Top positive review
Trench warfare, entrenchment of ideology, battlefield heros
on April 25, 2004
Like Necropolis, Dan Abnett introduces us to the society of the host planet where the story takes place. We meet a worn veteran of the planet's decades-long war traveling to the local capitol. Through personal observations and reflections of this character, we learn about the history and mind set of the locals, which we know will play prevalently in the unfolding of the plot. Once again, the story truly begins once Imperial Forces arrive from orbit. From there it's an ongoing illustration of the entrenchment of military doctrine going against all attempts to evolve, resulting in stalemate upon the battlefield and nearly contributing to the victory of Chaos forces secretly bolstering the strength and tactics of the local enemies. Once again, Dan Abnett weaves a tale composed of numerous individual experiences where human beings overcome or are overwhelmed by adverse circumstances, emerging from the receding tide as heroes (martyred or surviving as the case may be) or tragic examples of human failings. There is little mention or description of Chaos in this story, rather it's solely about individuals and how they deal with the futility of their situations. It is a collective account of perserverence. There is a segment in the story where Gaunt is able to get half of his regiment taken off the brutal front lines and assigned to some "lighter" duty geared more towards their light infantry skills. In his mind, it is a glass half full - to be able to save at least half of his troops from the mindless butchery of the trenches. There are numerous other character-driven episodes in the book that will add to your appreciation of the story. I could go on, but I will complete this review by saying, that no matter what kind of subject matter you prefer in a novel, you will not be disappointed by this.