Friday, March 2, 2012

Book Review: Know no Fear

Right on the heels of Deliverance Lost, we have Know no Fear by Dan Abnett, and I was feeling so good about DL, that I knew KnF was going to be a great book, and boy was I right!

This is the story of how the Word Bearers try to destroy/cripple the Ultramarines so that they can't play a part in the siege of Terra. This is still the point of the Heresy where the bad guys know whats going on, but the good guys still have no clue.

At the beginning of the story, the Ultramarines and Word Bearers are joining together to go put down some filthy xenos culture. Everyone assumes that the pairing is so that the two legions can bury the hatchet for the smack-down the Emperor laid upon the Word Bears via the Ultramarines 40 years previous. Little did the Ultramarines know it would be a literal hatchet that was in-fact a power ax buried into someones face!

I was a bit worried at the beginning of the story because this story seemed to suffer from one of the major complaints that I've had with Dan Abnett in the past, too many threads. With this story there were too many pages devoted to too many people that really had very little impact on the story. There were a couple threads in particular that had only a few pages devoted to them in the beginning, and then just a passing mention at the end. I know why Mr. Abnett did it, he wanted to forge a connection with some people that turned out to be pivotal at the end of the story but to me, it made it difficult to follow all of the characters at the beginning, and made me scratch my head and say, "who were these guys again," at the end.

One of the side plots which will probably turn out to be very interesting, and I hope they devote more pages to is a bit of an update from Legion. While not a whole lot happened in this book, it really sets it up for (I hope) something in the future.

That out of the way, the rest of the story is magnificent! I was really interested to see what happened to Calth. I know from reading the Ultramarines series by Gav Thorpe that people are forced to live underground  on Calth because it is not exactly hospitable on the surface, but at the start of KnF, it is a very nice place, on its way to becoming on of the jewels of Ultramar!

This has leads to what has got to be one of the greatest sieres of events in any BL book. They way the Word Bearers start off their surprise attack is stunning, and Mr. Abnett does a jaw-dropping job of describing the aftermath. Best 50 pages ever written for 40k hands down!

It appears that the story changes the past fluff. If I recall correctly, in the old fluff, the rest of the Ultramarines come and break the siege of Calth, and drive the Word Bearers away, and that is not what happens here, and I've got to say, I like the way this one pans out. I especially liked the end and the epilogue.

I was tempted to downgrade this book because of, in my opinion, too many plots, but the middle and end of the book brings this story up to five plummeting Baneblades out of five!

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