Monday, May 20, 2013

The Emperor's Gift

The Emperor's Gift
Author: Aaron Demski-Bowden
Genre: Science Fiction | Warhammer 40k
Release Date: May 29th, 2012

This book is for:
Fans of the Warhammer 40k universe. Everyone who wanted to read about a more "human" version of Space Marines, well this book is definitely for you.

The Review:
The Emperor's Gift is an anomaly among Warhammer 40k novels. This is the first book I've read in the Black Library that does not feel like a typical W40k Space Marine book. It reeks of character-building, emotional play and devious plots, rather than the reiteration of cold hard data being relayed in written form and straightforward storytelling. It is different and yet at the same time refreshing. Aaron Dembski-Bowden managed to do the impossible; make the inhuman Space Marines become relatable and emotional (and not just that of the baser rage or righteous zealotry that we're used to seeing in W40K SM novels) beings that are just like your average (super)human, without any of the baser animal lusts.

The Emperor's Gift is the story behind the Grey Knights, the legendary and covert arm of the Inquisition and the sole Space Marine Chapter to consist of only Psykers. They are the elite tasked with the banishment of daemons when everyone else has failed. Forged from the gene-seed of the Undying Emperor, the term Emperor's Gift is quite literal. The story starts from the pursuit of a warp-ravaged Space Wolves vessel and continues to the First War of Armageddon, and the subsequent insurrection of that entire Chapter toward the Inquisition. The book raises some key talking points for fans of the series: at what point does one toe the line when faced with orders that contradict one's moral beliefs and loyalty. In the end the Space Wolves decide that loyalty and honor outweigh everything else, even the possible taint of Chaos as a result of their actions. Entire Chapters of Space Marines and fleets are mobilized against the Space Wolves who doggedly defend those who they previously fought alongside, and who the Inquisition would rather see purged than let live.

So what happens when a Grey Knights Grand Master clashes with the Space Wolves' Chapter Master? Read the book to find out.

Cover: 8
Characters: 7
Story: 8

Overall:  7.5/10 (3.5 Stars)