Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Book Review: Execution Hour

So for my birthday last year my wife bought me all of the available Print on Demand books from the Black Library. It has taken me a while (like nine months) but I have finally got to this one.

The Gothic War book, which is made up of the books Execution Hour and Shadowpoint are like many of the print on demand books in that they are old and out of print. Unlike some of the old Black Library books, these hold up pretty well as the years have past (at least Exection Hour has). There are no Landraiders that have Dreadnaught carrying capacity (I'm looking at you Crusade for Armageddon). I think this mainly has to do with the fact that it is mainly fleet-based combat, and not a single Space Marine in the book.

It starts out with a couple of short stories that don't really have much to do with the main plot line other than give us an antagonist and a bit of foreshadowing. We meet Leoten Semper, the captain of one of Battlefleet Gothics ships, the Lord Solar Macharius. In the first couple of stories he seems newly appointed, but by the main story, it seems as if either quite a bit of time has passed (I'm not sure how long the Gothic War lasted) or that just the pressure of fighting against during the 12th Black Crusade has forged the crew into a tight knit family.

As we get into the main story, Abbadon is using his new super weapon, the Planet Killer to, well, kill planets pretty indescriminatly throughout the Gothic sector. He now sets his sights on Belatis and heads off in that direction. Astropaths on the soon-to-be doomed world feel the disturbance in the force... er warp and this alerts the Imperium and they start to evacuate the planet and the Macharius is one of the ships sent to protect the evacuation fleet.

Overall this was a very enjoyable book. It is nice to read something that isn't just Astartes or Imperial Guard. The space combat, while not exactly realistic, was fun and it just seemed to be a breath of fresh air. The author did a good job creating some pretty memorable characters in the form of the Flag Lieutenant Ulanti, Commisar Kyogen, and Petty Officer Borusa aboard the Macharius.

There were a few things I didn't like so much. In the first story, we see the Macharius fight a Chaos ship that will eventually cause the Macharius to be targeted for destruction. In the second story, we see some of the "long-game" that Chaos is willing to go to to destroy their enemies, and then in the main story, after a lot of foreshadowing, it just sort of fell flat.

Other than that, I really enjoyed this book. I am really looking forward to the next book as I believe it goes into some detail about how Abbadon captures two of the Blackstone fortresses in the Gothic sector. I give it three Dauntless class cruisers out of five.


  1. I am so glad the Black Library brought out the Print on Demand books. Execution Hour is the better book of the two.

  2. aww you could have waited until I was done with the other. Now I'm worried about reading it.

    I'm a little disappointed in it so far because I have seen very little of the Macharius