Thursday, 15 October 2009

Cadian Blood by Aaron Dembski-Bowden

I was looking at the list of novels that the Black Library has released in the last few years and only a completely biased observer would say that there hasn’t been a significant improvement in quality of both the writing and artwork for the Black Library range of novels.

They also seem to be making a concentrated effort right now to widen their circle of authors which I suppose makes sense even if it’s solely from a business perspective. Now it must take a fair amount of guts to start writing for the Black Library as with 25 years of in game background to say some of the fans have a strict eye for detail is an understatement. Woe betide the author who gets a bit of established background or ‘fluff’ as a lot of people refer to it as wrong. Your name will be added to the great book of grudges which is kept well somewhere and your future books will be automatically dismissed as being rubbish without them being read. Okay that’s possibly a bit harsh but you get the idea.

However based on his first novel I don’t see this being the fate of Aaron Dembski-Bowden. Far from it, I would say he’s more likely to join the top pairing of Black Library authors and turn it into a trinity because for a first novel this is a fantastically written, gripping read.

It’s also amazing just how much he managed to cram into the novel. Not only do you have one of the most popular Imperial Guard regiments, the Cadian’s you also have Chaos cultists, Inquisitors, Spaceships, battles between spaceships, the Death guard, the Raven guard and lets not forget a planet full of Nurgle Plague zombies.

All together now Brainnnsssss.......
I see a lot of tabletop games being played based on this novel.

I also loved this novel for included Typhus one of my favourite ‘special characters’ from the Chaos Space Marine army. It won’t be a surprise for any long term readers of Black Library novels to find out that the ‘good guys’ win and the bad guys evil plot is stopped. Does Typhus get mad? Does he attempt to get even by killing everyone of the handful of surviving guardsmen? No he decides to sod off as he has better things to be doing as the herald of Nurgle. Which is possibly the most realistic handling of a special character in a Black Library novel. He’s not going to care about killing a handful of guardsmen as what would be the point? Plenty more where they came from.

Cadian Blood has been one of my most favourite reads from the Black Library in a while and I will certainly be picking up Aaron’s next book. If Black Library continues to improve like this I can’t wait to see the quality of the books they’ll be releasing in a couple of years time. Who knows? They might get so good they could even go ‘mainstream?”

Five out five for Cadian Blood.

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