Top critical review
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Mixed feelings and mixed views
on 21 July 2013
First of all, Captain Darnath Lysander is NOT "beset by unimaginable horrors and tortured by memories of his time imprisoned by the dark forces of the Iron Warriors", contrary to what the trailer blurb mentions both on Amazon's website and on the book's cover. There is not the slightest mention in the book of his time spent imprisoned by the Iron Warriors.
Then there is the way the story is told: you can expect quite a lot of "bolt porn" with masses of blood and gore as the Imperial forces in general, and the Imperial Fists in particular, fight a rebellion backed by the Ruinous Powers and directed by multiple Chaos warlords, including a traitor Marine of the World Eaters and some witches and sorcerers.
Beneath all this, however, lies something even darker as one branch of the Imperium is using the situation to clean up and get rid of one of its embarrassing mistakes. This piece was one of the most interesting of the story, although the plot is somewhat implausible at times. I had, for instance, some trouble in understanding why it was necessary to wipe out the Inquisitor and his retinue at the beginning of the book.
The Legienstrasse creature that this branch of the Imperium, and the Imperial Fists, once they have been brought into the secret, are all tracking is possibly one of the most interesting characters of the book. Another interesting character is Lady Syncella and her very special talents that allow her to be more than a match for any Space Marine in combat.
As you can expect, the war and fights are to the finish, and the price to pay for a victory of sorts is, as usual, a rather heavy one. This was a rather average Black Library Warhammer 40000 book: certainly no bad, given the genre, but not one of the brilliant ones either.