Reviewed by Steve Dean
The Brimlock Eleventh Imperial Guard have been through the wars, quite literally. They are an amalgamation of the survivors of other regiments, lumped together to fight one more battle. They are sent to the planet Voor, and are told if they can secure the planet, they can have it for themselves. Only two things stand in their way of final retirement and a life of peace; a dirty great Rok, (ork spaceship thing) filled with orks, and the people who already live there. The natives are friendly at first, but soon realise that once the Imperial troops are here, they are going to stay.
Despite the action, and there is plenty of it, this is a book about people. All of them are war-damaged in some way, some just with strange habits that help them through, others totally bonkers, and others who don’t know or care what’s going on, for various reasons. But all of them are well thought out and imagined, each an individual not just touched by battle but severely beaten.
The action itself is also well done, the set pieces descriptive but never glorifying war or its aftermath, despite the title. It has all the things you would expect from a WH book, but is ironically more of an anti-war story.
Overall then, an intelligent read with a moral message, that still manages to be an action-filled war story with some great characters. Definitely one to put on the ‘read again’ pile.