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Bodyguard of Lightning

(Orcs: First Blood #1)

3.42  ·  Rating details ·  813 ratings  ·  69 reviews
When humans arrived on Maras Mantia, home of dwarves, elves, and all the other old races, they raped the land of its soul and magic. And, now the Orcs, whom Earthlings hunted down and slaughtered like beasts of the field, may be the chosen creatures destined to win peace for all...
Paperback, 304 pages
Published December 31st 2001 by Gollancz (first published 1999)
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Average rating 3.42  · 
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 ·  813 ratings  ·  69 reviews

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William Collins
Apr 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I read this many years ago, but it was the first book I read where Orcs weren't mindless monsters and could even be the good guys.

I also love how many other races Nicholls incorporated into the Orcs series. The way he writes battles are superb too.
Sep 13, 2009 rated it liked it
I'm generally not a fan of your epic style fantasy books. Often times it's the same story over and over again, and usually that story is "Lord of the Rings". So I was happy to discover that "Bodyguard of Lightning", the first book in Stan Nicholl's "Orcs" series, was not your typical fantasy story.

The whole idea of this book is that you follow things from ther perpspective of a war band of orcs, the powerfully built warrior race that generally serve as villainous grunts in most fantasy novels.
~ Giulia ~
Jun 11, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy, dragons

A lot of mindless action and very little else.
The premise is great, but the execution is quite lackluster. It was good seeing the humans as the bad guys for once, but we don't get to know much about orcs. I would have liked the main characters to have a bit more personality.

Nothing is clearly explained ("you should reunite all the relics that will, probably, do... something... that possibly could be, somehow, perhaps, the salvation of your race...") or resolved (the book just ends on a big
Aug 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a raucous and fun book. I read it awhile ago and am in the process of reading book three in the series. This entails a warband of Orcs serving an evil dominating Sorceress Queen, called Jennesta. She is half Human and half Nayad.
Stryke and his pals, including a Dwarf mercenary named Jup, a foul tempered rival Orc named Hazeem and other form this band. Stryke has visions seemingly fired up by a lost Orc friend and scholar, Mobbs. The make reference to these things called
Nov 22, 2017 rated it liked it
If ever there was a rushed job, this must be it. IT’s an ok series, but… The world feels tiny… Inhabitants very… underdeveloped… It’s all just a blur of going here, doing this, fighting, and so on.
having said that? meh, not bad.
C.S. Malerich
Feb 25, 2013 rated it did not like it
This is one of those first books in a trilogy that ends with a cliff hanger, in hopes (I guess) that you will rush right out and buy the second book. My best friend gave me the complete, compendium edition of the whole First Blood trilogy, so that wasn't such a problem for me. What was a problem? Sloppy writing, poor world building, boring characters, boring plot... I just did not care enough about the story, characters, or the themes to go on. Hugely disappointing.

After seeing The Hobbit: An
Bill Wimsatt
Jul 26, 2012 rated it did not like it
AWFUL! DO NOT READ! Interesting premise and I looked forward to reading it, but this was just crappy adventures of generic warriors. Shamed to even review this. Can I give a 0 rating?!
Andrea Lorenzini
Jul 10, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
The worst book I have never read. I don't suggest this to nobody
Nov 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
I debated giving this 3 stars but ultimately thought that was too harsh, it is probably more like a 3.5 than a 4, but such is the imperfect system by which we are forced to live our lives.

The Good.
I enjoyed the character building, there are some pretty decent and interesting characters.
There is some great tension building in the final act with a lot of unresolved peril.
The combat is decently described.
There are a lot of threads to keep people reading, like Strike's unresolved dreams.

The Bad.
Cody Wolf
Jan 28, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Interesting concept for a book. The whole story evolves around an orc war-clan in the service of a Queen sorceress. During an excursion to retrieve a mysterious artifact, the plan goes awry and the clan is faced with the option of returning to the Queen and facing her wrath, or turning rogue to unravel the mystery of the artifact.

If you are interested in fantasy, I think the book is worth the read. While the story easily kept my attention, there are some flaws. The setting of the story (a world
Jan 06, 2020 rated it did not like it
Shelves: dnf
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 20, 2019 rated it it was ok
I liked the book, to an extent. I feel as though it was rushed in many parts, although the description in some parts was amazing. The characters seemed to shallow for me to feel anything for, and the conflicts between characters didn't have any background other than "they despise my race." I might have been more disappointed than I was intrigued. Honestly, I would not be reading the other two books if I hadn't bought the omnibus.
Apr 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
An unusual and surprisingly engrossing fantasy that sees orcs take centre stage; full of action and fast paced, this is an interesting world, full of interesting characters. As soon as I finished the first book in the trilogy, I had to start reading the second. 4 / 5

Read the full review, and others, on Sammi Loves Books:
May 29, 2017 rated it liked it
An interesting idea, to write a fantasy story from the perspective of the typical villains. This isn't badly written, and most of the characters are decently fleshed out, but it isn't especially well-written either. Worth reading, but not rereading.
Aug 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Great story about a bunch of orcs who end up in all kinds of trouble.

Feb 23, 2019 rated it did not like it
No. Just no. Read almost anything else. See my review of the First Blood omnibus for more details.
Sep 29, 2010 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: Not a soul.
The title of this novel is easily the most interesting thing about it. Tom Holt claims the book features "a core of skillfully drawn, fully realized characters who engage your sympathy from the start and never let go," but I found exactly the opposite: the characters range from the tolerable to evil personified and not a single one behaves (a), with any foresight, or (b), with any consistency from scene to scene. The leader of the band of orcs, Stryke, never has any clear motivation for his ...more
Oct 19, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Normally I didn't read review of a book I already bought before reading it, but I did for this one and seeing the hate or love comments, I wasn't sure about starting it.

