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3.8 out of 5 stars42
3.8 out of 5 stars
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 17 March 2012
Dan Abnett has a great knack of choosing one or two themes to focus on in his Horus Heresy novels. In 'Know No Fear' he appears to have chosen making the action seem immediate and desperate and making an apocalypse really really apocalyptic. And does so, seemingly effortlessly (well, how else do you explain his prolific output if not that he just writes really well, really easily?).

Pretty much the entire novel is written in the present tense, a potentially risky choice, but one that makes the action feel non-stop, leaving the reader as breathless as the characters in the story. (Abnett seems to have taken it easy on his thesaurus for this book too) And the disaster that starts the whole conflict - well, Abnett channels devastation like that visited on Caprica in Battlestar Galactica, making the destruction of Calth's fleet, shipyards, and cities feel as monolithically cataclysmic as you could hope for.

Its always tricky to tell a story people know the ending of and keep it engaging and interesting. The secret of course is good characters doing interesting things. 'Know No Fear's characters are perhaps a little weak - there's only so much space around the titanic first strike against Calth after all. But the focus is perhaps on the Ultramarines Legion as a whole, rather than individual Astartes, and as a treatise on the nature and character of that Legion, an explanation as to why Calth and the destruction of the Word Bearers is so important to them, 'Know No Fear' is still pretty awesome.

It is perhaps not an essential title in the Horus Heresy series. There is only one story arc in it that really ties it it into the whole saga, that is, characters and mysteries that are likely to appear in future titles. But anyone buying it is unlikely to be disappointed. As a disaster novel and a background to one of the most popular chapters in the 40k universe, 'Know No Fear' is packed from start to finish with great action and great writing.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 13 April 2012
For fans of Dan Abnett this is very typical and you'll know what to expect. I felt the book was more along the lines of his Gaunt novels and the 'Titanicus' novel. We follow individuals and groups as they struggle through the Word Bearer's treacherous war against Calth. Dan Abnett's writing style gives the events an 'immediate' feel that pushes the story along nicely in the first third, building up tension nicley untill we get to the moment of treachery.

This is where the Author succeeds in my opinion. The invasion truly feels global and dramatic. You get a real sense of the outrage and confusion as the fighting starts on Calth and the fleet is attacked.

Be warned - if you are looking for intrigue and overly ellaborate plot twists, then you will not get them in this novel - it's all about the fight. This is fine with me, there have been plenty of novels in the series that have purely dealt with exposition and origins of the heresey, it's about time we had some delivery!

I've taken a star off this for Warhammer purist reasons - I feel sometimes (just sometimes) the author starts to re-write The HH and WH40K universe accoring to the word of Dan Abnett. I guess he's just trying to put his spin on some aspects of the universe.

I would also like to have read a bit more about the Primarch, In my opinion none of the HH writer have really got a a handle on how to portray the Primarchs and make them likeable yet, but DA does make a point of saying Guilliman is a hard man to warm to, it would have just been good to read more about his thought processes as the invasion continues.

Overall though, a thumping good read that had me hooked. It also sets up a few other sub-stories that wil hopefully be explored, maybe in one of the short story collections in the future.(remember John Grammaticus from 'Legion' anybody?)

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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 9 April 2012
After the disappointment of galaxy in flames i jumped ship and read the tremendous ciaphas cain books which are imperial guard but with a unique main character (think gaunt but more endearing ).Like my reviews state the last 3 of the eight books didn't do ciahas justice so i decided to jump ship again. I am much more for the imperial guard than for the spacemarines. I like the regular joes up against all the nightmares of the galaxy but i am also a follower of the ultramarines. They are the biggest legion in the 31k universe and up untill now they havent had much of a say in the horus heresy. That changed when dan the man wrote this book. With over 500 planets loyal to the emperor that make up the worlds of the ultramarines and its peoples it was only a matter of time untill the heresy tried to take a bite. A seemingly large gathering of men and material are circling calth. Some are ultra and some are from the word bearers, a legion with a past who want to prove themselves equal of the ultramarines. Horus is gathering his forces for an overkill annihilation of orks...he also wants to show he is the warmaster and that the primachs must obey him. As this overwhelming force of arms gathers on land and in space something happens that will turn brother against brother.....yes nothing new you say but this book is epic stuff. The first 150 pages or so read like a script from a hollywood disaster movie. Its like dan spoke to micheal bay and james cameron...its that glorious. Then the hell begins and the stories of trust,betrayal,death,bravery smash you in the face untill you just cant take anymore. Then you realise you cant put the book down. My one issue is that it seems a bit short but its 400 or so pages which is what the heresy series seems to have adopted.
Since galaxy in flames the heresy series of books has become a series of books that can be read standalone. this will probably continue untill the final epic galactic battle between horus and the emperor but this train will be milked for a while i imagine. This book was a page turner and although ive jumped straight back to the imperial guard again after this book i would say this is well worth the cash.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 10 March 2012
I havent finished the book yet but my god its difficult to put down!

Do not read this if you have work the next day! You have been warned. Ive really been speed reading this book far too much and I think Im going to have to re-read it properly from the start. One criticism I would have is that it keeps breaking away from Gulliman all the time...its infuriating and then I speed-read more.

