Long overdue a review, Dan Abnetts latest addition to the Heresy Series had to wait for me to catch up due to a backlog of unread books; I managed to dodge any spoilers during this time and was very glad that I did, Know No Fear quite simply blew me away.
Dan's account of the legendary Battle of Calth was everything I had been anticipating and so much more. As regular readers will be aware I'm a self confessed 'Danboy', he's without doubt my favourite 40k author; his work is almost consistently without peer and once again he astounded me by upping his game.
The cinematic style of his writing is used to incredible effect during the jaw dropping action sequences; never has the series seen such a spectacular and terrifying display of the awesome might of 31st Millennium weaponry. Battlefleets and orbitals burn, cities vaporise, continents are sundered and untold millions perish with every tick of the clock that accompanies the start of each gripping passage.
But as we know, the weapons of the Heresy are not only based on technology; this tale gives some great insight into the how the Traitor Legions employ the gifts of the Ruinous Powers to aid them on the battlefield.
Also, while the Ultramarines may not get the radical reboot that the Space Wolves did in Prospero Burns, they are given a make over that will challenge even their most vocal detractors to deny them grudging respect. These ARE Space Marines and even in the face of certain doom they're kicking arse and taking names right to the very end. Oh and their Primarch may still have a slightly daft name, but you wouldn't mention it to his face, just look at the cover by the fantastic Neil Roberts; Guilliman is every bit as awesome as depicted here.
Despite the epic scope of the conflict between the forces of Ultramar and the Word Bearer's traitor hordes; the story is underpinned by some great characters who shine despite having quite a large cast to share the stage with and having their tales told in interrupted bursts as events rapidly unfold across the Calth system.
Whilst juggling all this masterfully, the author manages to drop in some great little tie-ins to the current 41st Millennium cannon, bring back some very old Rogue Trader era background, add a dash of 'Old Earth' history/myth and connect up some more of the strands from earlier Heresy novels.
This is all very satisfying and despite events taking place in the same time frame, if not before some of the series already published, there is a real sense of momentum here, of the war finally going up another gear.
This is out and out a magnificent read which had me enthralled from cover to cover, in my opinion this is the best book of the series so far; if you're one of the few like me who hadn't got round to reading this yet, do so, you will not be disappointed (just be willing to lose a day as you will not want to put it down).
The bar has been raised once again and I hope the other Black Library authors will relish testing their skills in rising to the challenge.