Ray Gun Reviews
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Broken Honour by Robert Earl


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Broken Honour by Robert Earl
Black Library, 2011, 409pp.

It’s so easy to judge a book by its cover, and I’m not talking about determining whether it is good or bad, but rather what the book is about. Take the book under review as an example. When I was looking at the Black Library’s forthcoming books page, the cover image for this one just screamed to me ‘Western!’ OK, I thought, Games Workshop is trying to branch out a bit. I’m game for it (no pun intended). But when I got the book and took a closer look, I realized how mistaken I was. But that’s not a bad thing.

This Warhammer story focuses (as many do) on the armies of Hochland and their never-ending fight against the bestial hordes of Chaos that are forever infringing upon the Empire of Man’s territory. Also, as usual, the armies of Hochland are strained to the breaking point. As the back-cover blurb puts it, “These are desperate times.” So Baron Ludenhof resorts to hiring the mercenary Erikson to gather up a company of soldiers to help protect Hochland. Erikson goes to the nearest gaol and secures the release of its inmates to man his Gentlemen’s Free Company.

In one adventure after another, Erikson and his Company show their mettle as they slowly turn the tide in Hochland. But all is not as easy and straightforward as it seems. Behind the scenes is one Viksberg, a deserter who has left a trail of bodies behind himself to cover up his deeds. However, Erikson’s drummer, Dolf, is the only one who knows that Viksberg is responsible for the crimes that he (Dolf) has served the time for. So Viksberg keeps on maneuvering to put Erikson’s men in one fatal battle after another. But they keep on surviving, to make it to the final battle between Hochland and the feral beastmen.

Overall, this was a fun Warhammer story. It feels a lot like Dan Abnett’s Gaunt’s Ghost stories, with an ensemble of less-than-reputable soldiers just trying to survive on their wits and questionable ethics, but ultimately with hearts of gold. While not the best Warhammer novel, Broken Honour was definitely an enjoyable read and if it is the beginning of a series, it’s going to be one I look forward to reading.

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