Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Storm of Iron by Graham McNeill

Storm of Iron is not the best Black Library book. That honour has to go to Gordon Rennie’s Execution Hour. Storm of Iron is probably the next best though.

It’s about a siege on a fairly inhospitable planet, with the traitor space marines of the Iron Warriors legion attempting to take a fortress from the Imperial Guard.

The siege itself is fairly methodical and takes places as a series of short battles, which could all be represented using the tabletop game of Warhammer 40,000. This actually helps the book along, since frankly, if you’re not already familiar with the game and setting, you’re not reading Storm of Iron.

As armoured superhumans, the Iron Warriors are having a fairly easy time of taking the fortress piece by piece, but they are on a tight timetable, and none of the Iron Warriors captains know why. The rivalry between the three captains in entertaining. Honsou, the main point of view character for the Iron Warriors, is someone the reader can identify with, as he struggles to gain recognition in spite of his low status in the legion.

On the good side, various Imperial Guard officers step to the fore and are cut down one by one by the Iron Warriors. Imperial Guardsman Hawke, the lucky, isolated survivor of the initial attack, provides some light relief as he lugs himself around the hills that surround the fortress, becoming an improbable hero in the process.

I read this in one night, the story takes you from one point to another is a seamless fashion which is all to the good. This is pure pulp fiction, but as long as your are prepared to enjoy it for what it is, you’ll be fine.

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