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.
For this episode, we’re reading Steel Tread by Andy Clark. You can purchase it on Amazon, Black Library, or Audible.
From the back of the book:
On the war-torn world of Croatoas, the armies of the Astra Militarum do battle with the twisted servants of the Ruinous Powers. Against the backdrop of this increasingly desperate conflict, tanker Hadeya Etsul finds herself consolidated into a Cadian regiment, and placed in command of the Leman Russ Demolisher Steel Tread. Haunted by nightmares, surrounded by a dysfunctional crew, and striving to find her place amidst a proud and insular regiment with a culture so different from her own, Etsul must guide her crew to victory. But, as her regiment rolls out beneath the poisonous light of the Great Rift to join a death-or-glory offensive, the crew of Steel Tread are about to face the fight of their lives. If they cannot learn to work as one, how can they hope to survive?
Questions to ponder after reading Steel Tread:
- Did you like the book?
- What parts stood out?
- Life in the guard! How was this book in terms of recruitment? Is the heavy infantry better or worse than foot soldiers?
- How was Etsul as a commander? Was she effective? Did like like her story?
- Did you like the crew dynamic? Were they a good crew?
- The villain had little to no screen time. Did that work for you? Did they make sense?
- What did you think of Vaslav’s and Etsul’s musing on Cadia? Does Cadia stand?
I liked the book. I think Andy Clark writes action well.
I think the book had a good opening. I also liked the killer fog coming out of the corpse piles. Most of the 40k books I’ve read recently have had a ton of characters and many chapters written from different viewpoints. That’s not a bad thing, but it felt kind of refreshing to have a story like this that was more confined.
I thought Etsul seemed like a good commander. She wasn’t able to get the crew working together quickly, but that seemed more believable since they were so dysfunctional to begin with. I actually liked that she screwed up a bit near the end otherwise she might have been a little too perfect.
I liked the idea of having a crew of talented individuals but that were going through serious interpersonal conflicts was interesting. I’m not sure if I’m a fan of it being most of the book, but I also don’t know if it could be reduced without it becoming a completely different story.
I didn’t mind that the villains didn’t get as much screen time and there were no parts from their perspective.
It was interesting to get the viewpoint of non-Cadians being consolidated into a Cadian regiment. I’ve read several Guard books recently which are from the Cadian perspective, and they have kind of an opposite vibe with Cadians being in the minority and many characters badmouthing them for not being able to defend their own planet.
I was somewhat disappointed in the ending *major spoiler follows*
They set up several heroic last-stands, and I was worried that everyone was going to die. When not just one group but everyone miraculously survived it felt like it kind of cheapened the end.