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on 26 April 2007
I was very wary of this book when I picked it up. Even though i'm a big fan of the Warhammer 40,000 game I always viewed the Black Library novels as mere trash fiction, no more than cash-ins. The previous Warhammer and 40k novels I have read have done much to reinforce this judgment. However, I am very pleased to say that in this case I was wrong and happily so!

This omnibus contains the first three books in the Soul Drinkers series (Soul Drinker, The Bleeding Chalice and Crimson Tears), with the fourth (Chapter War) having only recently been released. For me the series got better as it progressed. At the end of Crimson Tears I rushed out to buy Chapter War straightaway!

In the fast-paced, action-filled stories the Soul Drinkers must choose whether to betray the Imperium they are sworn to protect or put at stake the honour of their entire chapter. A decision is made and they muct live with the consequences, facing enemies both within and without, human, alien and daemon, along the way.

The only real negatives with this book are the oft-repeated stock phrases that the author uses, which is a particular problem in the first book.

I would recommend this book to any fans of the 40k universe. It offers a glorious insight into the workings of a Space Marine's mind as well as offering several viewpoints on the state of the Imperium. It is full of glorious action sequences and plot twists and has enough character development to keep you interested.

If you are not a fan of the 40k game then I hesitate a little to recommend this book. Although the Black Library claim that anyone can enjoy the books I would disagree and say that a knowledge of the Warhammer 40,000 universe would greatly increase your understanding of certain characters, decisions and events that occur or are referred to in this series. Still, that is not to say don't buy this book. Much of the information about the 40k universe is readily available on Games Workshops's website and Wikipedia. It will make very interesting additional reading for any sci-fi fans!

As for me, this book has given me faith in the Black Library so i'm off to give Dan Abnett's novels a go!
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on 3 August 2007
I've been thinking about buying one of these books for a long time, but, as a previous reviewer has stated I always thought the 'Black Library' was a cash-in for the WH40k universe. Previous opinions of other people I'd asked had always maintained the books borrowed heavily from the established universe, and hoped it would carry them. Not so though in the case of 'Soul Drinker' which I bought based on the reviews below. Ben Counter has obviously married his fascination with the WH40k'verse and his writing talent and created a wonderful adventure from the eyes of an errant Space Marine Chapter. This book kept me interested from start to finish as the story progressed, wondering how the Soul Drinkers were going to end up.

That said though, I thought main character development throughout the book was slim. The Space Marines are typically pious and stoic in a 'fight or death' kind of way, and you could argue that they would have stock answers for every question and generally speaking those answers would have 'By the Emperor' in them somewhere. The whole book though leans away from the typical Adeptus Astartes and lends itself gloriously to explore the mind of the Space Marine but doesn't quite hit the mark. You can guess what is happening in the minds of main characters like Sarpendon and Pallas, but you never feel privvy to their private thoughts. Ben seems to develop these skills later on, but for more 'human' characters perhaps.

By and large though the writing style and enormous talent and creativity allows Ben to describe a wonderful world at every opportunity, whilst weaving a well-thought out plot through all the books in this omnibus. I expect this author will only improve, and its a delight that my introduction to the Black Library has been with this book.
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on 20 January 2009
I am a fairly new bookworm, and generally I like scifi/fantasy.
I grabbed this predominantely due to the price and I used to be into W40k stuff when I was a kid.

The first book was a stuggle for me and I ended up putting it down for a 'fairly' long time, while being about one third of the way through. After finishing Horus Rising, (with a renewed interest), I attacked it with a new spirit of Grr-ness; then I got hooked. It was awesome! I thought it was quite intense, but still quite good too. I slipped easily into the second book and ratted through that while getting impatient with some of the drawn out fight scenes, which I think is both a good thing (showing it's fun), but also annoying.

The third book I was a bit of a dissapointment (it was a stuggle like the first, something to do with 'the enemies' facing the Soul Drinkers, but also felt like it was dragged out too much, and a bit more like I was watching a game of pong). The only consolidation I got was finishing it, and also knowing what happened.

