Thursday, June 13, 2013

Black Library Review: The Emperor's Gift as long as I've been involved with the Games-Workshop hobby I've always loved the books that the Black Library has put out.  Even after my first army, 2,000 points worth of Ultramarines, was destroyed in a house fire and I swore off the game (haha, see how long that lasted) I stayed up to date with the books.  It's safe to say that I've read 85% of all the books, Fantasy and 40k, that have been written.   That being said I'd like to do my first book review in what I hope will be many.  This weeks review is "The Emperor's Gift" by Aaron Dembski-Bowden!

 WARNING!  Book Review, Spoilers ahead!

Aaron Dembski-Bowden is better known for his books written from the Chaos perspective; the Night Lords trilogy (one of my favorite), The Betrayer, and The First Heretic.   However, he has written a spat of stand along Imperial books and The Emperor's Gift is the latest among them.

The Emperor's Gift will appeal not only to long time 40k fiction fans such as myself, but also to new comers to the universe.  Aaron manages to delve much deeper into the First War for Armageddon, when the daemon Primarch Angron invades the world and is only repelled through the combined arms of the Imperial Guard, the Space Wolves, and the Grey Knights.  The framing of this conflict and how the Knights were brought into it serves as the first "section" of this book while the war itself and the aftermath are the 2nd and 3rd sections. 

I know that some readers don't enjoy reading books written through the first person, but being a fan of Eisenhorn and Ravenor I came to appreciate how Aaron managed to write Gift this way. The entire book is written through the perspective of Hyperion, a relatively young Grey Knight  who's squad is acting under a Fenrisian Inquisitor at the beginning of the book. The way in which Aaron captures the interaction between brother Grey Knights, as well as how the Knights interact with outsiders (Inquisitor's included) is incredibly interesting. It gives a unique and fresh perspective on the only Chapter made up of all psykers.

Although book starts out a bit slow the action really starts to pick up during the war for Armageddon and the resulting conflict between the Inquisition and Space Wolves.  For anyone that doesn't know at the end of the 1st War for Armageddon the Inquisition declares the entire population and all Imperial Guard regiments as compromised by seeing the Knights as well as the monsters of the warp.  As the Space Wolves bled to protect these people they come face to face with the Inquisition and the resulting war between the two imperial factions sees significant losses on both sides.

Without going into too much detail on the book I have to say that overall I loved it.  In my opinion the character development, pacing, action, and overall story were top notch for me.   Also, the new light in which Aaron painted the Grey Knights was incredibly interesting.

I personally give it a 5/5.  It's become one of my favorite books from Black Library and if you haven't already you should definitely give it a shot!


  1. I can support that! The book is really awesome and as a Grey Knights player IMHO a must-read.

  2. This is the only ADB novel that I haven't read. I'm waiting for the mass market paperback until I pick it up.

  3. Hey Crimthaan,

    I was wondering, when the GK codex hit there was a bit of talk on the internets that ADB was a little frustrated with the fluff. It's said that he had to go back and change a few things so stories and abilities aligned. Do you have any sense of that in retrospect?

    Also, have you read Atlas Infernal? If so, how do the GK here compare to the GK there? If not, I can bring my copy if you want to read it.

  4. I could def. see where ADB may have had to change some things around, especially weaponry like staves, falshions, and swords. Abilities as well.

    I have not read Atlas Infernal, it's actually on my summer list though.!