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4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent First Book
Henry Zou has seemingly come out of no-where and written an extremely good book at his first attempt. His writing style does not look out of place alongside the other established authors of the Warhemmer 40,000 universe and his own unique writing style and life experiences make this book a great read.

Henry Zou's action scenes are truly fantasic - his...
Published on 6 Feb 2010 by Mr. A Bridger

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Don't! Just.....Don't!
This is the worst Warhammer 40K novel I have ever read!
Why?
First: The story line is somewhat uneven and not all that believable.
Yes, yes, I know we're talking about event forty thousand years into the future, with daemons, laser weapons and so forth. Nevertheless, science fiction novels need to be sort-of-believable; the suspension of disbelief and such...
Published 16 months ago by Flemming Nielsen


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Don't! Just.....Don't!, 2 Mar 2013
By 
Flemming Nielsen (Denmark) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Emperor's Mercy (Bastion Wars) (Paperback)
This is the worst Warhammer 40K novel I have ever read!
Why?
First: The story line is somewhat uneven and not all that believable.
Yes, yes, I know we're talking about event forty thousand years into the future, with daemons, laser weapons and so forth. Nevertheless, science fiction novels need to be sort-of-believable; the suspension of disbelief and such. This one isn't. Several times, events take place that just don't seem believable. You want examples? Okay, but spoiler alert: at one point, a group of battle-hardened, mercenary warrior-class troops execute a perfect (and that's a quote) ambush on our hero and his followers and despite quite superior numbers, and our heroes being without cover, manage to kill only two soldiers. In the initial erhm... perfect... ambush.
Also, several times our hero manages to outflank the enemy (who surrounds him), by using the well know stealth capabilities of horse troops, on an open WW1-style battlefield... on a planet with three suns... with constant daylight.... except, sometimes it's night.

Secondly: The writing is really bad. Zou uses a lot of add-on sentences, kind of like I do, but worse, since he gets paid for it. He uses this to describe the settings and moods of the characters, but since it is incessant it becomes invasive and completely annoying. I'm generally a fairly calm person, but I did, on occasion, argue loudly with the book. My wife was confused and amused. Maybe a little worried.

The last point I`m going to ramble on about, is the language Zou uses. It seems to me, that he has used a thesaurus extensively and has just plopped in a lot of fancy words, without actually getting them quite right. Several times he uses words that you CAN use in the sentence, but you usually don't, because the meaning of the word is slightly off. I don't know how precisely I describe this, and I can't be bothered to look for examples. I don't want to open the book again.

The book took me a long time to get through and I quit twice, but decided that I had to finish it in order to be able to write a review. I hate it, when people write reviews about books they haven't finished, so I try not to do that.
In conclusion: It's a lot of work to get through and it really isn't worth it. Don't buy it. But if you must read it, you can have my copy, it's free!
... But you will have to either come get it or pay for postage... and I live in Denmark, so it's probably cheaper to buy it where you are. But the offer's open.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Oh, Right: ONLY War, 6 July 2013
By 
L. Sinclair "Shakalooloo" (Exeter, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Emperor's Mercy (Bastion Wars) (Paperback)
This book isn't bad, but it isn't quite what one may be expecting. Being a novel starring an inquisitor, a reader (such as myself) may be forgiven for expecting it to be structured similar to a crime story, with an ongoing investigation and subterfuge. Instead, the inquisitor in question spends most of his time on the battlefield, fighting one of the wars for which the 41st millennium is so famous.

So think of this more as Gaunt's Ghosts than Eisenhorn, and you'll be fine.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Emperor's Mercy, 28 Mar 2011
By 
Craig Willcox (Essex, Great Britain) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Emperor's Mercy (Bastion Wars) (Paperback)
This is the first time that I have read any of henry Zou's stuff, so I was completely neutral as to what to expect. ** Caution, this contains spoilers, as they say**.
If you want plenty of blood and gore in the 40K era, then this is for you! The action sequences are great and well detailed (his military back ground comes in handy). However, a couple of things really gripped me. The main character is an Inquisitor called Obodiah Roth (not sure of the name, it does not exactly strike fear into me). He is quite young in service to the 'I', and admits further on that he has very limited military experiance. But, he is happy to put aside his duties as an Inquisitor, and merrily waltz off and join the combat troops at every oppotunity he gets. He even takes an enemy position where all the experianced Guard officers and units have failed (highly unlikely). He gets injured on every other page, kicks the hell out of a traitor marine and finally takes over an entire 'army' of Guard and carrys out a text book withdrawal that even Rommel would be proud of.
Zou uses words that some people may not recognise, which are amazingly still around in 40K. He carries his kit in a 'Bergen' (rucksack used by the military today), which means that the company is still going after all those years! The troops were also huddled around 'hexi-burners' cooking food. Again. I'm impressed that these solid fuel cookers are still around.... surely there would be more advanced methods by then!!!

