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Posted October 25, 2002
I love the Games Workshop series of novel, but honestly this one did not live up to my standards. I love the Inquistion mythos, cultivated by Dan Abnett's Eisenhorn trilogy, but this fell short. The writing style was odd, the dialogue was ofthen jilted and unrealistic and the plot elements seemed rushed and random. THe end was utterly ridiculous, in my point of view. The book did reflect some interesting philosphical questions on the world of 40k. It was a mediocre read, for me at least. Those who like a more ambigous writing style rather then the more direct, concise style of Abnett, then you may enjoy it more then me.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 8, 2002
I first read this book (then called 'Inquisitor') about nine years ago, when I was 11. I was (and am) fascinated with the Games Workshop's numerous gaming products, so I thought I'd give it a try. I loved it at the time, and after many years, many re-readings, and hundreds of other novels, it remains one of my favorite speculative fiction novels ever. Many bizarre events occur in this novel, and it would be impossible to describe them all. It is set in the universe of Warhammer 40,000, probably the most successful science fiction wargame ever. It will particularly appeal to GW fans, but even those not familiar with the game should have no trouble reading it, as Ian Watson describes the setting in considerable detail. The protagonist, Jaq Draco, is an agent of the galaxy-spanning Human Imperium. It is his job to root out all who would oppose the Emperor, an unspeakably ancient and powerful being who is both head of the Imperial government and god of the Imperial religion. Draco is trained to be absolutely ruthless in the destruction of his enemies, even if he must kill millions or billions of innocent people to achieve his goals. His job, already enormously stressful, becomes even more difficult when he stumbles across the Hydra plot. This massive conspiracy has enormous plans for the human race-- but whose side are they really on? In order to answer this question, Draco and his several companions travel all over the galaxy, from a hideously mutated world at the heart of Chaos to the legendary, grossly-overpopulated homeworld of Ancient Terra. Along the way, Ian Watson manages to ask a surprising number of philosophical questions. In a time when humanity is surrounded by enemies and absolute evil is an everyday reality, is absolute tyranny justified? Can the zealous agent of such a tyranny rise above his station in life to become a true hero? In a society built upon intolerance and hate, is love even a possibility? Such questions are there for those who wish to consider them, but they are by no means the only aspect of the novel. The story is one of adventure on a massive scale, covering just about every aspect of speculative fiction. For science fiction fans, there are spaceships, alien beings, and truly fascinating worlds. For fantasy lovers, there are magical powers and arcane secrets galore. For horror buffs, there are bizarre cults, hideous demonic entities, and brutal witch hunts. This book works on every level. There are fascinating characters, terrific (and often terrifying) atmosphere, ethical conundra, and darn good adventure. Whether you're looking for post-modern morale ambiguity or just an enormously entertaining read, you can't go wrong with this one. NOTE:This is the first book in a trilogy, books 2 and 3 of which are 'Harlequin' and 'Chaos Child.' By year's end, all will be back in print.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.