Stryke couldn't see the ground for the corpses. He was deafened by screams and clashing steel. Despite the cold, sweat stung his eyes. His muscles burned and his body ached. Blood, mud, and splashed brains flecked his jerkin. And now two more of the loathsome, soft pink creatures were moving on him with murder in their eyes.
That's the opening of the intimidating new edition of Stan Nicholl's Orcs, released this month from Orbit Books. It collects three novels previously published in England. The books provide an alternate rationale for those perennial bad guys, the orcs, and have sold over a million copies overseas. Orbit's cover for the book matches the tough-guy prose inside. So much so that I got sick of looking at the ugly mug on the outside, effective as it might be, and decided to "prettify" my copy of Orcs. Just look at what a few randomly applied stars, flowers, smiley-faces, and the like can do to make a cover more humane! In fact, maybe Orbit should even run a "Beautify Your Orcs" contest. I bet readers would get a kick out of that.
All silliness aside, this is a significant release, with a striking cover, from one of the hottest publishers in genre fiction at the moment. Check it out if you want some gritty realism with your fantasy.