The Inquisition moves amongst mankind like an avenging shadow, striking down the enemies of humanity with uncompromising ruthlessness. When he finally corners an old foe, Inquisitor Gregor Eisenhorn is drawn into a sinister conspiracy. As events unfold and he gathers allies – and enemies – Eisenhorn faces a vast interstellar cabal and the dark power of daemons, all racing to recover an arcane text of abominable power: an ancient tome known as the Necroteuch.
Author: Dan Abnett
Narrator: Toby Longworth
Running Time: 9hrs 55 mins
Series: Eisenhorn (#1)
Publisher: The Black Library
Audio Release Date: 27/09/2017
My Rating of ‘Xenos’ 4 out of 5
This is a re-read for me. I remember back when I was first getting into the Warhammer hobby, there was something about the grimness of the Emperor’s Holy Inquisition that made me think there was something special to them. In a universe where there are superhuman warriors in the Space Marines, it seemed quite refreshing to think that, perhaps, the most feared faction of all was a human one.
The Inquisition are essentially agents of the throne with limitless power. If they want a thing done, it gets done. If they want something, they have it. If that something is your brutal and painful death after hundreds of hours of torture … then you suffer. No man says no to an Inquisitor if he values his continued good health.
But it’s all done for the benefit of the Emperor. So it’s all good.
Xenos follows Gregor Eisenhorn and his retinue as they hunt down one of his foes in a deadly game of cat and mouse that leads from a humble chase to events with world-altering implications. Knowledge of the Xenos (aliens), Heretical (chaos) or the demonic (kind of speaks for itself, that one) is forbidden under pain of death. A death that usually is preceded by some form of cruel torture. So it comes as no surprise that when it’s learned there is a Xenos tome of untold power loose in the galaxy, the Inquisition needs to see that things destroyed or, as some may prefer, in their own hands. I mean what’s more reassuring than a group of megalomaniacs with an all powerful relic in their possession?
I remember loving this book and the subsequent two that follow it (There is a 4th book in this series which I have yet to pick up. I think I’ll wait until I have completed the re-read of the trilogy before delving into a new part of this series) and then the trilogy that follows those, with a passion. Reading it back now, I still enjoy it, but I feel as though the older reader in me kind of picks up on the fact that the story being told is somewhat linear. That’s by no means a problem, and I know that the rest of the trilogy creates a world and overarching plot that is full of awesomeness, but it doesn’t hide the fact that this book doesn’t have many frills attached to it.
It does have some pretty memorable moments, though. In fact, the Eisenhorn trilogy as a whole is full of them and the special moments in this trilogy are some of the only ones that I still remember from my younger days of reading.
Another thing it has is a wonderful case of characters and, in places, the series really embodies the grimness of the Warhammer universe. There’s also a lot of different factions that exist within the Emperor’s Holy Inqusition and this book begins to look at just how different each of said factions can be, and just how difficult working with each other proves. All of that rolled into one makes for some interesting plot dynamics.
My original read of this was a physical book and, picking it up in audio form was a joy. The narration is incredible and, I feel, really embodies the stoic, hard-lined man that Gregor Eisenhorn is. So well done, Toby Longworth.