Know No Fear

That’s the title of the latest Warhammer 40K book I’ve read. To be specific, it is the latest in the Horus Heresy series. I’ve read other Warhammer 40K books, but the Heresy is the line that interests me the most. The concept of fallen gods, betrayal, inner conflict and the downfall of an empire – that’s my kind of thing.

But a special mention for this book. Dan Abnett is a very good writer for one. But this was written unlike the others. It had a plethora of characters, spread around the setting, with various POVs strewn along with a countdown to the main event. It was told in a past tense early on too. Foreboding.

As the story is about a sudden and treacherous assault by the Word Bearers, this formula made a lot of sense.

But it reminded me a lot of the movie Tora Tora. This portrayed the attack on Pearl Harbour with multiple POVs.

I don’t know if it was a deliberate imitation or maybe just a nod and wink to that movie, but it certainly resounded with similarities. It worked very well. While the depth of betrayal is far deeper by the Word Bearers (being trusted brothers in arms) and the level of carnage is far worse (the planet’s surface is utterly ravaged), there is a strong parallel. Unexpected attack. Horror at the ruin. Anger created by both.

The method of telling the events is also a very effective one. Show the incident from all sides, with the reactions and actions of many to tell a full picture.

I wasn’t sure of it at first. The book that is. I tend to skim read 40K, wanting to find out how each tale affects the wider storyline. So an array of characters flew past me and I wasn’t sure whether it mattered or not. But when things got serious and these individuals had to gather together, it paid off. Not all left an imprint, yet it was enough. The ending wasn’t so great either, tailing off so as to lead into other stories, but I guess that had to be done. Still, a compelling story of betrayal, galactic war and corruption. Abnett’s writing, especially his descriptions of action and destruction on such titanic scales, is excellent.

This isn’t a review, although I would recommend the book to Warhammer or general scifi fans (the latter would have trouble understanding what’s at stake. I even read the First Heretic a bit to recapture the rivalry). I just wanted to give a nod to a book written a little different, written well, and how it reminded me of a movie that retold a real life version of the events in the book. If, to state again, on a lesser scale. Also, no demons.

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