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The Dwarves

(Die Zwerge #1)

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  10,398 ratings  ·  729 reviews
For countless millennia, the dwarves of the have defended the stone gateway into Girdlegard. Many and varied foes have hurled themselves against the portal and died attempting to breach it. No man or beast has ever succeeded. Until now. . .

Abandoned as a child, Tungdil the blacksmith labors contentedly in the land of Ionandar, the only dwarf in a kingdom of men. Although h
Paperback, 752 pages
Published July 3rd 2009 by Orbit (first published 2003)
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Hannah Knight I'd consider it as a mix, in all honesty. There's been no sexual scenes, just a lot of violence. Although, there are clear signs of romantic flirtatio…moreI'd consider it as a mix, in all honesty. There's been no sexual scenes, just a lot of violence. Although, there are clear signs of romantic flirtations but nobody acts on them.(less)

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Average rating 3.95  · 
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 ·  10,398 ratings  ·  729 reviews

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Oct 16, 2009 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: young fantasy readers
I could not take it any more. I am taking some advice and I am not going to finish this book even though I REALLY tried. I started this book in August and have taken breaks from it 4 or 5 times. I wanted this book to be good, but its way too simple. The plot is very simple and predictable. The characters are Tolken templates and are not very interesting. At times it seemed the dialogue between the dwarven characters in this book came straight from 6yr old boys who were having a make a believe ba ...more
Dirk Grobbelaar
This book reminded me of a role playing game. Character gets assigned quest and sets off --> when character arrives at destination he finds out that the quest completion parameters have been amended and that he has to continue to new destination, where more or less the same thing happens. Along the way the character collects items and learns skills, he also meets other characters with different skills and some of these join up with him, creating a "party". In the end, the items and characters co ...more
Mar 11, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
DNF at 50%

I know, I know – “Fifty percent and you don’t want to finish?”

Yeah but this is 700 plus pages! 300 pages, maybe even 400 and I’d stick it out but just too much pulp for not enough up side.

So Heitz has created a fantasy world where a dwarf is orphaned and raised by a human wizard and then there is a whole society of dwarves and he might be the king and they kill lots of orcs, … oh, and there is a bad realm of zombies and villains.

I’ve read other reviewers say this was like an RPG and it
David Wismer
Feb 13, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, fantasy
The best review I can give is that my 17 year old son spent his own money to buy the first three books (in hard cover), read them and encouraged his friends to read them. I just had to read them myself and found myself enjoying them. Let the author speak for himself.

"Death came for the dwarf and tried to take him, whereupon the warrior squared his shoulders, dug his heels against the granite floor, and told him to go. Death turned around and left.”
- Apologue from the southern provinces of Sangp
A. Dawes
Why the Read: I've always enjoyed Tolkienesque (or D&D) dwarves. After reading excellent contemporary fantasy by McKillip, Bujold, Martin, Abercrombie and Rothfuss, I thought I'd give it a go.

Plot: the clichéd D&D role play world. Also the clichéd little guy becomes a big guy through an adventure. Escapist fun. Nothing new and completely formulaic.

Thoughts: easy to condemn or judge this work and its derivative D& D world, but on reflection, this type of formulaic approach has a place for reade
Apr 13, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Once I managed to trudge through the first 100 or so pages, (which are a bit of a massive yawn)
things really started to pick up and I began to really enjoy the book.
The writing isn't particularly stellar, but it flows nicely and it's the characters that spurred me on to continue reading.

The core characters I really fell in love with. It would be interesting to read it in it's original german. I am one of those people who can't help but think anything that is translated might lose a bit of it'
Jan 24, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
This book can be described as a badly written spin off of LOTR where the attention has been shifted from elves and humans to dwarves. Being a fan of fantasy it is rare for me to rate a book 1 star but I didn't find anything here that made me think of giving it anything more.

Writing is one of the main flaws of this book (among others) I don’t know if it’s the translator’s fault or the original authors but the writing is too simple and unappealing. It’s like a kid wrote this for his high school pr
Oct 02, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really didn't enjoy this nearly got too 100 pages and the dialogue is just awful in places and sounds more like a Disney film at times then a proper fantasy book.

Characters are dull and plot is full of so many holes and inconstant.

