This story takes place between volume VIII and XI (though I’ve heard Hohlbein shall have said it could take place anywhere after volume IV – bullshit in my opinion). At first, it was considered to be part of volume IX, which should have been called “Death’s ship” (Das Todesschiff). Apparently, Hohlbein had too many ideas for the book, so he splitted it, making this an interludium. The book itself contains five different episodes, which are all losely connected. Each episode has its own title, which I’m going to call “chapter...”
The book wasn’t published as a book at first, but as an audio drama. It was only later published as a novel.
Chapter I : Bloodwar
Andrej Delany and his friend Abu Dun are hunting a cruel werewolf, when they come to a small coast-village. The village is being plagued by strange creatures (-> werewolfs), which are always attacking by a ship – The Black Froth. Andrej and Abu Dun promiss to help the villagers. With the very young girl Virinnia as a bait they sneak upon the dark ship and slay its crew. Only too late they realised that they have been tricked, and their true enemies were the very villagers they have just met, and Virinnia is not as harmless as she seemed.
Chapter II: Odin’s Ravens
Andrej and Abu Dun are sailing on the Black Froth in order to return the corpes of those men they have just slain home, as they have sworn to do. Unaware to them, they are followed by two strange ravens. In an orcan, they lose one of the bodies, which angers the ravens. The animals torture them by brining the dead bodies to life, again and again, until Andrej tricks them into showing their true forms, and “kills” them. But the ship leaks, and is about to sink, when the heroes spot an island.
Chapter III: Locked in the haunted house
The island is like an ice-desert (Unuseful spoiler: It’s Grenland!). There is white everywhere. Andrej and Abu Dun have lost any sense of orientation, when they suddenly break into an underground cave. There they find a strange, house-like building, which they enter. Inside, there live small boy Lif and his sister Liftrasil. The two kids with strange dark eyes each take one of the heroes, Andrej ending up with the little girl Liftrasil. She leads him to a room with a hot dwell, where she slowly turns into a beautyful young woman, the most beautyful woman he has ever seen (sounds familiar? ) She seduces him, promissing him warmth, but when he kisses her, she is cold. Almost too late he realises that he doesn’t deal with a human being, but a giant spider, and is just in time able to save Abu Dun – who has been terribly injured by the beast, and himself.
Chapter IV: Witchrock
Abu Dun’s condition is very bad after the spider-attack, and he gets very ill. Fortunately Andrej meets a dwarf called Fjalar, who leads them to a witch named Gryla. She promisses to heal Abu Dun, when she gets to spend one night with Andrej (Boy, why does every woman have a crush on constantly whining Andrej?)But unknowingly to Andrej, the night that far north can be very long. On the next day, shapeshifter Gryla tells him how to leave the island, and so Andrej and Abu Dun leave Gryla with the thirteen… pardon me: fourteen sons.
Chapter V: Twilight of the Wolves
In the next town, Andrej and Abu Dun find some strong vikings, which take the heroes onto their ship, the Fenrir. They have to earn their passage home by rowing, but during the shipping they more than once believe the vikings have other plans with them. When they arrive on the next island, the vikings leave due to a secret mission (it’s burning down a village!), and leave Andrej and Abu Dun with one man back at the ship. The full moon stands high, and Andrej and Abu Dun decide to leave by overtaking the man. But unnoticed by them, the guy has transformed into a gigantic werewolf. After a hard fight he is defeated, and the two immortals escape.
On the next day, thy capture the shipping Fenrir from the surprised returning werewolves.
“Bloodwar” is not a very good novel. It’s very inconsistently and leaves many questions unaswered (What a surprise). Hohlbein has plundered various Northern myths and thrown them into the book, such as Odin’s ravens, Lif and Lifrasil (the last humans remaining after Ragnarök), Gryla and her thirteen sons (the islandish pendant to Santa Clause and the Christchild), as well as the name Fenrir for the werewolves’ ship. In Northern mythology there was a Fenrirwolf, a child of evil Loki. The ship’s name was therefore forshadowing the twist with the werewolves.
The book was also written after the first comic, since here we have for the first time Andrej’s tattoos mentioned.
The book is shorter than the CD, for there the third chapter ends with Andrej joking about Abu Dun getting the boy while Andrej dreams (for the creatures are called “dreamspiders“) about a beautyful young woman, while in the book it ends with defeating the beasts.
so, the book itself is one of the weaker ones, but not as bad as it could be. The worst is yet to come…