Sunday, May 08, 2011

Prospero Burns - Book Review

Prospero Burns by Dan Abnett
The Emperor is enraged. Primarch Magnus the Red of the Thousand Sons Legion has made a terrible mistake that endangers the very safety of Terra. With no other choice, the Emperor charges Leman Russ, Primarch of the Space Wolves, with the apprehension of his brother from the Thousand Sons home world of Prospero. This planet of sorcerers will not be easy to overcome, but Russ and his Space Wolves are not easily deterred. With wrath in his heart, Russ is determined to bring Magnus to justice and bring about the fall of Prospero.
Once again Abnett pulls off another amazing novel. This one is great in the way the reader's persistence in reading through the first quarter of the novel is slowly rewarded with the growing revelations. You trudge through a few chapters of background and history but then wham your hit with some awesome information on the true history of the Horus Heresy, then this is once more essential reading.

The book follows Kasper Hawser from his arrival on Fenris, for reasons that he himself does not understand until the end of the title, through to the attack on Prospero and the purging of the Thousand Sons. This all goes on whilst jumping through his own personal history and experiences which themselves shed light on the origins of his journey and his purpose, in particular the way in which he has been manipulated.

The book also sheds more light on the origins and growth of the forces we now know as Chaos and it's/their presence on Terra itself throughout human history. I also like the way a little bit of extra information on the Unification Wars is also provided, and the novel covers periods of time right at the end of them so we get an idea of how difficult things were and how dangerous earth was. It also turns out that what the Emperor defined as the end of the wars of Unification was not the "end".

For me the major highlights include the until now unknown presence of more than the Space Wolves Primarch at the Council of Nikae. It also shows what really pushed the Emperor into ruling against the Thousand Sons and how they were more than just mankind’s own worst enemy, they became their own. Personally the way in which this course of action was dealt with was very smooth and certainly held expand on the information we had already, trust me you don't know the truth until you read this.

The Wolves themselves, The Rout as they refer to themselves, are given more depth and character than in all the Space Wolves books published so far and readers are treated to more background on the origins of the Space Marines. There are also more tantalising hints, that began in First Heretic, that two Chapters have been destroyed previously. The nature of the Wolves whilst externally barbaric soon shows to be one of sophistication and honour and show they are much more than meets the eye, but ultimately though the Rout serve one purpose; The Executioners.
One thing that stands out for me is the way the book is structured, the book as said is slow to start but gathers pace and depth as it progresses, this is really like the characters development as well, as Kasper progresses through he is more and more accepted and more is revealed. To pull this trick of writing off is tricky but well worth it and Dan Abnett does it in style. The prose, the suspense and the intrigue all work together beautifully to create not just a fan novel but a true piece of literature.

The novel is full of twist, turns, surprises and ends, even once the book reaches its inevitable conclusion, two more surprises await the reader, and a long popular Space Wolf Dreadnaught character makes an appearance in his mortal form. This novel is everything you would expect from Abnett and more. A good start to helping figure out how the millions of pieces of this massive story start to fall into place, and a solid addition to the collection. This is a full 5 stars for me and if I could I would present an Iron Halo too.
Prospero Burns by Dan Abnett
Paperback • ISBN 9781844167760

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