Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Sabbat Worlds Anthology

Never let it be said that I forget things completely. Ok so it might take me a few months to remember them, but I always get it sorted out in the end. Usually....

Anyways after my somewhat long hiatus for reviews here, which I don't have any excuse that would stand up in court, but mainly boils down to the fact that I've been reading about eight books at once and not finished one or have finished one but was removed from a computer to actually write a review on, today I bring you a review on the Sabbat Worlds Anthology, from various authors at Games Workshop's literary branch, the Black Library.

Yes I know, another Warhammer 40,000 book review, shock horror and all that, but hey, I started writing fan fiction for them more than five years ago now so my heart is always kinda with them, if not my purse.

The Sabbat Worlds Anthology is a collection of short stories based in the insanely popular region of the 40k 'verse created by the god himself, Mr Dan Abnett. Mr Abnett happens to be one of my favourite authors (his book, Xenos, the first of the Eisenhorn trilogy was the first bit of 40k fiction I ever read and occupies a special place in my heart and on the book shelf). The collection has pieces from some of the biggest authors from the dark and dusty halls of the Library and with names such as Sandy Mitchell (author of the Ciaphus Cain series) and Graham McNeil (author of the Ultramarine series of books, Storm of Iron and several of the Horus Heresy series) you can be pretty much assured that the anthology is going to be a good read before you get started.

Set in the Sabbat Worlds, each short story takes a shot at events outside the main Gaunt's Ghost story arc (apart from the two pieces written by Abnett of course), and we are taken to places such as a world under the rule of the archenemy and the resistance fighters against them (ala Traitor General style) to aerial combat with the Apostles (the elite Navy wing introduced in Double Eagle) to combat with the arrogant Volpone Bluebloods.

Each story has it's merits, but I did find that some of them were far better than others, and tended to be more enjoyable as a result, while a couple of them felt like a chore to read and just something to get through to reach the next story. Also, like a lot of material from the Black Library and Games Workshop in general, they borrow so heavily from other sources it feels like you're just seeing the original set in a sci fi environment. With one of the tales pretty much Third Man In Space, I already knew what was going to happen and was half expecting Carol Reed to jump out of his grave and complain bitterly to the Daily Telegraph!

Despite this, the Anthology on the whole was pretty enjoyable and filled in a few gaps in the story arc of the Sabbat Worlds crusade and brought back a few characters, that if not favourites were good to hear from once again.

So if you feel like diving into the dark universe of the 40k worlds and the war torn hell of the Sabbat Worlds, then this is a must buy before you pick up the new Gaunt's Ghosts novel (Salvations Reach, which I have yet to buy) as it will ease you back into the region created and the characters and locations we have seen in the series to date, even if at times it makes you want to slap the authors for their lack of complete originality.

All in all, four out of five stars. Enjoyable but a few places that drag.

Sabbat Worlds Anthology
Available from the Black Library website (www.blacklibrary.com) as ebook format or from places such as Amazon for paper copies.

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