Imperial Glory by Richard Williams (40K Book Review. No spoilers)


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I thought I'd use my blog to throw a review on here, yeah I know it's not a book website but as there's no Whiskey Media Book website and I know there's some 40K fans on here, what the heck.
I just finished reading this book and I cannot recommend it enough. If you’re a fan of Imperial Guard, the 40K universe, or you just want to read a good book, you really should pick this one up. It’s written by Richard Williams, this is the first book of his I’ve read and I gotta say he’s made himself another fan.

Imperial Glory is about the Brimlock 11th, a company that’s nearing the end of its fighting days. After years of service they’ve finally been granted leave from fighting the Emperors battles and are given a world to settle on and watch over. Essentially they get to play babysitter the rest of their days. There’s a catch of course, as there always is. An Ork Rok that had previously been thought to be destroyed has been found crashed on the planet by the colonists and feral Orks have started showing up. They’re sent down on a last mission to take the Xenos out before settling down on the planet. It doesn’t turn out to be as easy as it sounds.

The interesting thing about this book is that the battle isn’t really the main focus of the story. There’s a ton of fighting to be sure and the action is great, but the theme of the book is really about the past and the effect it can have. The focus is on three main characters and how this theme plays out for them. There’s Major Stanhope, a man who’s unable to put the past behind him, 2nd Lieutenant Carson, a man unable to escape his past actions, and Private Blanks, a man who has no idea what his past is. There’s a number of really great supporting characters as well that flesh out the company, you really get the sense that the 11th have been fighting far longer then is healthy for a persons well being. Physically, they’re extremely capable soldiers, but mentally...some of them not so much. They range from weary to downright insane. A few stand out including a Trooper and the Ogryn who never leaves his side, and a former athlete turned Captain who still carries his gameball around with him. And has drawn a face on it. And named it Mister Emmet.

There’s some good touches of humor in this book but it also gets pretty dark. The 11th are made up of a few different companies that have been ravaged over the years and integrated and there’s some tension between the soldiers. The biggest threat (aside from the green skinned variety) comes from a Commissar attached to the group. I wont go into detail but its safe to say this guy is a cast iron bastard, far more interested in using his pistol on the soldiers then on the enemy. I found him to be maybe a little over the top in how evil this guy is, but it does give you someone to really hate.

What I also found really great was a few short interludes that show things from the Ork perspective and give you a sense of how a Warboss comes to power and also how some Gretchin may be a little more on the ball then you might think. Given the fluff that talks about how originally they may have been running things, it adds a bit more depth to the Orks that I really liked.

Aside from the Commissar seeming a little TOO evil I found the pacing at the beginning of the book to be a little bit hard to follow at first. The timeline and location jumps around a little which threw me off a bit at first, but really it was my own fault for not paying close enough attention as it gives you a clear where and when each time the plot line jumps. Also the various plot lines are set up early and some of them seem to be left hanging, but by the end everything is tied up in a really interesting, totally satisfying way. Those are minor criticisms really and are due more to my own preferences/reading habits then any shortcoming of the author.

Like I said, I definitely recommend you read this. The majority of the book sets a great pace with some really fleshed out characters and some great action. Plus, I have to be honest, the last few pages left me a little misty. I’d be interested to see what others think of the ending but...yeah, suffice to say I loved it. You need to read this book.