Monday, October 17, 2011

The Emperor's Will - Book Review

The Emperor's Will compiled by John Blanche
Inquisitors, assassins, astropaths, navigators – these and many other agents of the Imperium are celebrated in this glorious full-colour art book.
Packed with previously unseen illustrations from John Blanche and David Gallagher as well as a host of classic images, The Emperor’s Will provides an unparalleled glimpse into the inner workings of the Imperium of man.

Well folk's all I can say is I was pleasently suprised to have this book turn up nearly a month before it was due and in celebration of snagging my copy of Aurelian I thought I would share a little review of the book with you.
The book as you most likely know is not your standard Black Library book, this time it is a rather intriguing art compilation of new works, old works and of course some previously unseen works from both ages. Shown below are a selection of images from the Black Library site showing the types of work included:

As you can probably tell from the images shown on the site the work of John Blanche feature heavily, and as he is considered the father of GW art (and the guy compiling the book) that is understandable. There is also work from some other similar artists from the early period of GW art, but in addition to that as you will see in the following images the new artists have not been forgotten.

The book in my mind is pretty unique for not only a GW or BL book in general but also as a 40k art book for one simple reason, there are no Space Marines. That's right not a one! The book concentrates mainly on the extreme characters of the 41st millennium, with a strong leaning to the inquisition, and develops them. There are a number of familiar faces that pop up but for the most part the art work is of new individuals.

There is some artwork from the cover of the Black Library novels, the covers of the Shira Culpurnia novels for example, as well some work from the Inquistional codicies. There is a smattering of artwork showing characters from Forgeworld and other rule books (such as the Inquisitor book and the Deathwatch book) and all these differing styles and ideas really bring the book together with a nice feel that the 40k universe is as varied as the way in which it is presented.

So here are some more pics, I apologies for the quality but as they are only meant as sneak peeks and I'm recommending the book to you to buy I think its excusable:

As you can see there is certainly a wide range of differing styles and subject matter, but as I said there are one or two familiar faces:

I'm sure you'll agree though these two rogues definitely look better behind glass and on my wall of art:
So back to the matter in hand, the book! Would I recommend this to anyone? The answer to that is a resounding yes, the book is great for all 40k-ers, the artwork really does bring to life the rest of the universe and gives some awesome ideas for sculpts and conversions of the characters within, and I am in no doubt that we will see some from the more skilled sculptors soon. For me personally any 40k art book is a joy and this book doesn't disappoint, my only gripe is that none of the pictures are titled or explain what or who it is your looking at (or even who its by) and for me that is a big let down. The book could also have done with more words in general other then the brief introduction there are no meaningful pieces of text in the book. Unfortunately for me that stops this book getting the full five stars but it does warrant a respectable 4 out of 5 and a recommendation for you to pick up a copy if you like 40k art.

Available from:
The Emperor's Will compiled by John Blanche
Hardback • ISBN 9781849701136


Gotthammer said...

I got a copy at Games Day and overall it is great - but a few things bug me about it:

- The dude with the cut open face and the neck-mouth thing going on near the beginning of the book, before the Witch Hunter's cover piece. Seriously WTF is up with that?!

- Missed out Adrian Smith's excellent Inquisitor Peligia pic.

- Almost all the pictures of women are either all S&M heels, leather and studs or half naked (or both).
John Blanche can't really be held too accountable for this though, despite his contributions often being the most over the top, as there's not much for him to choose from. It was still a little disapointing as the Black Library is usually very good with that sort of thing (positively a bastion of progression compared to some sci-fi and fantasy).

- And speaking of, John Blanche has shaved off his beard! It's slightly surreal seeing his picture on the dust jacket sans facial hair.

Still, a really nice book, though I might glue the pages showing the guy with the Glasgow smile shut...

Millest said...

JB without a beard is just weird but i will say his arts definately changed since the Skullz promo art book, theres definately a BDSM theme through the book but for the most part it slips in to the background. There is also a very strong steampunk theme to some of them but again it just doesnt jump out.
the are is good but the book isnt as hot as it could be (take the Jes Goodwin book for example) and certainly isnt as jaw dropping as the adrian smith one but its good and does showcase some very good art.
my major wtf moment was the city scapes section, some are really good and detailed, other if you werent thinking or looking propery would just look like dirty pages, i know their meant to be atmospheric etc and show the "idea" of a city but their just too vague for me. i like things to look like what they are lol!
still its not bad and its nice to have new art!

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