A very intriguing Warhammer novel. Having read the bulk of the Heresy novels and a fair number of guard novels, Fire Caste stands out as a rather unique read. A facile comparison would be "Heart of darkness meets the 40K universe" but that would be doing Fire Caste an injustice because this novel finds its own voice and atmosphere. It's jam packed with memorable characters and includes some strong female leads- sadly a rarity in the 40K universe. The star of the piece however is probably the backdrop of the story- the planet Phaedra... A hideous, stinking mess of a (semi-)death world. One get's the impression the author had an enforced and rather unpleasant exile in a swamp somewhere to be able to conjour up the necessary imagery. The pacing is excellent (a slight worry given the author's previous short story work - which has been atmospheric and intelligent but not to everyone's taste action-wise) - readers are launched into intense battle almost from the get-go. But make no mistake, this is also a mature and thoughtful novel that's not afraid to take its readers into some rather dark places. As a minor word of caution, the title of this book is somewhat misleading as this is really an Imperial guard novel (possibly some misguided BL marketing going on there...?). That said, the tau do feature heavily as both antagonists and protagonists of a sort. Tau fans won't be disappointed because there's plenty of intriguing, and as far as I can tell, original insights into tau culture and battle tactics. And without giving too much away, tau fan-boys will also get their fix of kroot, vespid, loxatl... In short, not your usual 40K fare but so much better for it. If you're pining for a more cerebral 40K novel that doesn't skimp on the chainswords then you could go no place better.