The first chapter of the next book looks cool. Although from the third book, I'm dubious to buy it! Can't say never though..
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on 16 January 2009
Read this a while back. But still think back to this set of books as they are really good sci fi read.
The only 40k books I have read since that are better/on par with Soul Drinkers are Dan Abnett's!
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on 11 February 2015
Not a good book; reads more like a fan fiction, than an actual epic. I know you should not expect literary achievements in Black Library books, but this one is one heck of a disappointment. The characters are two dimensional, un-relatable (I have almost finished the last book of the trilogy, and still have not bothered to remember their names...), their motivation is just silly (spoilers...: some technodude stole our artifact, the whole Imperium is corrupt, let's just secede...), the whole mutation stuff just makes them even less relatable, and the story is quite unbelievable (space marines coasting on a wooden boat repelling boarding actions from chaos spawn... it's kind of like Games Workshop and Pirates of the Caribbean went to an orgy and forgot to use protection...)... all in all, it's just not a good book. The whole premise is just not right; and this has been a constant problem with the Horus heresy books as well. Most characters' motivations are just not real, and at best they behave like some adolescent with an IQ of 10. I can't recommend this book at all. If you want to read about interesting characters and corruption, read the Eisenhorn trilogy, or the Soul Hunters.
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on 2 February 2009
The main point to note about the Soul Drinkers series, above all others, are that they are quite different from all the other 40k tie-in novels. Most of the time they will deal with the fighting forces of the Imperium, or other times with the alien or Chaos-worshiping armies they fight.

Here, the stars of the book choose neither side, fighting in the grey area between, for a cause more sympathetic to the modern reader than the grim, no-prisoners, ends-justify-the-means approach that coats the rest of the dark millennium. This originality is very refreshing.

Ben Counter handles the pacing well, never allowing the plot to get bogged down for too long in one place before delivering another action set-piece. On the flipside, character development is pretty slow, but still miles ahead of most of the rest of BL Publishing's output. And really, it is the scope of the ideas on display here that are the real attraction, before even the protagonists that wade through them with chainsword and bolter.

All around, one of the better 40k books, in my opinion, but for those perfectly at home with the 'generic' style of the other series may find it a little jarring.
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on 17 August 2011
They were the most loyal of all of the legions. Descended from Rogal Dorn, most loyal of the primarchs, a chapter of the imperial fists. This omnibus charts their fall from grace. Cruel twists of fate mixed with not a little hubris contribute to the downfall and excommunication of this proud and fearless chapter. In this collection of three novels their fall from the favour in the Imperium, and the sheer tragedy of it is brought to bloody and screaming life. Ben Counter is a master remembrancer, who will take you with him through their tale. Through him, you will feel like you are there , fighting the battles, dodging bolter fire , knee deep in blood and gore as Sarpedon and his battle brothers carve out their own niche in Imperial history.
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on 26 October 2008
Well i'm a huge fan of Fantasy fiction, and finding myself at a loss when looking for new Fantasy reads. I decided to plunge into the world of Science Fiction, The Soul Drinker's Omnibus being my first in this genre, and I must say I truly enjoyed this novel.

The Soul Drinker's is an amazingly well written piece of Fiction, the story is epic in every way, from the beginning of the novel where we are first introduced to the Soul Drinkers to the very last page. I found myself intrigued by their fighting creed and their fanaticism to their Emperor, even when it came to fighting their own space marines. Overall i'm very happy with my first attempt at this genre an will most definitely be reading more.
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on 2 April 2009
I know this is sci-fi but a lot of what is in the novel beggars belief. Which is a shame considering the concept was promising enough, i.e. a Chapter that is neither for the Imperium nor Chaos.

A couple of examples: Sarpedon goes head to head with the Chapter Master, gets his head handed to him, sprouts new trotters in the nick of time and gives the Chapter Master a righteous beating. Tellos turns bad boy and becomes invulnerable.

Suspend belief all ye who enter here.
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on 4 September 2012
The Idea behind the creation of the soul drinkers gave this space marine novel an identity all of its own. Unfortunatly the three books became a bit of a drag, and I found myself wishing for the end to come quickly. Good Idea, but just went on a bit too long.
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