Orcs: First Blood is a series of novels by the talented author Stan Nicholls, the series includes the novels Bodyguard of Lightning, Legion of Thunder and Warriors of the Tempest along with the short story "The Taking" (shortlisted for the 2001 British fantasy award).
The plot follows a band of Orc warriors named "The Wolverines" which is led by Captain Stryke. Under Stryke's leadership the Wolverines are one of the most elite fighting forces on the planet Maras Dantia. A mythical world, Maras Dantia is populated by Elves, Dwarfs, Pixies, Kobolds, Orcs and a host of fantasy creatures, known collectively as the "elder races".
The world of Maras Dantia is home to a natural magic which gives most of the elder races innate magical abilities, however this magic is being diminished by the arrival of the human race who have been pillaging the planets natural resources and laying waste to whole forests. The humans are divided into two groups called the Mani and the Uni, the Mani are very tollerent of the Elder races ways and share many of their beliefs while the Uni are very intolerant of any views or beliefs that differ from thier own.
War inevitably follows with the Mani supporting many of the elder races against the Uni. The magic continues to fail however and begins to break down, even effecting the weather.
When the Wolverines are sent on a routine mission to sack a Uni settlement and return an object to their rather ruthless Queen, events spiral out of control and before they know it they are charged as renegades and hunted by Uni and Elder alike.
The safest road to hell is the gradual one-the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts
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