Well the book suppose to give you and inside view of the Orcs lives... and it fail completly. Instead seeing the world with the eyes of an Orc, the author create a new world for the them so they don't look like stupid brute. It's more like you're following a barbarian tribe more than Orcs.

You got the classic evil master that
Aug 15, 2014 rated it liked it
Anyone thinking of picking up this book might as well get the Omnibus edition, which contains books 1 through 3.

Judging Bodyguard of Lightning on its own, I honestly found it a bit lacking in plot development. Nothing much actually happens. Its strength lies more on the characters, and the interactions between those characters.

The protagonist, Stryke, is interesting and likeable enough. The leader of an Orc Warband, the focus is basically on him and the highest ranking officers in his warband.
Clare Neilson
Jan 15, 2014 rated it liked it
I'd give this 3.5 if I could. Sick of human heroes? Fancy some blood, guts and gore close combat fighting? Give this a try! it is, really, really hard to remember you're reading about Orcs in this book, so keep checking the front cover to remind yourself. There's also a dwarf on their side but less hairy and more just a short human that usual.

Humans have been invading the home land of the elder races for many years, and are destroying the magic of the land. This is weakening the elder races.
May 29, 2015 rated it liked it
I found this book interesting although not amazing. It is nice having a book that is told from the orcs perspective for a change. In most books the Orcs are seen as a race without a culture, structure or even basic manners, this book tells a different story.
The main gist of the book is that a small war band of orcs are sent off after an item their queen wants and once they have it they have to decide to start a quest to try and free their people from under her rule or to return the item and
Aug 20, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
- I agree with other readers about the end of the book. The end was too abruptly finished. Hopefully the second part will the story continue. So 4 stars for that reason.
+ The book itself is worth 5 stars because it's full of action. It's never boring.
- The storyline 4 stars. It's not clear where the story is leading to.
+ Great book, a lot of dangerous situations and unexpected creatures are woven in the story.
- I expected to learn more about orc culture and habits, but there was not many
Nigel Bachmann
Aug 07, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy
I think the idea for this book came from a video game. Travel to new area, fight monsters, defeat boss, gain item, go up a level, travel to new area etc..

The plot is weak, the characters unconvincing and the ending dissapointing. The fact that I read it till the end must say something I suppose, if you want a light read wit lots of fights, or own a software company and looking for some new games idea then this book might be for you. Otherwise avoid, there's much better material out there.
Jun 23, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, read-in-2009
I really enjoyed this book although it was confusing at times due to nothing being explained up front.

The book however does just abruptly end forcing you to read the next book in the series. Which I'm not a HUGE fan of but it was a great book. You don't read many books about Orcs being the main characters and actually having feelings and thoughts so it's original in that aspect.

Typical quest/fighting fantasy.
Apr 08, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Not the best fantasy book. It had a 'will write for money' feel to it, meaning yes, it was packed with action but that was the only thing the reviews were right about. The characters were flat and two-dimensional at most. The plot consisted mainly of humans and nonhumas gaining experience points by killing off one another. Not to mention the abrupt ending, just screaming at the reader 'go and buy the next poorly written book if you want to know how it all ends'.
Steven Ackerley
Well this was 5 stars until it got to the WORST ENDING EVER.

It was one-step up from "... and it was all a dream ..."

The characters remained cyphers throughout, the promised 'Orcs - as you never seen them before!' didn't work out at all. My preconceptions remained ... uhm ... concepted.

Still, it was a present and not something I would ever have picked for myself and it was o-kay.
Nov 30, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy
This reads like a fantasy of its era - it's a bit formulaic, characterisation and conflict are shallow (and in the matter of the main antagonist cartoonish) and the plot is spelled out by one of the characters at one point: "we have to have a purpose". But it's fun for all that. It flows well from one action scene to the next and the hijinks work for it once it gets going.

Not actively bad, but not enough to make the cliffhanger ending a draw for me to read the next book.
May 17, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: sci-fi, fantasy
Not a bad story. I don't usually read fantasy/sci fi books and read this one because my boyfriend read it. It was definitely a change in pace for me. It was interesting to hear a story from the orcs point of view, to see what their motives are. The ending left a major cliffhanger and had I not had the second book on hand, I may have been upset by the abrupt ending.
William Merfalen
Apr 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
This is a casual read. If you are looking for brutish behaviour of the Orcs, you may not like this book. The dialogue of the Orcs isn't anything special. If you took out all references to Orcs, you would have a typical human dialogue. There are some obscure names for the Orcs, but the leader has a very human name "Styker". If you like casual sci fi books, this is for you.
Aug 11, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy
This was a decent fantasy book. It had a D&D aventure feel to it. It was relatively quick read and had some great action. What it did not give the reader was any insight into an Orcs mind or culture. The Orcs in the story were just your regular fantasy heroes, they just happened to not be human. But they acted human enough. Overall the series was a fun fanstasy adventure.
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Stan Nicholls (born 1949) is a British author and journalist, working full-time since 1981. He is the author of many novels and short stories but is best known for the internationally acclaimed Orcs: First Blood series.

Other books in the series

Orcs: First Blood (4 books)
  • Legion of Thunder (Orcs: First Blood, #2)
  • Warriors of the Tempest (Orcs: First Blood, #3)
  • Orcs (Orcs: First Blood, #1-3)