Not bad, rubbish ending... OK
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4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent First Book, 6 Feb 2010
By 
Mr. A Bridger (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Emperor's Mercy (Bastion Wars) (Paperback)
Henry Zou has seemingly come out of no-where and written an extremely good book at his first attempt. His writing style does not look out of place alongside the other established authors of the Warhemmer 40,000 universe and his own unique writing style and life experiences make this book a great read.

Henry Zou's action scenes are truly fantasic - his description of man to man combat in the trenches and the brutal fighting that takes place in the Warhammer 40,000 universe is some of, if not the, best i have ever read. As the author, Henry Zou, is a soldier in the Australian Army this has certainly contributed greatly to his insight into the minds of the 'everyday day soldier' and allows him to add depth and information beyond other writers abilities to his main characters and supporting cast.

What is even more suprising is that Emporor's Mercy is Henry Zou's first published book. Whilst his writing is not up to high standards of established authors such as Dan Abnett, it is certainly not far off. The reason i have given this book 4 starts instead of 5 is because i feel that Henry Zou's writing can only get better with time and that his future works will be of an even higher standard. Overall i would highly recommend this book to any Warhammer 40,000 fan but also to any science-fiction fan who is just looking for a good book.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Reasonable, 31 Aug 2009
By 
Gareth Wilson - Falcata Times Blog "Falcata T... - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Emperor's Mercy (Bastion Wars) (Paperback)
What makes this tale by new author Henry Zou is the fact that he's taken an established pattern from the Black Library, added his own military experience to the mix and presented the reader with an adventure that is knee deep in blood and gore. However, that said, its also what lets it down to a certain extent as it reads more various tabletop battle reports than the type of fiction that the Black Library releases so well. It is interesting, it does bring new characters to the readers imagination but part of the problem with this book is that there's a deeper layer underneath that you wonder whether it was cut to make the book fit or just dumped due to constraints within.

Whilst a number of readers will probably enjoy this book, I did feel a little disappointed due to the hints of a greater sub plot than was fully realised. That said, however, they could well be saved for a later novel in this series so that as it progresses (now that Henry has established characters and world outline), will come to the fore to present a hitherto unknown new element to the Black Library Universe. Here's hoping.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A struggle to get through, 2 July 2010
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As with most new Warhammer 40000 novels its highly likely that you will draw a short straw and pick an uninspiring and unoriginal book. This is one of them i'm afraid. A good idea but there's nothing in the writing or the character description that feeds the imagination.

Im sorry to say that it is taking me an age to get through and i do not plan on buying any further copies in this series.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This was awesome!, 12 Oct 2009
By 
Ursula K. Raphael "AstraDaemon of The Zombiep... (USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Emperor's Mercy (Bastion Wars) (Paperback)
This is one of the best Warhammer 40,000 books I have ever read. I can't believe this is Henry Zou's first book. Everything is incredibly detailed, from the characters to the weapons and all the combat scenes.

The plot is straightforward: the Archenemy is searching for an ancient relic in the Medina Corridor. Inquisitor Roth is sent to find out more information. Meanwhile, the military wants to pull out and set up defenses elsewhere. They believe the Inquisition is chasing a fairy-tale. This sci-fi story takes on a the form of a mystery when Roth realizes that one of his own group is a traitor, after many assination attempts on his life.

The points-of-view were easy to follow, and I liked being able to "track" the story through so many different characters.

If you've never read this series before, this is a good book to start with because it doesn't require knowledge from the other books to understand what's going on.

I sincerely hope this will be followed up with a book about Silverstein's adventure.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable, but heavy on the action, 29 Sep 2009
By 
Mark Chitty (North Wales) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Emperor's Mercy (Bastion Wars) (Paperback)
I've been enjoying the W40K books and stories I've read this year and although I'm always wanting to pick up more and more, I'm still daunted by the sheer number of novels out there. So, I picked up Emperor's Mercy because it sounded like a good stand alone novel in the Warhammer 40K universe and luckily it was exactly the sort of book I needed to read as it gives a relative newcomer the chance to take in the little details without being overwhelmed. That isn't to say that it lacks the full flavoured history the Warhammer enjoys, it just does it in a positive and accessible way.