Not for me, I'm really having a bad year with fantasy books :(
Dec 14, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good solid quest fantasy. Very well translated.
Generally nothing new about the book but still an easy read with decent characters.
I found the whole book a very enjoyable read. It won't stick with me the way some fantasy books would but sometimes a softer read is a nice break and this fits that bill nicely.
Simplistic in some ways and definitely borrows from other works but I went in expecting this so it didnt bother me too much.
Aug 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've read a fair bit of fantasy in my years and some I have liked better than others. This series jumps to the top of my list. I love the DragonLance novels, but I think that this actually topped them, just a bit.

I love the fact that the main character is a Dwarf raised around Humans; it gave him a great sense of humor and an academic view of his people. His 'innocence' in the realm of Dwarven women cracked me up and I think that he was a good mix between the dwarven raised characters.

It's a t
Nov 01, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Dwarf Lovers
Shelves: fantasy
Once I read an article about classic fantasy cliches. Classic fantasy books have adjectives ending in ling, like halfling. This is a book fool of lings, it fits all fantasy cliches. But after reading so many realistic and political intriguing fantasy books, this book has its charms in simplicity.

First chapters i was wondering whether i stop it or not. A simple story with AD&D dwarves complete with character creation chapters and skill advancement pages. I thought i was 15 all over.

As the plot th
[Name Redacted]

Brothers of the mine, rejoice!
(Swing, swing, swing with me)
Raise your pick and raise your voice!
(Sing, sing, sing with me)
Down and down into the deep,
Who knows what we'll find beneath?
Diamonds, rubies, gold and more
Hidden in the mountain store...

Born underground, suckled from a teat of stone
Raised in the dark, the safety of our mountain home
Skin made of iron, steel in our bones
To dig and dig makes us free!
Come on brothers, sing with me!

I am a dwarf and I'm digging a hole
Diggy diggy hole, diggy d
Jun 05, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was so much better than I anticipated that it would be. I had never really heard much about 'The Dwarves' as a series and so I picked this up on a whim and just hoped that it would be good, and I was not disappointed. I would give this a 4.5* rating because the beginning was a little slow and there were a few moments of confusion between characters which lost my immersion a little, but other than that it's a brilliantly composed story in a classically fantastical world.

The Dwarves is a
Jun 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Have you ever felt that the fantasy genre has never had any central focus on dwarves? Well if you like dwarves, look no further. Markus Heitz has finally brought them to the forefront in the start, of what I hope will be, a wonderful series.

Tungdil is a dwarf, brought up in the company of humans. He has never set eyes on another of his kind before, but this is all about to change. Soon Tungdil must embark on a quest that will reacquaint him with his fellow dwarves, as they struggle to save the r
Feb 15, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
It is rare that I do not finish reading a book. This was one of the exceptions. The world was flat, the characters uninspired, and everything was so incredibly predictable. It was like reading watered-down Tolkein with the addition of dark elves and revenants.

What finally annoyed me enough to put the book down halfway through was the simple fact that some measure of time (presumably days) was constantly referred to as 'orbits'. At one point the main character is delirious with fever, and another
Miriam Cihodariu
Jan 05, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: germany
The first installment in the series amazed me with how much it managed to achieve exactly what the author said he was aiming for. That is to bring more detail and flesh to the world of the classic, Tolkienian dwarves, the ones we encounter in so many fantasy stories and tend to take for granted as a homogenous mass. In a way, dwarves were the last great mystery, the final frontier of fantasy, and Markus Heitz really managed to breach it in a fantastic way.

