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Reading Dan Abnett is often like going abroad with a minimum understanding of the language. If you're willing to throw yourself in at the deeper ends, decipher a few words for yourself and wait for things to unfold, you savour the immersion that much more.
A shame then that one of the outstanding Heresy novels is read in a tone more suited to a whimsical fantasy: indeed at times I was convinced it was Simon Prebble reading Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell. While Abnett's novel is more complex and more subtle than some of the Heresy novels (Battle for the Abyss, Mechanicum) it's still pure space opera and deserves someone more adept at the voices of war. While the Legion themselves are given good enough voices, some of the Imperials veer between Carry On and Only Fools, always threatening to drop the listener out of the experience. Indeed at times one of the early characters is only moments away from tugging at his forelock and declaring "Gawd bless the Queen Mum". David Timson is a very good narrator and for the right material he's unbeatable - after listening to Fulgrim you can't imagine anyone else doing it justice. For Legion, he's just wrong.
Luckily, as a good narrator can carry a lesser novel the reverse is true. Legion is for the most part a thriller, very much in the vein of early Frederick Forsyth. It's well structured, deftly written and filled with interesting and compelling characters. If Abnett has a weakness, its his fondness for deus ex machina (most of the early Gaunt's Ghosts novels) but here it truly plays to the novel's strength.
As a standalone in the 40k universe it works extremely well, and as part of the Heresy its up there with Fulgrim or Flight of the Eisenstein. Buy with a little caution
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
First heresy book to contain non-hostile xenos interaction and gives a much more human perspective on the heresy than we've had so far. Awesome book
2 of 2 people found this review helpful