The first thing I'll say about Emperor's Mercy is that Henry Zou knows how to write a story of war. The battle scenes are immense and so well described I had clear visions of what was going on at the time, who was doing what and just how the battle was unfolding. I'd definitely say that although there is a story going on within these pages, the strongest point is this descriptiveness and the battles, fights and skirmishes present throughout.

I can't ignore that story behind this layer of war, a search for the ancient Old Kings of Medina, a myth in themselves, that have untold destructive power to those that possess them. We also have the political side behind the war - the quest of Inquisitor Roth to find out if the Chaos forces know of the Old Kings and if it is their mission to find them and his difficulty with the commander of the fleet. This step back from the warfare on the ground is a pleasant and refreshing change that adds so much more depth to the novel. What could quite easily have been a solid war story is raised up a level by having a well constructed and interesting story behind it.

Emperor's Mercy has its good points and its bad points: the battles. While what I said earlier stands true, it also means that a majority of the book is taken up by them. If you like this then there is no problem at all, but I did find myself wanting more time away from the fighting to enjoy the characters more. Although this is a personal preference I can't recommend it without this reservation. However, in the end I did enjoy Emperor's Mercy and I look forward to seeing what else Henry Zou gives us in the future.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Ambitious ideas let down badly by overcooked writing, 2 Jan 2010
By 
Marcastic (West Midlands) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Emperor's Mercy (Bastion Wars) (Paperback)
I love the 40K Universe. I love 40K novels. I've read a lot of them, but this... well, I had to force myself to finish it.

The premise of the novel is great; Chaos vs Imperium in a race for possession of galaxy-shattering archeotech, an Inquisitorial task force, a ruthless and near psychotic guard general, an inquisitor's henchman cast loose in enemy territory... this should be a great read... but it isn't. Most of the ideas are distinctly second hand; the author is obviously a huge fan of Dan Abnett (who wouldn't be, the man is a genius) - and a lot of these ideas will be familiar to anyone who has read the Eisenhorn, Ravenor and Gaunt's Ghosts novels.

But that's not the only let down. Character development here makes Star Wars look sophisticated; dialogue is clunky, overcooked and riddled with cliche; nouns substitute for verbs seemingly at random; vocabulary is often deployed without any consideration (or understanding?) of context (For example, a pike cannot 'prescribe' circles in the air; it can 'describe' them, or 'inscribe' or even 'scribe' them, but 'prescribe'? No way. ...two circles in the air to be taken once daily with food... DOCTORS prescribe.) A dictionary and thesuarus would have served the author better than spell-checker, I feel.

Right, I'm off to read Blood Pact.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Good Idea, Badly Written, 9 Feb 2010
This review is from: Emperor's Mercy (Bastion Wars) (Paperback)
I picked this up from my local bookstore after having first read Titanicus and then Horus Rising. I'm having a reading and a Warhammer renaissance, so since finishing Horus Rising I've been looking for more. I thoroughly enjoyed the human politics and action in Dan Abnetts "Titanicus". It made such an outlandish and alien universe feel so vivid and intimate.

So, after reading the premise on the back of the book and the glowing recommendation from Abnett on the front I thought this book sounded like a really fun read. I was so dissapointed to find it resembling poorly thought-out fan-fiction more than an actual novel you'd want to pay for. Like a fellow reviewer I had to really push myself to read this one to the end. It feels heavily inspired by cliched films and movies, rather than drawing on much originality in itself.

I can't recommend this book at all, I found it cringe-worthy from the moment our young have-a-go-hero Obodiah Roth saunters out of his ship, bare-chested and swaggering like a Bad 80s B-Movie Hero. (He then almost immediately fails to live up to expectations.) The cliches only get thicker, interspersed with some action but an otherwise avoidable story. Theres also an air of lazyness to a lot of the writing, a section where multiple different male and female characters in consecutive scenes are specifically described as wearing "bodygloves", which is quite bizarre and suggests the book could have done with some more proof reading, the author has a thing for bodygloves or needs to stretch the imagination a little further.

TL;DR: Put your money elsewhere. Fan-fiction forums all over the net are filled with stuff just like this.
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Emperor's Mercy (Bastion Wars)
Emperor's Mercy (Bastion Wars) by Henry Zou (Paperback - 30 May 2009)
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