As a bonus, the book also abounds in fai
Jun 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book seemed to go on forever. It took me over 2 months to read it because I kept setting it aside. Other than that, I enjoyed a fantasy read from the dwarves point of view. The quest was long and arduous. The battles were fierce. And Tungdil was an endearing character. There were a couple of inconsistencies that gave me pause. (view spoiler) ...more
Sep 23, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was such an easy read. Its your standard fantasy fair, very Tolkienesk, but the focus is on dwarves. The main character is your typical fantasy young man, kinda like your farmboy, however in this case hes a dwarve. The action is old school fantasy light, reminds me of a middld of the range D&D novel. The plotting is fun but predictable and the world buidling is a bit simple but has a german European twist to it. Probably reccomend for people eho arent big fans of fantasy as its very simple ...more
Stephen Burns
I don't want to give it a negative review, because I can understand why some people would like it. I like the main characters, especially the twins. There were a few too many "leaps" for me, though, plot wise and I ended up putting it down about 2/3 of the way through. This is a personal pet peeve, but if, for example, your main character is making a decision, the "he/she just knew it was right" needs to be justified. Is intuition a special gifting? Why would they make that decision? I need to b ...more
May 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great epic adventure with dwarven protagonists. The world, the sights, the various peoples are well described and believable is this fantasy. I'm sure everyone will compare this to The Hobbit with a diminutive hero sent on a mission to save their world. But this story stands on its own and was a delight to read without twisting the tongue around unpronounceable names.
Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin
I loved the cover though!
Patricia Crowther
Okay I think I’ve settled on 3.5*. It wasn’t that it was in any way a bad read, it was certainly never a chore to pick up I just didn’t particularly care for the characters. For me, in this type of fantasy where a band gathers for a quest, one of my favourite things is the interaction and banter between those characters. And this just fell flat in that respect. The dialogue generally was just not very sophisticated which was disappointing.
Elisabeth Schell
The Dwarves by Markus Heitz is a story about a dwarf by the name of Tungdil who was raised among humans in Grindlegard by a magus, Lot Ionan. Lot Ionan sends Tungdil on a journey to run some long distance errands for him and over the course of his journey everything changes. He meets fellow dwarves for the first time in his life and soon finds out that he was nominated to be a candidate for High King, his foster-father Lot Ionan is killed and Grindlegard is being taken over by the perished land ...more
Nov 24, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was by far and away the most interesting thing I've read in the last few months! I thoroughly enjoyed it, and didn't mind staying up late just so I could keep reading it.

The story follows Tungdil Goldhand on his adventures through Girldegard, first to find his folk and kinsmen, and then in an epic journey to save Girdlegard from those that would destroy it.

This was definitely a different take on Dwarves. Here they aren't just the little bearded people, they are THE bearded people! Th
Bryan Alexander
I read this together with my 14-year-old son. He prefers science fiction to fantasy, but is intrigued by dwarves.

It's a fun read in that context. We enjoyed some of the characters' schtick, the development of a fantasy world, the protagonist's growth into a leader, the defeats of various bad guys.

In a sense, it's a young adult book. The focus is on a young person, upon whose shoulders ever-escalating challenges are placed. Adult society is fouled up, and can ultimately only be helped by the youn
May 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you like Gimli, this is a must read.
Oct 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An epic start to an epic book series!
In my opinion the first book about the small stubborn drinkers and fighters was much different from the others. Up to now I've read parts 1-4 and I'm currently reading part 5.

When I say, that the first part is different, I really mean it that way, and am not trying to say the others are not as good. Just the basic atmosphere is different to the other 4 books.

In the first book you can look forward to a fun story with a lot of humour. Markus Heitz really takes
Aug 20, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hmmm not bad, I just found myself disappointed at how like Lord of the Rings it was, a group of people of all races, a wizard who turned evil but couldn't see it, and an unspeakable evil that was encroaching upon the rest of the world. Dwarve's and Elve's hate each other but in the end become friends and a child of a once ancient King of men leads an army of men united behind him. The plot has been done before, and better by Tolkien. However, it turns out not to be a bad read once you get about ...more
Dec 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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Dwarves 4 71 Mar 06, 2013 09:30AM  
Loved it 9 49 Mar 05, 2013 04:11AM  

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Markus Heitz is a German fantasy, horror and science fiction author, most famous for his five-book Dwarves saga.

Markus Heitz was born in Homburg in 1971. He studied history, literature, and the German language. He now lives in the town of Zweibrücken.

Other books in the series

Die Zwerge (5 books)
  • Der Krieg der Zwerge (Die Zwerge, #2)
  • Die Rache der Zwerge (Die Zwerge, #3)
  • Das Schicksal der Zwerge (Die Zwerge, #4)
  • Der Triumph der Zwerge (Die Zwerge, #5)

News & Interviews

Bryan Washington, the acclaimed author of 2019’s short story collection Lot, has returned with his debut novel, Memorial. The story follows...
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“Appearances are there to be ignored, for the biggest hearts may reside in the smallest and unlikeliest of creatures. Those who fail to look beyond the surface will never encounter true virtue - not in others and certainly not in themselves.” 21 likes
“Gathering speed, the wagon reached the point where the tunnel took a sudden plunge. Its passengers held on tightly as the vehicle tipped over the edge and careered into the abyss.
Ireheart wooped in excitement, Boëndal held on for dear life, Bavragor burst into song, and Goïmgar petitioned Vraccas, while Tungdil wondered if any of his companions were sane.”
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