I dont think its his best work but it is completely utterly addictive.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 2 March 2012
Despite what some have said about the lack of character development, I think that this novel, provided just as rich a variety of characters as one of the early gaunt's ghosts novels. What it lacks, however, is the sense of potential development of those characters. This is what I have really enjoyed about all the very best Abnett novels. He writes easily the best characters of all those in the Black Library ( barring Bill King's ). I enjoyed the plot and the way Guilliman was presented, he seemed a lot richer and well fleshed out than many of the other primarchs have been in the series.

What I must emphasise is that this novel isn't conclusive and epic in scale, it is a fast paced snapshot.

For all that, I enjoyed it, it certainly is different from a lot of the pulp that the black library publishes, and good for precisely that reason.

In summary; not Abnett's best, but better than the rest. ( and refreshing )
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 27 April 2012
I am a fan of Dan Abnett's work, particularly the Gaunt's Ghosts series. I have read a couple of the Horus Heresy series but was not as taken with them. However, I appreciate this book because it explains, to me at any rate, how this galaxy-wide war got started. I am sure that there are other books in the series which explain it in other ways but this one gives me a fair introduction. The first reviewer above,JPS, gives a good critique of the strengths and weaknesses of the story which I can't improve on. It is certainly one of those books which I couldn't put down until I had finished it, much like Traitor General, one of my favourite from Gaunt's Ghosts although quite different from this, but just as absorbing. It should satisfy the tastes of those readers who like apocalyptic fiction and the endless tale of good versus evil, whether here on the microcosm of earth or out in the macrocosm of the galaxy, or even the universe.
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on 5 November 2015
see the pimarchs
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8 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on 16 February 2012 the virtually limitless capacity of the English language and Dan Abnett to describe anything imaginable.

Let me advise prospective purchasers in the strongest possible terms to not purchase 'Know no Fear' except on a Friday, as it is so high-octane that you will read it in one sitting and your sleep patterns for the next day will be seriously messed up. I actually missed my Tube station on the way back from work, turned back, got off, and sat down at the platform for nearly three hours to finish the book; it's that incredible. In most of Dan's books, the odd word appears that I have never met before, and I reach for the dictionary; in KNF, the tension was so great I physically couldn't stop turning the pages to check them.

Every masterpiece of bolter-porn ever crafted by the author has been a run-up to this book: the Space Wolf assault on the Quietude homeworld in 'Prospero Burns', the showdown on Herodor in 'Sabbat Martyr', the retaking of Gereon in 'The Armour of Contempt', the Atrocity at the Spatian Gate in 'Malleaus' and (his previous masterpiece) the siege of Vervunhive in 'Necropolis', are totally eclipsed. Dan Abnett plants himself in pole position to be the one to describe the Battle of Terra and - through an ingenious manoeuvre - in KNF actually gets started on the process.

It's a triumph on so many levels.

The book is daringly written entirely in the present tense, and with more abrupt shifts between narrative threads than previous books. It makes the sustained tension exhausting and unbearable.

Dan previously mentioned that he was unsure about how to tackle Space Marines; I suppose the question was how to give context to the superhuman scale of them. He conquers that in KNF by simply ratcheting up the conflict concerned to levels beyond anything he's ever done, with pulverising, apocolyptic effect. To have even IMAGINED the things that happen in the story is phenomenal; to then adequately take the reader through them is just an extraordinary accomplishment.

A host of characters from other books are brilliantly woven into the longest cast of characters of any Abnett book so far. Though the story is event-driven, there are lots of insightful, human moments. Two characters really stand out: the musings of Telemechrus, the Dreadnought, and Roboute Guilliman himself. In 'Prospero Burns', Dan avoids giving Leman Russ too much stage time to avoid over-description; in KNF, Guilliman takes centre stage and his depiction is perfectly judged.

One criticism I had of 'Prospero Burns' was that the reminiscences between the action scenes were too abrupt a shift of pace; they seemed bogged-down and ponderous in comparison. That's avoided here by just making the whole story an unrelenting action sequence.

In a few Abnett books, the endings come as slight anticlimaxes, either OTT or too riddled with non-sequiters; the ending of the Ravenor trilogy and 'Titanicus' come to mind. In KNF, the narrative comes to a logical and powerful conclusion fully worthy of the rest of the book.

BTW, the story was apparently written to the soundtrack to 'Tron: Legacy", and I can confirm that the two seem to go perfectly well together.

Just read it. But, for goodness' sake, start on a Friday.
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on 17 September 2014
Great read
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2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
If there's one author that is a constant as well as a trend setter then its Dan Abnett, his imagination is rich, the worlds within vying for attention and I suspect that the devils on his shoulder must be fighting it out in strategic battles just to get their chance to whisper in his ear. (Although I suspect that he probably has a set of Heavily Armoured Angels with bolters dug in there. LOL)

This, the 19th book in the Heresy series is one that delivers what fans want, heavy combat, intrigue and of course blends it all together with blood, heroism and strategy. It's hard hitting, the combat bloody and when all hope seems lost a pyrrhic victory is won. It gets the heart beating and of course I suspect that a certain author is perhaps responsible for quite a few Aquila tattoos. Great fun all in and one of my favourite heresy titles to date.
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