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Customer reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars

TOP 100 REVIEWERon 4 June 2011
Not much more to say about this collection of short stories. Good W40k stuff just like we have been taught to expect from Abnett. I would probably have wanted a bit more depth to the caracters and wanted to learn more about the Snakes of Ithaka. Where do they come from? From what 1st Foundation Legion did they originate? Something about their history and background since the creation of the Chapter...but perhaps I am asking a bit too much for what is, after all, a collection of short stories about the carrier of Priad. Nevertheless, a good read. Very entertaining.
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on 1 October 2017
Why isn't there more of these?
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VINE VOICEon 4 June 2008
In many ways this book from the author of the Gaunt's Ghosts series of books is more of a series of short stories than a traditional novel as each section of the book, despite involving the same characters, is generally self contained and could easily be read individually. The book tells the tale of Brother Priad of the Iron Snakes Space Marines as he embarks on missions for the Chapter and rises through the ranks. Each of the seven sections of the book details one of the missions he is involved in and although separate there are things that tie all seven together.

Dan Abnett is a talented writer and although I am not personally a fan of the Gaunt's Ghosts books I do like both the Ravenor and Eisenhorn trilogies. I feel he has outdone himself with `Brother of the Snake', able to do something that any others have tried but few have succeeded in, humanising the Space Marines. Abnett brings all his characters to life and his action scenes are all very well written and easy to follow. This book is the best loyalist Marine book I have read and I would also include it in my top five favourite Warhammer 40,000 novels. This book is a very well written and enjoyable novel and I hope we will se the characters from this book again in the future.
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on 11 November 2008
If you're a fan of Warhammer 40,000 and Games Workshop in general then you'll probably love this book as you'll be familiar with the background to the stories before the action starts. If you don't know what I'm talking about then you'll probably still like the book, but you might not enjoy it quite so much. That said, the author stays away from too much terminology that won't be familiar to the casual reader.

This book is essentially a series of short stories that all feature the same squad of space marines from the Iron Snakes chapter. They are sworn to protect a particular region of space and are called upon to fight their way through various enemies, defending the human inhabitants. The stories do follow a chronological order, but you can read any of them in isolation and they would still make a good read. I'll try and summarise the seven chapters below:

1) "Grey Dawn" - New recruit Brother Priad is summoned by an ancient distress beacon to semi-developed world in order to rid them of a group of primul raiders (dark eldar).

2) "Black Gold" - Damocles Squad is sent to liberate a vital oil producing facility from a group of chaos cultists.

3) "White Heat" - The space marines take over where the Imperial Guard has failed to capture a city in enemy hands.

4) "Red Rain" - An Inquisitor asks the space marines for help in uncovering a chaos uprising in a farming community.

5) "Crimson Wake" - Squad Damocles returns to their home world of Ithaka where one of their comrades is accused of demonic possession.

6) "Blue Blood" - The marines are forced to attend a coronation, but of course it doesn't go smoothly.

7) "Greenskin" - A large force of Iron Snakes is sent to stop an ork invasion.

All in all, this is a great collection of stories with none that seem like fillers. They provide some excellent action scenes but also a lot of interesting background about the chapter, the squad and the individual marines. My one criticism is that the space marines in this book, although not invincible, are shown as being much more powerful than their counterparts from the Games Workshop wargames. Although I think that an officially licensed novel should be true to the spirit of the original games, I can look beyond these minor niggles, and can recommend the book.
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on 29 July 2011
The Iron Snakes Chapter is sworn to the defence of the Reef Stars against the nefarious enemies of the Imperium, from the insidious Dark Eldar to the brutal strength of the Greenskin hoardes. In this 40k offering Dan Abnett uses an unconventional writing style while following Brother Priad and Damocles Squad, breaking the story into self contained chapters each telling a different tale. It is not however simply a compilation of short stories, but rather a chronicle that follows Priad across many years in an overarcing (if slightly loose) plot, that sometimes has trouble with its chapter pacing. This is at first realisation a little disconcerting, but soon settles into an entertaining rythm that while faltering never fatally stumbles. Abnett keeps us interested by painting a vivid picture of not only the main protagonists but their chapters background, best depicted during the squads return to their homeworld of Ithaka. It goes that extra mile to flesh out and define the Iron Snakes and in doing so solidify itself as an interesting addition to the lore of the 41st millenium.

The Astartes are portrayed as noble and heroic, but not to the dull standards we have seen in some recent Black Library offerings, and come across as wholly more likable than say, in Steve Parker's Rynn's World. They are unflinchingly loyal to the Emperor but possess the right amount of humanity to still be relatable to the reader. Simply put, they aren't douche bag automatons spouting the same weathered lines about duty and honour, at least not to the detriment of the story. Brothers of the Snake is entertaining from beginning to end and while flawed in places still holds itself together admirably well through superior story telling. So if you like Space Marines with brains, an interesting if loose plot and plenty of action scenes to boot this book is for you, I know I enjoyed it.
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on 24 July 2011
Well, it was ok. There were a few good pieces in the book, but it lacked the punchy pace of the Ghosts novels. I was hoping for more from Dan Abbnet's first outing with the space marines. For me, the book was too fragmented, it seemed more like a series of short stories than a cohesive book. Although the main character is central to all of the stories, it seemed to make for a disjointed read.
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on 5 September 2011
This is a nice, self-contained novel, broken up into seven shorter but interlinked stories. Apparently a new chapter created entirely by Abnett, they're nonetheless an interesting and singular group with a stong identity that seperates them from the rest of the established chapters.

