13 August 2012

Book Review - Know No Fear

I'm kicking off my book reviews with a novel I finished over the weekend. This one has been out for a few months now, but I just got around to reading it.

And it blew me away.

"Know No Fear" by Dan Abnett is another installment in the New York Time's best selling series, The Horus Heresy.

The story begins on the planet Calth, a verdent, booming planet that is slated to become another regional capital in the five hundred worlds of the Ultramar Empire. Hundreds of thousands of Ultramarines, Army auxiliaries, and Mechanicum forces are preparing to deploy against a host of Orks at the order of the Warmaster, Horus Lupercal. As they prepare, the warriors of the XVII Legion, the Word Bearers, are translating in system. The Ultramarines' Primarch, Roboute Guilliman, and his warriors believe that they are going to attack the greenskins together with the Word Bearers.

But it's a trap. The Ultramarines still don't know that Horus has turned against the Emperor, and the Word Bearers are there to end the Ultramarines.

I'm not going to give away any spoilers. That would ruin the book, and do an injustice to such an amazing tale. There is little introduction to the book except a description of how the Ultramarines mark records of combat operations. Then, Dan Abnett throws you into the muster of the Ultramarines, the Army units, the Mechanicum, and the devious plots of the Word Bearers and their Primarch, Lorgar Aurelian. The book is written in the present tense, as in, "Roboute Guilliman picks his nose, and eats the booger he digs from that oriface." (That's not a quote from the book, just so you know.) "Know No Fear" is fast paced and keeps you on the edge of your seat. You are bodily dragged at a hundred miles an hour from beginning to end with no apology.

The action is intense. Scenes of battle are littered with close calls, close combat, and plenty of daemon fighting. What gets me is the emotions poured into the story. Some authors do poorly expressing the emotional states of their characters, especially in action/sci-fi. But Dan Abnett fills the book with the rage and anger dug from the depths of the Ultramarines, and especially Roboute Guilliman, at the treachery of their brothers. The mixed words, tones, and descriptions of body language and feelings brings these feelings to life for the reader. The loss of comrades, desperation, fear, and unbridled rage.

It took me four days to get through "Know No Fear" on my kindle. (Damnable work!) I was left satisfied at the amazing saga told, and craving much more of the same. A full five stars for "Know No Fear"!

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