Space Wolf: The First Omnibus Paperback – Nov 12 2008
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About the Author
William King was born in Stranraer, Scotland, in 1959. His short stories have appeared in The Year¿s Best SF, Zenith, White Dwarf and Interzone. He is the author of the much-loved Gotrek & Felix adventures and the Space Wolf novels. He currently lives in Prague.
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Top Customer Reviews
And maybe therein lies the problem. Maybe I was looking for the same type of story here in the Warhammer 40k universe. The problem is the 40k universe id a dark, depressing place. There are enemies at every turn and the society is kill or be killed.
This Omnibus collects three novels written by William King. They follow the life of the main character and his career in the Space Wolves.
The Space Wolves are elite warriors in this futuristc society. They live a lonely "elongated" life of battle, battle and more battle. Their only reward is alcohol and more battle...
I think King does an admirable job with what little he is given to work with. But there is the problem. King seemed to have more free reign in his fantasy series. Here we seem to get the same thing over and over as the main character climbs the military ranks within the wolves. Some might love it (Warhammer 40k gamers)... I did not... I have read 2.33 books in this 3 book omnibus read.
The book still sits on my nightstand and hasn't been open in weeks. The Wolves still howl to me but are "unfortunately" too easily ignored...
3 howls outta 5
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The first book of this omnibus edition, Space Wolf (Warhammer 40,000: Space Wolf), chronicles the rise of Ragnar. From a young member of a small islander tribe of Fenris to the glory of an ultimate warrior of the Imperium, this is a tale of growing and learning. Because Ragnar is devoid of any knowledge about the universe and proceeds to learn and observe, this book serves as an excellent introductory book to the WH40K world. Principally, this first book serves as an introduction to Ragnar and the Space Wolves, and nothing much more. Almost like a primer for the next books in the series.
The second book, Ragnar's Claw (Space Wolves), tells of Ragnar's first adventure off-world of Fenris. He and his claw are sent to assist an inquisitor on a mission to collect an ancient artifact and save a hive city from a deadly plague. Their mission takes them through vast distances to fight orks, genestealers, and daemons in a multitude of different environments. The character of Ragnar is further developed, with him being critically wounded only to be revived with a new fear of mortality. There is an undercurrent of uneasiness throughout the book that is only explained in the last couple of chapters as the heroes discover the true puppeteer of their mission.
The third book of the trilogy, Grey Hunter (Space Wolves), is my personal favorite. It has a much more epic feel with a heavy involvement by many Imperial forces, including a battalion of Titans. The planet of Garm, an industrial world that has special ties to the Space Wolves and houses a Shrine to Russ, has entered a civil war in which the forces of Chaos seem on the verge or bringing about the resurrection of the Thousand Sons Chaos Marines. Nearly the whole Space Wolf chapter is mobilized for an immense invasion of the shrine world -where they find great adversity. The action and suspense of this final novel is the most intense of the three and caps off this omnibus edition in grand fashion.
The fighting scenes and descriptions of the Space Wolf Space Marines are excellent, and as Ragnar discovers the vastness of the Imperium the reader develops a better understanding too. Perhaps the best aspect of this book is the sheer epic feel. The multitude of enemies Ragnar encounters and the vast spaces he travels make this stand out as an excellent resource for those wishing to learn more about the WH40K world. The only complaints I have with these stories arise from the writing of King. He tends to over-use descriptive words and phrases, creating a very repetitive feel to some of the scenes. Overall, a must have for any WH40K fan and highly recommended for any fan of Sci-Fi.
With all that said, I initially bought the Space Wolf Omni just to add to my collection. I WAS BLOWN AWAY at the fantastic depth of story that William King has crafted surrounding the history of Ragnar Blackmane. As a lifelong Fantasy/Sci-Fi reader and RPG veteran, this book was 'crack' to my addiction!! Page-turning through all three novels, Bill King delivers a compelling story with an easy sense of humor.
Dan Abnett shows us one aspect of life in the 40K Universe in the two Inquisitor trilogies. Abnett shows us another aspect in the Gaunt's Ghost series. Bill King adds to these works as only a Master can. As an American reader I often have to filter out the inherently British euphemisms, cultural flavors, etc. that Dan Abnett delivers in every novel. William King, despite being a Scot, delivers (IMHO) a nearly ethnically neutral series of books and that (to me) allows me to suspend disbelief just that little bit more.
Fans of 40K should consider the Space Wolf Omnibus as a MUST HAVE. I would actually recommend to ANY new 40K reader that they start with the Space Wolf series as Bill King delivers a 'from the ground-up' experience that both educates new readers and provides compelling stroy for us 40K veterans!!
What makes Space Wolf different from the other Space Marine omnibuses I've read (Soul Drinkers and Ultramarines Omnibus, both of which are essential reads for all 40k fans) is the fact main characters aren't all-powerful heroes at the beginning of the story. These three novels aren't so much about heroic deeds and fast-paced action, as they are about one marine's - literal and metaphorical - coming-of-age.
The majority of the first book depicts Ragnar's life as it was before he was inducted into the Space Wolves. It gives us an insight into Ragnar's own mind, as well as life on Fenris in general. It then proceeds to show us the induction rituals of the Space Wolves; how they are chosen, how they train, what they eat, how they cope with the loss of their humanity, and the final tests they need to pass before they can truly join the ranks of Adeptus Astartes. In this way, it's also a story of a primitive savage coming in contact with high technology and discovering a world vastly different from his own. The second book continues in a similar fashion, only now it explores Ragnar's wonder at seeing new worlds, meeting all sorts of people he never could've encountered on his home planet, and getting used to the fact that despite his improved physique and nigh-impenetrable armor he's still far from invincible. The third book deals with Ragnar's promotion to a Blood Claw leader, his struggle to come to terms with his newfound responsibilities, and his interaction with his superiors.
The writing style is rudimentary. William King tends to over-explain, often pointing out the obvious, or stating things we already know. Weird descriptions and comparisons are plentiful. Once again, Black Library proves they don't proofread the novels they publish. There are typos, grammatical errors, and missing words aplenty. A shame, since most 40k books would be so much better if they could only receive proper editorial attention.
Overall, Space Wolf Omnibus is a good read. It's fast-paced, packed with action sequences, has a lot of character development for a Black Library novel, and does a fine job of capturing the morbid atmosphere of Warhammer 40 000. It's also a great marketing device. I must admit that, after reading these three books, I have a desire to collect my own space wolf army and to have Ragnar Blackmane lead it. With the current Space Wolf codex, this would actually be possible. Here's to hoping Games Workshop decides to make other Black Library characters - such as Uriel Ventris and Sarpedon - into playable characters someday.
Mr. King's writing style seems based on the idea that the key to writing a solid book is to fill as many pages as possible with the same repetitious diatribe over and over until you have padded the page count to an acceptable degree. It is disappointing to see so lackluster a style from the Black Library author given the quality of work being done by other authors.
Even the most die-hard 40K fans will want to pass on this one. It is simply too tiresome and mundanely written to warrant the time and attention. Especially given that are so many masterfully written 40K books out there.