Monday, July 28, 2008
One thing that can be said about the Black Library's novels is that they are of varying quality. Some of their authors are excellent, while others are just so-so. But Dan Abnett is one of GW's best authors, if not the best, so I thought I'd give him a chance and see what he could say about the Inquisition.
I was a little leery of picking up the Eisenhorn omnibus, mainly because of the background of the Inquisition that I have seen thus far. I was not interested in a novel about some hardliner Inquisitor who is surrounded by servo-skulls and cherubim and fanatical followers, doing nothing but screaming "Purge the heretic!" and "Exterminatus!" with spittle flying from his mouth, smacking down the plebian of the Imperium with his overblown self-righteouness. Fortunately, Abnett gives us nothing of the kind. Inquisitor Eisenhorn, while a devoted servant of the Emperor, comes off as a pragmatic detective, fully aware that while his badge of office can call down the might of the Imperium on his enemies, he still has some limitations and can get killed if he's not careful. He knows that he could just storm the bad guy's hideout with troops, but is savvy enough to know that the subtler approach is frequently more productive.
Eisenhorn's character matures as the story progresses. While the three novels are definitely linked adventure stories, they also form a detailed character study of Eisenhorn himself, and how he changes, in some ways drastically, throughout his career.
The story is fast paced and exciting, and never lost my interest. In fact, I would say without hesitation that Eisenhorn is by far the best Black Library novel I've read to date.