AVERAGE REVIEW SCORE:
4 out of 5
The novelisation of the computer game of the same name, set in the gothic future of the Warhammer 40,000 (40K) series. This book introduces us to the Tau, a relatively new race in Games Workshop's gaming arena, who are technologically advanced and dedicated to their vision of the Greater Good, the tau'va. However, the main character of the story, Kais, finds that he does not fit into the scheme of the tau'va, plagued by doubts and fears stemming from the sense of failure instilled in him by his father.
So it goes that Kais, unable to function as the other Fire Warriors do, actually becomes the deadliest fighter in the Tau army, walking a fine line between control and the bloodlust insanity staining his soul. The Tau come into conflict with the Imperium of humanity and its Space Marines, but the two forces soon form an alliance to face the all-devouring power of Chaos.
Although I used to collect Space Marines years ago, this was the first 40K novel I ever read. I enjoyed the culture clash between the idealistic Tau, with their elegant technology, and the fanatical humans, whose technology and heirachy have become enmeshed with their religion. Generally this is an enjoyable read with a good mix of action and intrigue (although the action far outweighs the intrigue).
I do have three complaints about the book, which is why I've marked it down slightly. The first is universal to all Games Workshop fiction; the unnecesarily gory description; it doesn't help the story and you rapidly get irritated by brains spattering everywhere. The second is that throughout the book Spurrier introduces new characters, spends perhaps two pages giving their life story and then kills them off in the aforementioned brain spattering manner. This too gets old really quickly. Finally, Kais' transformation at the beginning from scared novice into one-Tau killing machine is too rapid. There's very little of him actually improving his skills; one minute he's useless, the next he's single-handedly winning the battle.
As I say though, in general terms this book is worth reading and I'm certain I'll be seeking out more Space Marine fiction soon.
4 out of 5