As you may have gleaned from the title, this novel follows the story of the Chaos sorcerer supreme Ahriman. The story setting takes place in the 41st millennium and primarily focuses on Ahriman’s rise or descent to power as a renegade sorcerer. The book itself is not super weighty, its about 416 pages that are not densely packed with text (it’s not a Dan Abnett tome to be sure) which makes it a fairly easy book to pick up and read when you have a spare moment I actually stopped and started reading it about three times over the course of two months, but the story is written well enough that I didn’t find myself helplessly lost or having to go back to certain parts to refresh myself. So in that way it makes a great summer reader or travel/vacation book.
The story itself is well written and is a good reflection on the author John French who is a rather recent addition to BL’s stable. While I have not read any of his other works, French does a great job of keeping the reader interested in the plot, weaving long and detailed combat scenes with subtle plots that feed into the main story and reveal more about who Ahriman really is or was. Over all I felt more like I was reading someone's personal Journal rather than watching a story unfold from some imaginary corner of the room, French’s style of describing battle scenes is also quite refreshing, there were multiple times where I would read a couple paragraphs that described a fight that in reality only lasted a couple seconds, but the action flows very well in these scenes and it never felt repetitive or gratuitous. There is also a decent supporting cast of characters that provide a decent B story to help the main plot move along, again not a lot of dense details, just a good light background on the supporting cast to help break up some of the longer bits.
The over all narrative of the story is mostly focused on the power of choice, and you definitely see the results of the ones that each character makes as the book progresses, again this is an area that French does a fantastic job in. Over all it felt like I was reading several mini-sodes out of the larger story, I don’t want to get to into the plot but I will say that there is the usual amount of grimdark splashed over everything, but it doesn't feel as overbearing as it does in some of the other BL series. I would say even if your not a fan of Chaos this book is still a solid read, on the other side of the coin if your really into thousand sons this is almost a required read.
I feel I am starting to ramble on a bit so I'll wrap it up. This book basically follows Ahriman around the universe whilst he solves groovy mysteries with his gang of scrappy renegades and outcasts as they track down the mysterious source of the hunters that have been sent to kill him, things get dicey when Ahriman realizes the truth has been with him all along and has to go on a journey of rediscovery and personal development that will allow him the face down the demons that pursue him and unlock his true potential. The story was good but it definitely feels like its meant to be part of a series rather than a standalone novel, but its pretty easy to get into the plot and it’s a fairly quick read for anyone who enjoys BL novels. So if you like Thousand suns, or you just want to learn a bit more about Ahriman I can definitely recommend this book, same goes if your looking for a quick 40k fluff fix in your down time.
Check it out here