BOOK REVIEW: Know No Fear by Dan Abnett

Posted on March 6, 2012

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review first published at awritergoesonajourney

The Blurb
Unaware of the wider Heresy and following the Warmaster’s increasingly cryptic orders, Roboute Guilliman returns to Ultramar to muster his Legion for war against the orks massing in the Veridian system. Without warning, their supposed allies in the Word Bearers Legion launch a devastating invasion of Calth, scattering the Ultramarines fleet and slaughtering all who stand in their way. This confirms the worst scenario Guilliman can imagine – Lorgar means to settle their bitter rivalry once and for all. As the traitors summon foul daemonic hosts and all the forces of Chaos, the Ultramarines are drawn into a grim and deadly struggle in which neither side can prevail.

The Review
The cover includes a quote from The Guardian, although it is almost lost in the cover artwork: ‘Dan Abnett is probably the best writer of dark military SF in the world.’ I have to agree. Abnett has become one of my ‘must read’ authors.

The Horus Heresy has been a real success for The Black Library. While this is the nineteenth in the series, that is not counting audio titles. Dan Abnett is definitely one reason for its success with four novels and an audio drama co-authored with another of The Black Library’s better authors, Graham McNeill.

What I particularly like about Dan Abnett his ability to tell a dark story but without becoming overly oppressive as can happen with other authors in this style. But his story telling is definitely still dark in nature. I felt desperation growing as I read this latest offering.

This novel returns once more to the early days of the Horus Heresy when word of the Warmaster’s turn was yet to spread very far. We see the treacherous Word Bearers at their demonic worst as they turn against an unsuspecting Ultramarines Legion.

I also liked the way this was structured, each sequence with its time mark, clearly placing it within the storyline. With so much happening, it could have been easy to get lost without those references.

Know No Fear is typical Abnett stuff – fast paced, impressive action sequences and a storyline that pulls you in.

At novel’s end I was left wondering a bit about one character, Oll Persson. I am a bit puzzled about just what he actually was and where it was that he was leading a small group of survivors to. Or is this just a leader to draw the reader in for the next novel? Or maybe I am just reading too much into things?

Definitely a must read for Horus Heresy fans.

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