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Red Fury: Blood Angels, No. 3 (Warhammer 40,000) Mass Market Paperback – August 26, 2008
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About the Author
James Swallow has written several books, including Star Trek: Terok Nor: Day of the Vipers and Seeds of Dissent (from Star Trek: Myriad Universes: Infinity's Prism); the Sundowners quartet of ‘steampunk’ science fiction Westerns (Ghost Town, Underworld, Iron Dragon and Showdown); the best-selling novelization of The Butterfly Effect; The Flight of the Eisenstein, Faith and Fire and Jade Dragon; the 2000AD tie-ins Eclipse, Blood Relative and Whiteout; Stargate Atlantis: Halcyon; and the Blood Angels duology Deus Encarmine and Deus Sanguinius.
In addition, Swallow’s short fiction has appeared in Inferno! and Stargate magazine, the anthologies Star Trek Voyager: Distant Shores, the Doctor Who Short Trips collections Dalek Empire and Destination Prague, Something Changed, Collected Works, What Price Victory and Silent Night.
His non-fiction includes Dark Eye: The Films of David Fincher and books on writing, genre television and animation; he has also written for Star Trek: Voyager, Doctor Who and Space 1889, along with several scripts for audio and videogames.
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Top customer reviews
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This book is beautiful, with fantastic flavor for all of the arriving Chapters, as well as the structures on the Blood Angels homeworld. the description of the coffin of Sanguinus, the chapel of the Red Grail. Character interactions are rife with strain, without being either over the top or seeming like petty whining. The storyline starts slowly, in runs at a breakneck pace from about 2/3 of the way through the book.
Probably my biggest criticism of Red Fury, and indeed the majority of recent 40k fiction, is the overarching drift. The Imperium fails, and fails, and fails some more. The concept of victory is now turning a slaughter into a mere disaster. Chaos wins and wins and wins, and while the Guard or the Marines gets a lieutenant here, and a commander there, there has not been a definitive Imperial victory since Sabbat Martyr, and not one before then to my memory. Everything crumbles, and only the bad guys seem to grow stronger at every conflict. GW better have another worldwide campaign soon so the good guys have a chance to turn the tide, because its going to be hard to reconcile a 2-4,532 record into a "narrow defeat" of the Imps.
If you have not read any of the previous books of this series, or possess a solid knowledge of Blood Angels "fluff," you'll have difficulty figuring out the characters, as there's very little exposition and what's there relies heavily on prior knowledge. However, as all the characters fit neatly into their stereotyped slots, this is only a problem if you're new to the 40K universe or want character development in your storylines. Many of the sub-plots are fragmentary unless you've read the other books - or plan to read the ones clearly planned for the future.
The villains - and their sometimes unwitting pawns - act with two-dimensional behavior, though not always in character. They act according to their base instincts or disobey orders as necessary to drive the plot forward. Some readers will find the instances where Space Marines act like characters from a soap opera particularly grating. Likewise, the villains frequently bypass security and safeguards with no reasonable explanation.
The top-level plot is fairly creative in concept, even if it disregards much of the established canon concerning Space Marine gene seed, and allows M. Swallow to include a wealth of information about the Blood Angels and their cousin chapters. This comes very close to making the book worthwhile all by itself to fluff fanatics. It includes a large number of Blood Angel Successor chapters, such as the Blood Drinkers, Angels Encarmine, Angels Sanguine, Angels Vermillion, Flesh Tearers, and many more. If you can forgive the departure from the established background and some forced plot vehicles, it's entertaining and ingenious.
The action writing is actually pretty good. It conveys a good sense of the immediacy and chaos of combat, even if some of its situations strain the limits of believability. Could a Sergeant succeed where a Chapter Master and several other heroes failed? The bolter fire of many Marines fails when a single shot from one of the main characters brings down the foe.
If you want plenty of action and lots of Blood Angels successor Chapters without worrying about things like character development or plot, then this is the book for you. However, if your suspension of disbelief requires sensible plot devices and logical character motivations, then you might want to pass. In short: if you enjoyed the first two books of the series, you'll like this one too, but if you're more discerning, then leave it alone.
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