Seeing how I shall very soon be painting the miniature of Fabius Bile, I thought it was about time I listened to the story. Many people have recommended it to me, so I got the book on Audible and listened to it while I was painting. Here are my thoughts:
The premise of the book is pretty simple. An old apprentice of Fabius Bile’s returns to him with a proposition to help another warband take a not-too-well defended Eldar Craftworld. Seeking new samples and some delicious spirit-stones, Bile agrees and chaos ensues on the way to do so. Add in somem Harlequins and you get a twisty, turvy plot that it a pleasure to read.
The characters within the novel are amazing. As with all chaos, none of them truly like one another. There is plenty of back-stabbing and intrege to go around, though some are more inclined to do so than others. The main protagonist, Oleander Ko, is a former member of the Emperor’s Children but his excesses are not so extreme as to become tiresome. He is witty, amusing and not above singing the odd song here and there. Tzimeskes – an Iron Warror with a preference for machinary – is perhaps the sassiest, mute character I have ever read about. Without uttering a word, he manages to give as good as he gets. That is a credit to the author’s characterisation and writing skills. There are other characters that deserve mention too: The Word Bearer Prisoner, the World Eater apothecary and Bile himself of course – all of them are brought to life well and are not carbon copies of one another either.
I want to give a special mention to the Kakaphonie (noise marines) too. The reminded me very much of the Raptors from the Night Lord trilogy. Lucoryphus and his band of nutters kept to themselves in much the same way, until they were needed to do something bonkers. The noise marines proved themselves every bit as insane – and useful – in the story and they were one of my favourite events. Butcher Bird – a gunship – comes a close second.
Some of the scenery within the book is delightfully well written. At one point, Bile and Co have to go to a market and the description allows the reader to picture that place perfectly. I want to go there – or at least make a diorama of sorts displaying it. The battle description is every bit as interesting. I didn’t find it tedious or too lengthy either as I have with some novels in the past. Every word did its job and did it well. There are some exceptionally well written metaphors within the pages of this book as well.
This tale is definitely worth reading, I thoroughly enjoyed the listen and I am eager to listen to the next part of the tale, if only to find out what wonderously disgusting things the Primogenitor does next!