Thursday, April 9, 2009
Deacon over at the Drunk Dwarves site recently reviewed Dan Abnett's book, Eisenhorn. Since I'm a big fan of that blog (and have been for a while) I will follow suit and do the same. I've been meaning to for some time, having read the book about six months back, but my lazybones couldn't get cracking for some reason. Having recently finished Horus Rising too, I can give some contrasts.
Of the two, Eisenhorn is far better, it's not fair to say really, since it's really an omnibus packed with the original trilogy of novels, as well as some great, interconnecting short stories in between them, but I liked the overall style of this one more. Horus Rising was good, mind you, but a totally different animal.
I was kicking around the idea of doing a Chaos Space Marine army, and in the planning stages was looking at painting up, conservatively, 20-30 troopers. Well in book one of Eisenhorn they encounter just ONE. A single Chaos Space Marine is a nightmare incarnate, driving mere mortals insane just by his presence, whole squads of Imperial Guard perished in combat against him. The Eisenhorn books do for the 40,000 universe what no one else has to date, and that's expand in ways I never thought possible...and I'm pretty solid on my geek 40k knowledge. He takes you from planet to planet, looks at the ins and outs of life in the Imperium on a much more personal scale and shows us what transpires on the other side of the usual "war torn future" curtain that has become 40k's staple for so long.
Eisenhorn is heavy on the creepy Lovecraftian feel, action sci-fi, a little bit of horror, and some some pulpy detective mystery tales thrown in for good measure. It follows Inquisitor Eisenhorn across the scope of a couple of hundred years of his career, across systems, from his beginning and throughout his evolution. Abnett does an admirable job of character development. He also goes into great detail about the men and women that make up the all-important retinue of the Inquisitor, and just when you get attached to one character, they end up dead. That's okay, because new inductees are always popping up. Life is cheap and fast in the 40k 'verse. This is a well-written trilogy of novels that reads fast. It delivers on all the high points, and is skimpy (if at all) on the low. You don't have to be a mega-40k geek to enjoy it either, but having some previous knowledge to use as points of reference wouldn't hurt. I enjoyed it thoroughly.
This book also really inspires one to go jump headlong into a full-throttle Dark Heresy campaign too. I would go as far to say it'd be required reading to all Dark Heresy players and GMs.