Thursday, January 7, 2010

Warhammer 40K fiction

The other day at the LGS I saw a tables of Warhammer 40K being played. This brought back memories of 20 years ago, when I first ventured into table top wargaming with WH40K. Even more of a coincidence, I was at my friend's shop and saw the stacks of miniature cases containing my Ork army. My friends and I haven't played in years. We migrated to other games, Magic the Gathering being one such game, sucking up a bulk of our playing time and $$$.

While shopping for Christmas presents at Borders, I saw a series of WH40K novels and picked up Horus Rising by Dan Abnett. It's the first science fiction book I've bought in years.

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I read the book in a few days, when time allowed.

I admit I had a bias against fiction based on popular games. My opinion was colored by the volume of work I saw at bookstores. I thought the authors were hacks and just churning out product while the popularity of the game was at its height. This view changed when Cook lent me a copy of a Battletech book. I forget the name now, but it was good and I went out and bought my own copy.

Dan Abnett is not a hack and a very good author. His descriptions of large scale battles and up-close-and-personal fights are excellent. He paints a dark and vivid picture of combat: chaotic, harrowing, deadly.

Yet, what drew me into the pages of Horus Rising are the characters themselves. When you look at a Space Marine, it's a giant of a man, encased in armor and wielding weapons that level buildings. Yet, Abnett's characters are still human with a wide variety of emotions.

Garviel Loken is the main character. The Emperor is uniting mankind in a Great Crusade with The Truth. Worlds are brought into "compliance" and into the Light of the Truth. The Truth will Set You Free. Yet, Garviel is confronted with events that make him question the Truth. His journey lays the foundation for the rest of the Horus Heresy series of books.

If you like military fiction or military science fiction, I highly recommend this book.

I bought Legion, another book in the Heresy series by Abnett and look forward to opening its pages.

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