Thursday, August 05, 2010

Comes the Inquisitor

Sandy Mitchell: Scourge the Heretic (Black Library; 2008; ISBN 978-1-84416-512-4; cover by Clint Langley).

My latest read in the series of novels based on Games Workshop's long-running Warhammer 40,000 series of games (I still have yet to play the game, but I've bought a ton of the novels). My very informal survey of the books has them splitting into one of three threads: books about the Inquisitors, really big story arcs, and solo books about units featured in the game (very informal folks, I'm sure there are more ways to categorize the novels).

Scourge the Heretic (the first of—so far—a pair of novels) falls into the Inquisition thread. What makes it different from the one omnibus that I had read previously (Eisenhorn) and the one I am reading now is that the emphasis is less on the central Inquisitor than on the Inquisitor's staff of heavies and investigators. The team is sent on a mission to investigate some oddities at your typically ornate and Dickensian Imperial planet, ends up picking up some local help, and tugging at the various threads of the conspiracy in order to try and shake some things loose.

The book reads like an adventure set in a roleplaying game (maybe like this one?). That can be a good thing or a bad thing. Even the venerable Andre Norton found it hard to pull this off, but when it succeeds, you end up (much like any other media novel that passes its roots—John M. Ford's The Final Reflection, anyone?) with a book that is a dang fine read.

I'll have to read the sequel (Innocence Proves Nothing) to see whether this one passes the level of "just" a media book. I enjoyed it until the end, the battle that wraps up the book seemed a bit rushed and a bit neat. Otherwise, a fun read.

FTC Disclaimer: This paper book was purchased by me. Twice. The first time the dog ate it. I kid you not. The second time because the dog ate it before I finished reading it the first time.

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