Every two weeks we read a new book in the WH40k universe and discuss it on our podcast. We invite you to read along with us and join in on our conversation via comments, Twitter, email, or vox cast.
This episode we’re reading the next installment in the Dawn of Fire series, The Gate of Bones by Andy Clark. You can purchase on Amazon, Black Library, or Audible.
From the back of the book:
As the Indomitus Crusade begins, fleets of mighty warships leave Terra on a vital quest to stabilise Imperium Sanctus in the wake of the Great Rift. The returned primarch, Roboute Guilliman, leads a huge force towards the shrine world of Gathalamor, where stable warp routes will allow the flotilla to spread across the beleaguered southern half of the Imperium.
But grave tidings reach the Imperial Regent’s ears. Warnings from an ancient race, and eerie silence from the army tasked with holding Gathalamor until his arrival, lead Guilliman to send a reconnaissance mission to the world, at its head, Shield-Captain Achallor of the Adeptus Custodes.
Achallor discovers a world on the brink: a beaten Imperial force and sinister agents of Abaddon the Despoiler who have unearthed an ancient evil – a weapon that when harnessed not only threatens the primarch, but perhaps the holy Throne of Terra itself…
Questions to ponder after reading The Gate of Bones:
- Did you like the book?
- Which scenes stood out?
- The main theme of this book is faith. Whose faith did you understand most? Does their faith ultimately matter?
- How does Achallor and his team compare to the Custodes we’ve previously seen? Do you understand their world view?
- Were the antagonists effective? Did you understand their motives? Did you like any of them?
- Whose death hurt the most? Were you surprised by who survived?
- How did you feel about the intro and the last chapters? Did Guilliman’s and Fabian’s roles make sense? Were they necessary?
- What next? Is Yheng set up to be a major player now? Is Tenebrus’s weapon going to be the Big Bad of this series?
I thought it was a decent book. I didn’t think it was great, but I also didn’t hate it. I wouldn’t read it again and probably wouldn’t recommend it to anyone, but I don’t feel like it was a was a waste of my time.
I thought the action scenes were well written, but I didn’t particularly care about most of the characters (I have similar feelings about other books by Andy Clark that I’ve read).
My favorite character by far was the Iron Warriors tanker. Running over an Immolator with your tank doesn’t seem like a great idea, but I guess he did want to die.
I also liked the Custodes Tribune. Not that I liked the character, but I thought he was a good love-to-hate character. (I listened to the audiobook so I have no idea how to spell any of the character’s names.)
I enjoyed the Mordian Iron Guard being portrayed in a less cartoonish way.
In a weird way the interpersonal conflicts on the Imperial side were more realistic in that they weren’t intense hatreds that inevitably lead to violence, but rather friction between people trying to accomplish the same thing who have differences in strategy and personality. However, in an over-the-top setting like 40k maybe more mundane conflicts feel a bit boring? I’m not sure.
I liked the enormous weapon made of bones, even though it was a bit silly (maybe I liked it because it was silly?). My favorite scene was probably the infiltrators being chased through the tunnels by the smaller daemon engine while trying to make off with a prisoner.
[SPOILER]I thought the author was going to be bold about killing a bunch of the good guys near the end, but then that didn’t happen and only a couple died. That was disappointing. [/SPOILER]
I enjoyed Dawn of Fire: Avenging Son more, but I also haven’t read Dark Imperium so it wasn’t a re-tread for me.