Bloodlines by Chris Wraight – A Book Review



In the immense city of Varangantua, life is cheap but mistakes are expensive. When Probator Agusto Zidarov of the city’s enforcers is charged with locating the missing scion of a wealthy family, he knows full well that the chances of finding him alive are slight. The people demanding answers, though, are powerful and ruthless, and he is soon immersed in a world of criminal cartels and corporate warfare where even an enforcer’s survival is far from guaranteed. As he follows the evidence deeper into the city’s dark underbelly, he discovers secrets that have been kept hidden by powerful hands. As the net closes in on both him and his quarry, he is forced to confront just what measures some people are willing to take in order to stay alive…

Author: Chris Wraight

Publisher: The Black Library

Series: Warhammer Crime #1

Pages: 384

Release Date: 08/08/2020

Genre: Science Fiction/Warhammer 40k

My Chosen Format: Kindle

My Rating of ‘Bloodlines’: 5 out of 5

Purchase: Amazon UKAmazon USAudible UKAudible US


I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Whether or not Black Library have created the ‘Warhammer Crime’ series to try and carve themselves a slice of the thriller pie or if it’s just because they wanted to breathe new life into the Warhammer 40k universe, I am uncertain. What I am certain of is that they’ve got this series off to a great start.

For die hard bolter porn fanatics I am going to spoil your day: There are no space marines in this novel. It seems like the Black Library want to show that they are more than just Space Marines and Imperial Guard and, with Bloodlines, both they and Chris Wraight have achieved that.

Augusto Zidarov, an ageing probator (a type of policeman/detective in the warhammer 40k universe) is our protagonist and, throughout the majority of the novel I found myself liking the unveiling of his character. He’s often not quite what you think he is, a feat achieved by clever reveals on the part of the author.

Bloodlines creates a grim, dark and oppressive-feeling world in which bleakness and the daily grind are pretty much the only things to look forward to. Unless you’re rich, in which case you can have what you want, when you want. Including rejuvanat treatments (treatments to reverse the ageing process). The fact that much of this trade comes from ‘cell draining’, the process of hooking a living person up to a machine and having the lifeblood, and other youthful goodness, sucked out of them until they die where they lay.

Zidarov’s mission to bring down the cell-draining cartels in his city is a major plot point, one that unfolds to the backdrop of a missing aristocrat he’s being forced to track down at the behest of one of the most influential, and filthy rich families on his world.

Chris Wraight does a great job of showing just how bleak and miserable life can be on many of the world’s within the Imperium. It shows how the Imperium is a society where the rich thrive and the poor are squeezed for every last bit of productivity in whatever job role they find themselves in. It may sound like it, but I don’t think they’re Tories … honest.

Some of the characters do feel a bit two-dimensional but I feel part of this is more because Zidarov isn’t the type to open up to or to reach out and let others open up to him. Whatever the reason, it doesn’t feel like it detracts. It just feels like they are the stoic citizens of the imperium that any fan has come to imagine over the years of reading.

Oddly, for a warhammer 40k novel, there isn’t a whole lot of fighting. There are some heart-pounding scenes that really make you appreciate the build up to them, but a great portion of the book is spent on detective work and snooping around. Which, being a thriller-type novel, I am glad of. When I opened this book I was worried that it was just going to be lots of shooting and explosions coming from a policeman’s gun rather than a soldier’s and just called a ‘crime novel’. Thankfully, in Bloodlines, Wraight has given it a truly ‘crime novel feel’ whilst still making you feel grounded in the Warhammer 40k universe.

14 thoughts on “Bloodlines by Chris Wraight – A Book Review

  1. Ah…I was definitely waiting for this review, as I was quite curious about this one and this new line if it would really feel as something different. I’m glad to hear that’s the case, and even more delighted to learn that it’s a good novel as well.
    The bad news? this of course means I now have to add it to my already filled to the brim to read list 😂😂 Oh well! Great review!😀

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Still dont know about the cult he joined but still it was not the biggest part of the story. Ill be working on a review to go up before year end. Seeing as we are back in hard lockdown now ill have time enough to get my thoughts in order.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yea, I mean being a heretic is better than being a cheat. It has the potential to be an interesting side story or it could just muddle the plot of future books too much. Flip of a coin really.

        We are in Boris Johnson’s tier systems. Which essentially means: do whatever you like so long as there’s a chip and pin machine to buy things. But don’t have have anyone over your houses as you can’t make us money by doing that.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Honestly, the more i read about the zealotry that the emperor does not complain about when it is people praising him, the more i lean to the heretic side…

        Boris seems to quite a twat as far as his wording and decision making has gone of what I have read… Been watching a lot of this thing called Spitting Image on Ytube and as much as i know it’s a parody about life in general, there is a lot of truth hiden in it…

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Yea, saw they had a few good ones about Boris 😂 he’s a nightmare. Claims everything he says is ‘clear guidance’ … yet his own government ministers regular mess up and break the rules.

        We’d have been better off if Covid got him …

        Liked by 1 person

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