Monday, April 30

Review: Know No Fear

     Duke has been asking me to write some reviews of Black Library books for a long time.  I've resisted the notion because of this simple fact.  Just because I like or dislike something that has been written why should that impact you?  It really shouldn't at all, and I'm the last one to tell you whether you will enjoy a book or not.  I also don't like giving away the best parts of books to someone who hasn't read it.  Whether I put up a 'Spoilers' alert or not is irrelevant.  You'll probably keep reading... right?... I do.

     On the other hand, I am a bit of a fanatic when it comes to 40K, WHFB, Necromunda, Comics, Forgeworld, and anything else that relates to books!  I haven't counted lately, but know I have over 300 books, countless other stuff (comics, GNs, codices, rulebooks..etc.) and every White Dwarf ever written.  This stuff goes back to when I was a teenager and Warhammer in it's current form didn't even exist!  The first White Dwarf's were completely dedicated to D&D, and yes, I played D&D back when you had to make up your own world.  Greyhawk was a big deal!  Anyway, I'm a Warhammer fanatic when it comes to the written word.

    So, I'm thinking that a 2 or 3 word review will be appropriate. Read It! or Don't Read It!  Well, that might work for you or me, but Duke has to fill apparently I have to go into more detail.


  In the latest of the Horus Heresy Books, number 19 at last count, you have the age-old Blue vs Red conflict brought to you by the superstar of  the Black Library:  Dan Abnett.  Yeah, Dan is back with another side-show showdown between the Horus allied Word Bearers vs the clueless Ultramarines of Ultramar!  By side-show, I mean that this another story that is occurring simultaneously or just after  the Isstvan system actions.  Like many of the recent HH books, it seeks to flesh out the story and account for the deeds of various Legions and Primarchs not directly involved with Isstvan or the reactions immediately following the Drop-site massacre.
   The Ultramarines under the command of their Primarch, Roboute Guilliman, have been ordered to muster with the XVII Legion 'Word Bearers' and to proceed to the Veridan System.  They are to destroy an Ork threat and to build a bond between their respective Legions.  A bond that simply doesn't exist, due to the Emperor's dispatch of the Ultramarines to castigate the Word Bearers years earlier in action on Monarchia..something that has festered within the XVII ever since.  The site for the muster is Calth, one of the Ultramar system worlds.  200,000 Legionnaires of the Ultramarines with all the accompanying support and the fleet needed to transport and protect them await the arrival of Lorgar and his host..
    Of course, unbeknown to the Ultramarines, Lorgar and his Legion have treachery planned.  The book is the story of that treachery and the actions that transpired.

     This is Dan's fourth book in the Horus Heresy series, putting him one behind Graham McNeill as the most prolific of the HH writers.  The two of them are probably most responsible for crafting the direction that the Heresy has taken and to many readers of Black Library books they are the most talented and popular.  Dan, of course, is also the writer of the 'Gaunt's Ghosts' series, which is the second most popular of the 40K series (behind the HH series now) and the series that made his 'bones,' so to speak.
     When you pick-up Know No Fear and read the first page (maybe the first sentence!) you'll instantly know it's Dan writing.  He has a definite style of his own, some love it and some hate it.  One thing that he is very good at, is depicting ship-to-ship actions and everything else involved in orbital warfare.  It's hard to write about 3-dimensional warfare without losing the reader, but Dan seems to have a knack for it.  That's important in Know No Fear, because a great deal of the action takes place in the orbital areas surrounding Calth.  Often, the various ship actions in WH40K books are briefly mentioned or just a side-show, but here they are fleshed out and well written.
     One of my biggest problems with 40K books, and Dan is included, used to be that fight scenes would literally take up pages and pages of hack and slash that rarely propelled the story just filled pages.  I'm happy to say that this isn't the case in this book and it seems to be disappearing throughout the Black Library roster.  The writers have certainly matured and the quality of writing is much better than it was years ago.  There are plenty of fight scenes in this book, but they don't overwhelm the story and make your eyes glaze over.  There are actually a couple scenes where you just go 'holy Emperor...did that just happen?'.
     As I stated earlier, I'm not going to give the story away in this review.  I do give this book a strong recommendation as a good read.  If you're an HH fan, then it's a given you're going to read it anyway.  I wasn't disappointed, unlike Deliverance Lost which I felt was the absolute worst of the HH books written so far, stick to Elves Mr. Thorpe..please!   Know No Fear isn't the best of the HH books, but it certainly isn't the worst.  One question though...

I just want to know who or what the hell is Oll?

Next Review:

     I love this series....


  1. I know I'm a little biased, but this was a great review... It did two things really well.
    1. It made me really want to read it (which has been hard for me lately)
    2. It didn't give away a bunch of spoilers and ruined plot lines.

    Great review, time to go read...

  2. I think oll was similar to john grammaticus from the legion novel. I don't remember specifics and even forgot he existed until he re-appeared in this one. If I remember right, and I probably don't, he was an agent for the cabal or some alien organization that wants to influence humanitys direction. Don't remember specifics, but that's the jist.

    1. Yeah..I think you're right on track. The guy just intrigues me, a very interesting character that I hope doesn't disappear into the mist. I just keep wondering if he'll show up at the final battle between Horus and the Emperor..perhaps in the guise of a Guardsman that becomes a legend?

  3. I loved the book. It took about 100 pages before i got nto it, but after that ot blew me away. I think its one of the better HH books. Some nice gruesome scenes that i didnt expect as i imagine BL books need to ve safe to read for the younger fans and some good oneliners. I was dissappointed by the lack of nsight Oll's arc gives and hope it will return in future books otherwise the added value of this arc is lost on me.

    I just finished void stalker today and loved it! Although i am a loyalist at heart, i love this night lord series and Think Aaron is, together with Dan, BL's best writer.