Grey Knights: The Omnibus Paperback – May 5 2009
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About the Author
Ben Counter is fast becoming one of the Black Library’s most popular authors. An Ancient History graduate and avid miniature painter, he lives near Portsmouth, England.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The Grey Knights Omnibus collects the three Grey Knights novels Grey Knights, Dark Adeptus and Hammer of Daemons. The stories follow Justicar Alaric, a member of the special Grey Knights space marine chapter set in the futuristic and gothic Warhammer 40K series. A special branch of the space marines, the Grey Knights have psychic powers, more advanced armor and weapons and are some of the most powerful warriors available to humans in the grim futuristic setting. They specialize in hunting demons who threaten mankind, often the last line of defense against these powerful beings.
Grey Knights introduces the reader to Alaric and the Grey Knights chapter, delving some into their past and what their chapter is about. Alaric is sent on a mission to investigate the return of a demon that had plagued man a thousand years before. Alaric and his contingent are forced into a race against time to find the demon and battle its fodder, both other demons and humans alike, and keep him from returning from the warp to the real world. This is the strongest of the three books, filled with action and intrigue and never a dull moment.
Dark Adeptus revolves around Alaric being sent to a world that mysteriously reappears after centuries from the warp. Landing on the planet Alaric finds it to be infested with the forces of Chaos; the sworn enemy of mankind. This book has a totally different feel to it, with a more exotic environment and the sense that anything can happen at any time, and everyone must be watched. It is not as intriguing or battle heavy as the first novel, but still puts up a good showing.
The final book is Hammer of Daemons. In this Alaric and his men lose a battle and are captured, taken to the Chaos world in the Eye of Terror. Once there he is forced into gladiatorial combat and must devise a way to escape the hellish world. This novel is nothing like Dark Adeptus, so even though the setting on a Chaos planet is a main plot device that is one of the few things they have in common. Much like Grey Knights this novel is filled with action, the most of the three, and has some twists that you won't expect. I should also note there are not many Warhammer 40K novels that follow a path like this one.
Counter's writing is clear and concise, and he wastes no time in getting to his point. He manages to paint a vivid picture of the settings quickly and rarely do any point in these novels does the story drag. If he brings up something you don't know about don't worry; he'll get you all you need to know and you won't feel lost at all.
All in all the Grey Knights series was very good. Of the Warhammer 40K novels I have read Grey Knights is my favorite, and Hammer of Daemons is also near the top. Having all three books collected in one and at a lower price is well worth the buy. You won't regret picking this up, Warhammer 40K fan or not.
For those experienced in the Wh40k world, Grey Knights gives a glimpse into a world rarely covered, even within much of Games Workshop's canon - the inner planets of humanity's realms: Terra, Saturn, Mars. Grey Knights shows some of what occurs within the solar system.
The book is fairly well written, contains a decent amount of surprises, twists, and turns, and pits the Space Marines against foes usually only brushed against in other books.
While Ben Counter does a good job, there were many things that simply were not memorable enough to make the series truly noteworthy. Eisenhorn (A Warhammer 40,000 Omnibus) has etched itself into my memory, Ciaphas Cain: Hero of the Imperium worms his way in through absurdity, and Gaunt's Ghosts: The Founding (Gaunts Ghost) & Gaunt's Ghosts: The Saint keeps you wanting more.
That being said, while I would not have bought the books individually, together they are a bargain and well worth the purchase.
Ben thinks of Grey Knights how they're meant to be thought of - nearly god-like immortals who can individually take on entire armies. I know other writers have taken on this army and made them more in line with other Space Marines, but I really feel like the GK's were meant to be incredibly overpowered. I'm assuming anyone buying this book has played the tabletop - it's in line with their play style. Small units that are extremely powerful.
The first book, Gray Knights, blew me away. The action is non-stop and the twist that allows Alaric to stop the daemon made my jaw literally drop. But it is woven so subtly into the book that you don't realize how important it is until it smacks you in the face. Every once in a while, I go back and reread the reveal, just to relive the feeling of awe.
I did not like Dark Adeptus as well. It was good, but not as good as Gray Knights. Perhaps it was just me, but there seemed to be a lot more characters to have to keep track of (which I sometimes have a problem with, unless they are introduced slowly over time). The plot is more psychological thriller than action novel. This is not a bad thing, but it was not what I expected after reading Gray Knights. It also seemed more straight-forward, and the "great reveal" was obvious about halfway through.
Hammer of Daemons made up for the disappointment of Dark Adeptus, though it is not as good as Gray Knights. The book is more disjointed, almost a collection of vignettes more than a book. There was also a lack of suspense, because the reader already knows Alaric and the slaves escape. (Though the exact outcome of that was a surprise.)
That said, they take a bit of time to get into - a bit more than books from Abnett. Counter is a fine author, but the build up is slower than most would like and in Grey Knights the ending is a bit anti-climactic.