I enjoyed this one a lot, especially watching the way the human lead reacted to the Space Marine lead, and in turn how he treated her. I always like it when authors explore the way the two groups treat one another, and although this one doesn't disappoint on that front, for those who'd rather just read about the Marines it's not an enormous part of the book.

Dan Abnett certainly has a particular way with his Astartes, and he fleshes them out fully, making of them believeable and sympathetic characters, even if they're not entirely human.

I like the neatness of this book, in the way the plot plays out and comes to its conclusion, and the feeling of a story well told. Definitely a satisfying read.
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on 25 March 2013
Firstly I love this book. But it has a very different feel to the rest of Dan Abnett's w40k output.
It's a collection of quite slow paced stories, gradually reaching a climax - which is extremely satisfying. However its really about as "not-dark" as a 40k book can be. Not many characters die, and it's hard to really feel much fear for space marines. It tends more to the "epic" feel than the "human" feel. In that way it's got a fantasy vibe that is ironically lacking in most sci-fi and fantasy. And in that way, I think there's a definite kinship with, of all things, Sandman.
Anyway, I don't think I've done a very good job of explaining why I like this book so much, so I'll just say this. Whenever I read it it perks me up. Thinking about it brings a smile to my face. There's not really that many books that do that!
(In case you're wondering - the Gotrek and Felix novels from Skavenslayer to Beastslayer. And of course Sandman. And also by Mr Abnett, Hammers of Ulric)
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on 26 June 2008
I remember just being amazed by the old PC game Space Hulk years back. Ever since then I've loved Warhammer 40000. Then I started reading the books... which I think on the whole are brilliant with the exception of the "Dawn of War" trilogy which is quite poor in my humble opinion. How the first novel ever went to print is beyond me. Still I never forgave the programmers for giving the Orks "Mockney" accents in the game the book tied into. So, I put down the Omnibus edition of "Dawn of War" feeling rather disappointed ( sorry C S Goto ) and picked up "Brothers of The Snake" I treated myself to the hardback edition.
Basically it follows the exploits of Priad a Space Marine who's steadfast and loyal but with a poor grasp of humour. Priad has a goodness which comes across. You really connect with him. Dan Abnett really gets across how marines are more than human yet still human in some ways. This novel actually got to me at the end and I felt for the characters. Check out the excellent use of the female character and the dog who marks the passage of time... the dog also enforces the loyal, steadfast aspect. There is a real sense of the passage of time in this book. Can't say no more it'll spoil it! This novel works on many levels. Oh yeah, you'll love the laidback Librarian who fights and jokes with equal passion. I thought it would just be some short stories but it's actually a proper novel that comes full circle... oh man! Well done Dan. If ever the Space Marines make it to a full blown Sci-fi movie then this would surely be the book to use. I now have a third character that I really like from the Warhammer 40000 universe. the other two being Uriel Ventris and Ragnar Blackmane. I'm going to go back to the Gaunt's Ghosts series. It didn't really click with me initially although that's probably more to do with the fact that I like the Space marines to be the main characters.
Other must read Warhammer 40000:
Ultramarines series.
Space Wolf Series.
Angels of Darkness.
All the Horus Heresy titles!
Storm of Iron ( superb! )
Dark Apostle.
The Blood Angels series.
Soul drinkers series ( very good! )
The Grey Knights series isn't bad... bit of a slow burner.
Warrior Coven's ok but I just don't think Goto's up there with the other writers... sorry.
To the Black Library and Dan Abnett... please write more Iron Snake novels. This is what we all want. Priad is a great character!
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on 24 July 2009
I constantly hear how great Dan Abnett is, so when I began reading his books I did everything to not let this talk influence me, and to not think better of his books than they indeed deserved. I loved Horus Rising, liked Legion (a different read), and found Brothers of the Snake absolutely absorbing.

As already said in other reviews, this is the story of Space Marine Priad, and his experiences through time, alone and with his fellow Snakes, as he grows in rank and experience. The book consists of several stories, but it could actually be just one story. The breaks are mostly there to illustrate that time has passed.

Some people have said that the Marines are too tough in this story. I think that this is partly what makes this story great. A great part of the book reads as a legend, and not a gritty documentary of Space Marine warfare. Oh yes, it's bloody and violent, but also dream-like and full of legendary deeds. If you're looking for 'Band of Brothers' realism this isn't for you. If, however, the movie '300' meant anything to you, then chances are that this book will do the trick for as well. Actually, in the last story, a certain battle that includes lances, shields, and a numberless enemy, reminded me very much of the fighting in '300'.

The book is almost a circle, and Priad pretty much ends up the in the same place as when we first met him. The last few lines show that he's not a one dimensional character, and that he has learned and changed somewhat.

It may be a story that has grown in the telling, but it is the stuff of legends, and was a joy to read.
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