Monday, July 12, 2010

Book Review: Eisenhorn


Hello readers. I hope everyone is enjoying the summer. I certainly am. She Who Must Be Obeyed and I are going on evening walks for exercise and because it's the time of year when the weather is great and the neighborhood kids are outside playing and friends and neighbors are BBQ'ing, walking dogs or simply enjoying themselves. A wise person once offered this advice: "Take a turtle for a walk."

I'm making a more concerted effort to do more reading this summer as well and cut down on the time I spend on the computer (non-work related) or staring at the TV screen. By the time I'm home from work, my mind needs the time to wind down and relax. Reading is very relaxing to me. I picked up Dan Abnett's Eisenhorn Omnibus on Memorial Day weekend for some reading material that I can chew on an hour or so an evening.

The Eisenhorn omnibus clockes in at 700+ pages and tells the story of Imperial Inquisitor Gregor Eisenhorn in three volumes, Xenos, Malleus and Hereticus. I chose the Eisenhorn series over the Gaunt's Ghost novels (I picked up an Ghost omnibus this weekend because I finished Eisenhorn), because I was intrigued by the story of an Inquisitor rooting out threats to Mankind on the various systems rather than on the battlefield.

I learned why Abnett is my favorite Black Library author. Abnett's descriptions leap off the pages of the book and set the tone for each dramatic encounter. I know an author is good if he can paint a picture in my mind; Abnett does that for me. I was really struck by his description of the Emperor's Children Chaos Space Marine who appears in the first volume. We all know Space Marines and their Traitor brethren are larger than life. They are demi-gods in their own right and can unleash unholy terror and bring death and destruction. Yet, we as gamers see them mostly as small 28mm plastic and metal play pieces to move on the board only to remove them when we fail to make an armor saving throw. Dan Abnett always brings his Space Marine characters to life with how he describes them. I think he spent a page or a page and a half describing the monster and its effect on Gregor and his companions. It's one of the highlights of the book for me.

The first volume is good and sets the stage for the second volume. Sadly, I think the third volume is very anti-climatic and deserved more pages. There was plenty more story that should have been told before the Final Battle. I know I'm done with a book when I'm skimming over paragraphs to get to the conclusion. Xenos and Malleus I did no skimming. Hereticus I was waiting for it to end. Maybe even Abnett got tired and wanted it to end too.

Despite Hereticus shortcomings, Eisenhorn Omnibus is a great book to pick up. It offers great insight into Inquisitors and the various orders. There are great characters who Gregor uses. Yes, I do say "uses". Gregor's not a pillar holy virtue. I like flawed characters and Gregor has many flaws. Eisenhorn is an outright moron at times in the book. I regret Abnett not exploring the Gregor-Bequin relationship. I think he missed a grand opportunity of star-crossed lover storytelling.

Like I mentioned earlier, I picked up another Abnett omnibus at the LGS. It's back to the battlefield with Gaunts Ghosts. I'm sure it'll be just as good as the Horus Heresey, Legion and the Eisenhorn Omnibus.

One last thing, if you live in Spain, or a fan of the team, congratulations on your World Cup 2010 victory. The Netherlands nearly mugged, grabbed, held and kicked way to a win, but Espana held true in their belief that is soccer is a beautiful game when players of talent, like what we saw on the field yesterday, are allowed to work their magic. Plus, Spain earned a few yellows of their own, so maybe skillfull ball movement backed up with physical play is the new template for soccer.

Thanks for stopping by.

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