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Eisenhorn Kindle Edition
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I'd only quibble that the pricing is kinda ridiculous. I was curious about 40kj after reading a bunch of the wiki and got this. At $50 it's a bit harder to just throw at a friend. At the $20 range that Ravenor goes for, yeah it's a no brainer. Seems a bit unfortunate because by all accounts this is one of the best introductions to the universe. It's a great fun novel generally- forget the 40k part.
That's the basis for what Gregor Eisenhorn fights against and it's a constant struggle for members of the Inquisition against Chaos as Chaos is able to corrupt so easily and members of the Inquisition are so frequently exposed to sources of Chaos. The Eisenhorn stories are part action adventure and part mystery and Abnett does a good job of pacing things and keeping the reader on their toes. The various stories in the book describe Eisenhorn's wide ranging adventures in his fight against Chaos and the temptations that he avoids and those that he falls prey to. Eisenhorn employs a large coterie of characters as part of his retinue so the book is not solely focused on him, though it tends to revolve around him.
The weak point of the book takes place in the last third as there is a time shift that disconnects the first two books from the last and leaves the reader feeling somewhat adrift as many of the familiarities of the first two books are swept away. The last book also loses some of the breakneck pacing of the first two and drags a bit. Other than that the Omnibus itself is overall quite entertaining. While Abnett has not really written any more Eisenhorn stories he continues in this vein in Ravenor. The Ravenor character is derived from these Eisenhorn stories and while not required it's probably best to read this set of stories before reading Ravenor.
I have returned again and again to this author, but sadly nothing has quite matched the scope and force of his tour de force, the Eisenhorn saga.
An epic you will remember. The characters and their fates and relationships will stay with you like few do. Years later I still remember key events vividly, and this marks the THIRD time I have frickin bought these particular stories, after twice having erroneously decided that saving weight and discarding non-essential personal belongings prior to making military moves around the world were more important than a good read.
That said, there are some gripes.
- Lack of occasional polish. Some endings feel rushed.
- Some fight scenes are a bit silly, at least to the ex-mercenary, deepsea diver military man that I am.
- He tried a little too hard to be hip, steampunk-ish and street-creddy in the scene where two of the main protagonists hit the slums.
- Though he generally does a good job of keeping the fantastically impossible to a minimum, there are exceptions, where you just kind of groan and wish he'd just pay attention to the laws of physics and facts of old age a bit more. Heroes can be heroes, and a certain amount of suspension of disbelief is necessary, but sometimes he goes too far.
- Hanging on to gravity-defying deadly raptor-like dinosaurs anyone?
- Leaping from crashing speeder-bikes that are described as waaaay too fast to really allow such a thing?
- The occasional unexpected introduction of a new central character that by all rights should at least have been mentioned before?
Otoh, you will remember some little inventions of Mr. Abnett long after you've finished reading the stories. The coded language, the long and superbly drawn-out battle of wills between one man and one daemon. The self-sacrifice and the pride. The rise of man and the fall of man.
A timeless classic that deserves the full treatment of the people who did the CGI Final Fantasy feature movie. Or the Peter Jackson treatment. Or a full set of Computer Game adaptations.
Bravo, Mr. Abnett. Bravo. Your courage in letting this body of work stand, without resurrecting the main character, is admirable. And rest assured, though you may lose the rights to that character, no-one will ever equal what you created.