Gary is a small town Irishman with a love for all things historical and fantastical. He works as an English and History teacher at post-primary where he endeavours to instil and nurture a love for reading and writing in students. Tea is his weakness. Reading is his passion. His one goal in life is to buy a castle when he retires.

Saturnine (Siege of Terra #4) by Dan Abnett - Book Review 23, Jan

Saturnine is Warhammer at its finest. What Dan Abnett has achieved here is simply brilliant. 

The Horus Heresy holds a special place in my heart. I picked up the first book, Horus Rising by Dan Abnett, way back in 2008 and have been following the story ever since, reading most of the books and anthologies and listening to a fair share of the audio dramas. For the last decade, I have been looking forward to the Siege of Terra arc. Unfortunately, the first three books, although quite good, just did not live up to expectations for me. They left me feeling disappointed. Then Dan Abnett comes along with the fourth book, Saturnine, and blew my socks off. 

Saturnine is epic, I mean seriously epic, both in scale and ambition. The story unfolds through multiple viewpoints across four different theatres of war around the Imperial Palace. The traitor legions have surrounded the loyalists and, under the military genius of the Lord of Iron, Perturabo, are systematically tightening the noose. In response, Rogal Dorn devises a plan to sacrifice one of the four theatres in order to deliver a significant blow to the traitor forces and buy more time while they wait for reinforcements. 

Valour (The Faithful and the Fallen #2) by John Gwynne 09, Jan

A phenomenal book two that continues to remind me of what makes the fantasy genre so special.

In my review for the first book in The Faithful and the Fallen series, Malice, I said that it was an absolute tour-de-force epic fantasy tale that reminded me of why I fell in love with the genre in the first place. Well, I'm delighted to say that John Gwynne continues that trend with the sequel, Valour. 

The story picks up in the immediate aftermath of the first book's finale. Corban and his unlikely warband are on the run following the fall of Dun Carreg to the forces of the Black Sun and Queen Rhin. At the same time, a grieving Maquin must escape the tombs of Haldis after the ultimate betrayal and avenge the loss of his ward, Kastell. Valour hits the ground running from the get-go and does not relent for the remainder of its pages. 

A Song for No Man's Land (A Song for No Man's Land #1) by Andy Remic 29, Dec

A Song for No Man's Land is the first in Andy Remic's novella trilogy of the same name. I saw it recommended on social media and was captivated by its hauntingly beautiful cover. Like a grimdark version of Michael Morpurgo's Private Peaceful. This, combined with an excellent blurb had me excited to read it. I have always liked the idea of blending World War One with fantasy. Unfortunately, A Song for No Man's Land did not live up to my expectations. 

It follows Private Robert Jones, a Welshman who volunteers for the Great War in order to escape his debts back home. He is joined by Charlie Bainbridge, a jolly giant of a man with a knack for fighting and with whom Jones forms a strong bond of brotherhood. We accompany them through the trenches on the front line during the Somme and later Passchendaele. Remic does a fantastic job of capturing the atmosphere, from the terror and tension of going over the top (or 'bags') to the frantic chaotic nature of war to the eerie silence of no man's land in the aftermath.