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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 28 October 2010
Iron Company, by Chris Wraight, is Book 2 in the Empire Army Novel Series set in the Warhammer Fantasy universe published by the Black Library. The Empire Army Series is a collection of stand-alone novels which aim to showcase the different units of the Empire's armies and to bring the battles of Warhammer to life and as such create a greater link between the tabletop game and the Warhammer literary universe. This book focuses on Engineer Magnus Ironblood and the artillery of the Empire.

The novel is quite well written and the author, Chris Wraight, has created a likable character in Engineer Magnus Ironblood and the reader cannot help but be drawn into his tale of redemption and his attempts to confront his traumatic past. The action sequences are also quite well written and the reader is shown the destructive and unreliable power of Empire's blackpowder weapons.

My main complaint about this book is that it does not quite fit the Empire Army Series aims - it focuses heavily upon Magnus Ironblood and relatively little on the artillery and other blackpowder weapons of the Empire. However, that does not mean that this book is not well written and it is a good book in its own right if taken out of context of the series.

Overall, this is a good book that showcases a topic that has previously been mentioned frequently but never fully explored in other novels. I therefore recommend this novel to any knowledgeable Warhammer Fantasy fan or someone who has enojoyed Reiksguard (Empire Army), the first novel in the Empire Army Series.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
`Iron Company' is the second book in the series of novels that details the various aspects of the armies of the Empire and this one deals with the artillery and engineers. The book follows Master Engineer Magnus Ironblood is forced out of retirement to command the artillery company of the army of Hochland as it goes to confront a rebellious noble but the noble has her own engineer and the Hochlanders finds himself outfought and outgunned plus dissension in his own ranks threatens to scupper the entire enterprise.

`Iron Company' was a reasonably good book that could have been a hell of a lot better in places. The story starts off interesting but slow and is somewhat dull in the middle but it does thankfully pick up towards the end. The book does include some nice ideas and while some of the plot was predictable and the characters slightly clichéd in places there was enough in the book to be enjoyable.

I wasn't much of a fan of this authors first Warhammer book `Masters of Magic' and although this one is definitely an improvement it still isn't as good as many of the other Warhammer books I have read, especially the previous book in the series `Reiksguard'. I so have some problems with this book, the most troubling is that while it is meant to be a book about artillery, the artillery doesn't actually do that much for the story seemingly only being there as an excuse to get Ironblood to where he needed to be. As well as this I felt Thorgad's exposition of his motives was somewhat out of character for a dwarf as they really talk of grudges to outsiders. Also at one point the author mentions the moon without specifying which of the Warhammer Worlds two moons he means, this is a little thing but it does seem to suggest that the author probably isn't as familiar with the setting as he should be.

Overall I feel that three stars, three and a half if I am generous, is adequate for this book that despite some nice ideas doesn't live up to its promise.
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on 25 March 2013
getting better & better, I hope the next three in the empire army are as good ( I,ve just ordered them on the strength of the first two)
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4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
The second novel in the Empire Army series and one that takes the Black Library into a separate direction as the tale of the Engineers gets there first outing in a story that will bring them to the fore rather than a support role. It will appeal to those who utilise the Empire Army and will perhaps bring a request by fans for the new weapon to make its way into standard warfare. If you want a tale where the principle player deals with emotional trauma as well as long seated doubts alongside finding his place in the world anew then this will really strike not only a chord but unleash the full metal at the gateway of the readers imagination.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 27 January 2010
I don't typically read works that are tied to games, but I thought I'd give this one a whirl on a whim. And the result is not bad. But neither is it something that will get me to change my habits.

The basic plot of this work is pretty linear: a disgraced and now alcoholic engineer gets a shot at redemption via a new campaign against an upstart rebellion. For this campaign, he is given command of the artillery, the cannons and rifle companies that represent the apex of current technological development of this world. Supported by his old friends and a lone dwarf, he sets about turning his command into a real fighting machine, and eventually gets to show just what these engines of war can do.

Characterization is pretty stock, near stereotype, for just about all the characters, no surprise here, but disappointing to me was that the world these characters inhabit is only very lightly sketched in. Perhaps I've been spoiled by the complicated and incredibly detailed world building of things like George R. R. Martin's Song of Ice and Fire series, but this work simply isn't impressive in this regard.

There are some good battle scenes, and the detailing of the military strategy, both in how to make mistakes and how to do it right, is well done. The consequences of using something like late 18th century cannon technology are very well laid out and are quite realistic. However, the shown development of something approaching a tank is unnecessarily shrouded in mystery and tied to a character revelation that should have been introduced much earlier in the work, which left the ending feeling a little like it was grabbed out of the box at the last minute just to complete the character `development'.

Overall, a decent read, but not something that would make me want to hurry out and get more books set in the Warhammer universe.

Reviewed by Patrick Shepherd (hyperpat)
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