Tuesday, 11 January 2011

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.

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Prospero Burns is a difficult book for me to review. You see i found it to be simultaneously one of the most disappointing Horus Heresy novels and one of the best. Contradictory? You betcha.

You see after reading A Thousand Sons i was eagerly awaiting the Wolves side of things, what their point of view of the Prospero campaign would be and with a title like Prospero Burns i figured that the next Dan Abnett masterpiece would be focused upon this key campaign. But in fact it's not. The campaign on Prospero is barely featured in the book at all, crammed into the last couple of chapters. So rather disappointing in that regard.

However it's actual content is a contender for the best Black Library novel written so far and certainly ranks up at the top of Dan's personal work. This is the definitive Space Wolf novel. Whether your a fan of the space puppies or not, this is a must read for any 40k player. It delves into beginnings of their culture, their traditions their personalities. It thoroughly fleshes out their character to the extent that it is simply no longer valid to just label the sons of Russ as 'Vikings...in....SPAAAACE!'.

Focusing on a human character, we get an outsiders view of the Wolves that slowly crosses into an insiders view. This exploration of the Wolves is coupled with a mystery about just why this character ended up on Fenris and why Russ and Magnus ended up at loggerheads. It also has the most delicious twist at the end which slams home the fact that the demise of the Thousand Sons truly was a tragedy for all concerned.

The writing is of a high standard, as is to be expected from a Dan Abnett novel, certainly no complaints in this regard. Like i said the only criticism i can level against the book is that it's not quite what GW are advertising it to be.

I don't envy Chris Wraight at all when it comes to 'The Battle of the Fang', he's got some pretty darn big power armoured boots to fill when writing the next Space Wolf orientated novel. 'Prospero Burns' is most definitely a must buy.

But be warned, there is still no answer to the "There are no wolves on Fenris" riddle.

***** out of *****

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