Title: Redemption through Sacrifice
Author: Justin Woolley
Published by: Black Library
Publication date: 22 July 2019
Genre: Science Fiction
Source: Purchased from Black Library
I believe, that this is Justin Woolleys debut Warhammer 40k publication by Black Library. The main character of the story Marcus van Veenan, an ex-sergeant turned penal legionnaire, has to contend with some of the usual suspects of the 40k universe; cultists, rogue-psykers and the Inquisition. Forced among the ‘Meat Dogs’ the Second Rapture Penal Legion, Marcus is tasked with becoming a part of some defense forces against a rather large cultist force and given the chance to sacrifice himself to redeem himself in the Emperors eyes.
Although only a short story, a lot happens in this book and it has some truly brilliant moments in it – even if the overall situation that van Veenan finds himself in is a little far-fetched. As characterization goes, Marcus is a good lead with a healthy balance of excessive heroism and cynicism. The supporting characters, Inquisitor Nikova are pretty much on par with what you’d expect from the Holy Emperors Inquisition!
The brief look into the life of those who’re on a level lower than a cockroach is insightful and what drew me to the novella in the first-place; with this I was not disappointed and the first half of the novel was delightful. It was the second half where I felt like it went down-hill and the ending itself (which I won’t spoil) was lackluster at best, but seeing as the book isn’t very long it isn’t a hardship to stick with.
The plot is nothing overly ground breaking or original, but it’s a rather fun romp through heresy town complimented by van Veenan dry-witted commentary. Also, and this is something I really appreciate from a Sci-Fi novel, it was easy to read. The language wasn’t high-brow or difficult to follow, which I find so often the case with Sci-Fi.
Overall, a decent read and worth picking up to support a new Black Library author but nothing ground-breaking.