ferocious bloodlust ...
By orc standards, Stryke was smart. He captained the Wolverines, a thirty-strong warband. Below Stryke were two sergeants, Haskeer and Jup, the latter a dwarf and the only member who wasn't an orc. Below the sergeants were corporals Alfray and Coilla. Coilla was the sole female in the Wolverines. Below them were twenty-five common footsoldiers, or grunts.
The Wolverines served Queen Jennesta, a wielder of great magical powers. A symbiote resulting from a human and nyadd union, Jennesta's propensity for cruelty was notorious.
Sent on a secret mission, the Wolverines stormed a human settlement to recover a very old, sealed message cylinder. Gaining the artifact, at a high cost in blood, they also seized a large quantity of an hallucinogenic drug. The drug had many names among the elder races but was widely referred to as pellucid. Orcs knew it as the bringer of crystal lightning.
But the warband was ambushed by kobold bandits, and despite a spirited defence the artifact was taken. Knowing Jennesta would exact a terrible penalty for their neglect, Stryke saw no option other than tracking the raiders. Jennesta herself, suspecting the Wolverines of desertion, despatched a party of crack orc warriors to bring them back dead or alive.
As he led the search for the kobolds, Stryke began to experience a series of lucid dreams or visions. They showed a world consisting solely of orcs, living in harmony with nature and in control of their own destiny. Orcs who knew nothing of humans or the other elder races. And in this dream place the climate was unaffected. Stryke feared for his sanity.
The Wolverines pursuit of the artifact would take them on a blood-soaked adventure with all hands turned against them. A perilous quest that promised to reveal the orcs' true destiny.
*There is one orcs short story connected to the First Blood series. 'The Taking', which was short-listed for the 2001 British Fantasy Award, takes place before the trilogy. 'The Taking' can be read for free in the Orcs Domain section of Stan Nicholls' website, where an artwork gallery and other orcish items are to be found: www.stannicholls.com.