The Good the Bad and the Insulting
Reviewing books, films, video games and all things science fiction.
Saturday, 13 April 2013
Deathwatch (Book Review)
As with the last book review this is posted in full on
If you’ve been following The Founding Fields for a while you might know Black Library doesn’t have the best track record with Deathwatch focused novels. With the previous two having featured Razorbacks suddenly transforming into Land Raiders, multilasers everywhere, and vast leaps in logic which would leave an ork scratching its head; they were at best a bad joke. What’s more, they were frequently not about the Deathwatch per se so much as the battlefield they were on. Doing little to expand or detail the Ordo Xenos’ militant arm or represent them as elite spec ops strike teams.
This one however? Not only does it actually manage to focus on the Deathwatch and expand upon their methods, but it’s possibly one of the single best books focusing upon the difficulties of astartes from different origins working together.
Serving as a prequel to the short stories
, both also by Steve Parker,
focuses upon the formation of Talon Squad. As tempers fray, old chapter grudges arise and clashes occur as a result of egos, the space marines from a thousand varying origins must learn to work together. To overcome their natural opposition to one another, adapt to the methods the Deathwatch employ and fight as an effective combat unit. They must learn fast however, as a thousand worlds away the agents of the Inquisition are uncovering a new threat to humanity. One which will require the elite tactics, skills and warriors of the Deathwatch before it can be slain.
The book’s strongest element ultimately comes from how it was planned out, with it divided into three parts and two separate plots. One focusing upon the action of Inquisitorial agents as they spy upon their enemy even as the space marines are recruited. One focusing upon the Inquisition’s initial efforts to combat the threat as the space marines are retrained via Deathwatch methods. Then a final section after Talon is formed when they are deployed together for the first time. Despite an awkward opening which jumps from location to location with little establishment of what is really going on, once the book gets into the swing of things the story runs like clockwork.
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