The noble and venerable order of The Knights of the Blazing Sun dedicate themselves to the warrior-goddess Myrmidia and in her name travel the land as Templars. The young knight Hector Goetz is sent to investigate a group of knights gone missing on the distant island of Svunum.
Reunited with his comrades in arms he finds himself battling vicious pirates and bloodthirsty raiders and in the time between he is visited by increasingly disturbing nightmares, leading him to believe that there is more to the place than meets the eye.
As northern savages lay siege to the island, a deadly secret is revealed that threatens to damn his order for all eternity.
Knight of the Blazing Sun is pretty action packed, in parts there is barely a moment that passes without fighting, thinking about fighting or indeed sleeping and dreaming about fighting however this is inter-spaced by tracts of extended narrative that does slow the pace down somewhat. As such the pace is pretty much breakneck in parts and slow in others although the actual story does moves forward during these times, at a more constant rate than the pace.
Reynolds manages to get the ambience, the voice of the novel spot on and it feels just like Warhammer fantasy should, rich, dark and dangerous. This includes the shades of grey that colour the moral compass of the characters which amongst a group of knights creates a pretty unique setting, even amongst the already dark Warhammer universe.
I loved this insight into a chapter of Imperial Knights; it's quite rare to read anything that focuses on such a group which makes it a quite refreshing read. The character of Hector Goetz just about steals the show and every scene he's in, a very likeable character and one which I sincerely hope will appear in future Warhammer novels. He seems like an almost an atypical Knight at first, an idealist by nature who seems to accept too much on face value but then surprises by doing the opposite of what you'd expect and is intelligent enough to learn quickly that things are much more complicated that the single-minded imperial mindset would have you believe, an interesting character indeed.
Goetz's interplay with the other main protagonist of the novel Dalla Ulfarsdottir (a female Norscan warrior) is brilliant, a strong hate-hate relationship that paints the Norscan in shades of (admittedly dark) grey rather than the pure evil they are often depicted.
Knight of the Blazing Sun is one of the best Warhammer fantasy novel's I have read, different enough to stand out from the crowd, with top notch fight scenes and a more intricate plot with more subtlety than first appears, recommended.
Written on Wednesday 18th April 2012 by Antony.
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