Monday, March 7, 2011

Book Review: Courage and Honour

Here comes the latest Graham McNiell Ultramarine book, Courage and Honour. Uriel and Pasanius have been returned to Macragge after their adventures on Salinas. The two have been tested for the taint of Chaos and have been found (more or less) innocent.Uriel is given back the command of the 4th Company and is sent back to the world of Pavonis due to a threat from the Tau Empire. But everything is not at easy as that. Although Uriel is back in command, the veteran sergeant that has been in command of the company in his absence seems a little reluctant to hand the power back to Uriel. I really liked this. It gave some depth of character to the Ultramarines in general. They are supposed to be tradition and strictly adhere to the Codex Astartes, and yet, this sergeant does not want to give up the company he has held together for the past few years. It shows that the Ultramarines are not the cookie cutter "smurfs" that ever one thinks they are.

One thing I really did not like about this book was its preachyness. In the opening chapters, the Ultramarines ambush a Tau pathfinder squad. They kill all but one of the Tau, and take the last one... wait for it... prisoner? Huh? Space Marines take prisoners? The hell?

From here there is this side story concerning one of the Arbiters from Nightbringer that concerns the torture of the Tau prisoner. How wrong it is, and what the Arbiter is finally forced to do because of it. This made absolutely no sense to me at all. In a galaxy where parents are encouraged to give up their own children if they show signs of psychic manifestation, where rouge witches are burned, where mutants are killed on sight, this Arbiter is worried that a filthy xenos is being treated harshly? I just don't understand this. It really feels like it is just a preachy, anti-war in the real world, plot, and I didn't like it.

Other than this, the book wasn't bad. It showed the Tau to be pretty kick ass (too bad they are not on the table top), let the Pavonis PDF shine a bit, and make Kroot out to be scary Mo-Fo's!

I would have liked to give this book a higher rating, but the torture plot just left a bad taste in my mouth. I give this book three Kroot buffets out of five.

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