Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Book Review: Gunheads

So I am going to start doing some book reviews, as often as I finish them (which is rather quite often, I assure you).

First one will be Steve Parker's Gunheads. This is one of the generic "Imperial Guard" novels, but I say is better than the rest. And for Parker's second novel, he has Improved upon the Vostroyan based Rebel Winter. I personally think he was more interested in this book and in its characters.

Before you pick up Gunheads though, I recommend getting a copy of Planetkill. In it is a short story entitled "Mercy Run". That is a prequel to the novel. Not neccesary, but it can't hurt. Plus Tales is a good read itself.

The novel is of a much more feasible sort than the others in the same series. Nothing quite as rediculous occurs, nothing quite as miraculous. In fact, the guard take a pounding in the book. And none of the main characters are the unstoppable forces other books make, they aren't the miracle makers. Pretty much fluff true to Guardsmen. It is just about honour, duty, grit and guts. In a nutshell, it is Cadians.

The basic plot is that Yarrick lost his mighty tank, the Fortress of Arrogance (like the one in the Apoc book) on the world of Golgotha, during a campaign against Thraka. So army group Exolon is sent to recovery it 40 years later, lead on by the Adeptus Mechanicus, who are really in it for their own mechinations. The story follows the Cadians grim tale as the are lead on by a senile glory hound in a desperate fight for survival hinged on the tanks of the 81st Armoured Regiment.

The novel mostly follows Sergeant Wulfe, the main character of Mercy Run. Other characters of note are Wulfe's rival, Corporal Lenck, the army group commander, General DeViers, the head Magos, and the Armoured Division's commander, Major General Bergen.

It is nice to see a very detailed piece of fluff, such as the fortress, become the hinge of a novel of unknown (untill now) regiments and characters. The only known character from the game that appears is Yarrick, and then mostly in name.

All in all I'd give it between 3.5-4 out of 5 Aquillas. Good fun read. Left open for a sequel, despite the death toll. Not a Guants Ghost's, Horus Heresy or Ultramarine novel, but better than alot of BL stuff. 

Final rating: 4 out of 5. Give it a read.