Tuesday, December 3, 2013

"Priests of Mars" by Graham McNeill

This book was lent to me by a good friend. He and I both really enjoy the Warhammer 40,000 universe and so he thought I would like it.

Summary: Thousands of years ago, Archmagos Telok built an Explorator fleet to cross the Halo Scar and bear witness to what lay beyond its destructive and obscuring gravity disruptions. No one has heard from him since, but recently a fragment was found. It came from a savior pod launched from Telok's flagship. Also, a message was received that he had found the "Breath of the Gods". These two discoveries were enough to inspire a down and out Archmagos Kotov to follow in Telok's path. After loosing prestige, Kotov knew he would need a big victory to come out on top, so he assembled his own fleet and set out to solve the mystery of Telok's disappearance and bring back the knowledge Telok failed to deliver.

In this book you follow a variety of people in the fleet, the mighty warriors of the Black Templar Space Marines, the mysterious geniuses of the tech-cult Adeptus Mechanicus, the towering Titan war-machines, the lowly bondsmen slaves of the engine room, and the rogue trader who found the fragment. You get see the lives of all these different people and watch them interact as they approach the Halo Scar, an enormous collection of deformed stars clustered together such that they distort gravity in violent and confusing ways. Trying to look at anything beyond the Halo Scar is nearly impossible and navigating through it is a near suicidal task, but the evidence that Telok may have done it and been rewarded is too much to ignore.

What I Liked: McNeill really lets you get to know all the characters in a way that you experience just how big of an adventure they have found themselves embarking on. It is easy to get invested in their story and become concerned that they make it through all their trials. 

What I Didn't Like: All the character development meant that the actual plot was a bit slow. I had assumed the book would include their entire journey, but about halfway through I realized there weren't enough pages to accomplish that. There are at least two sequels, which I intend to read, Lords of Mars being next. I would not be surprised if there end up being several more. 

Rating: I recommend this book for anyone who likes to imagine a futuristic universe well beyond anything we have experienced on Earth. I really do love the Warhammer 40k universe!

Also Read By This Author: None.

Reviewed By: Nick

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