Warhammer 40,000: Faith and Fire by James Swallow. Book review

WARHAMMER 40,000: FAITH AND FIRE by James Swallow, Black Library, £7.99

Reviewed by Steve Dean

This is a re-release of the novel first published in 2006, presumably to coincide with the release of the follow up novel Hammer and Anvil.

A dangerous psychic, one Torris Vaun is being transported back to the planet Neva to stand trial for his crimes. Whilst en route, someone springs him and in the process kills Sister of Battle Lethe Catena. The Sisters of Battle are a fanatical order of female troops who specialise in hunting down witches and heretics. They are so zealous each is prepared, nay determined, to die doing her duty.

Anyway, Lethe’s commander Sister Miriya joins forces with Lethe’s sister (who is a sister and a Sister!) Verity to track down Vaun and visit a wicked revenge about his person. Strangely, the fugitive has gone to ground on Neva, the very planet he was being transported to. Suspecting something amiss, and with interference from the planetary governor LaHayn, the pair go in search of the escapee.

As it turns out, no one is innocent, with assassination attempts, political skullduggery and other nefarious shenanigans going on. There’s blood and guts aplenty here, with almost constant fighting, both physical and mental, lot’s of action, and plenty of running around and shouting, the usual stuff. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a readable book, it has a plot, plenty of extended peril, and some good characters to cheer for. The world itself is well drawn, a very religious place, Emperor worshippers to the max. The hardware and military stuff is also nicely done, with proper ranks and such.

As I have mentioned in previous reviews, the problem I have is that there is no reason for the characters to be female. They act like men, think like men, and might as well have been men. It’s a minor point in this case, don’t let it put you off the novel.