Warhammer 40k – Path of the Outcast by Gav Thorpe. Book review

Warhammer 40k – Path of the Outcast by Gav Thorpe, The Black Library, P/B, 408pp, £7.99

Reviewed by Steve Dean

Aradryan is an Eldar, an alien space elf, if you will. Aradryan is at something of a loose end, a metaphorical crossroads in his cosmic existence. So, he gets laid, takes some intoxicants and goes to a statue unveiling. This covers the first 100 pages. No, you didn’t read that wrong, the first quarter of the book is taken up with the hero mooching around. Next, when he finely stops feeling sorry for himself, he goes off to war, becoming what is essentially a sniper. He’s pretty much an observer for the next 50% of the book, watching other people fight, always on the edge of the action. Which means the reader has to do the same of course. When our space elf finally gets stuck in, he helps slaughter hundreds of innocent humans. Not sure about you, but the murdering of innocents in large quantities is not something I look for in my heroes. Finally, we get some political shenanigans with assorted space trash and an ending.

This a professionally printed and published book, so no problems with presentation, spelling, typos and all that, but the story is a different matter. I know the saying about judging books by their covers, etc. If you bought a book which had just won a major literary prize you could expect a dull character study of what it means to be human. But when you buy a book with the Warhammer logo on the front, you can be forgiven for expecting some action.

The added problem we have here is a complete lack of a hero to cheer for. If we have no sympathy for the main character, there really is no point in reading the story. And that’s the bottom line.