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Bane of Kings reviews the fourth novel in the Space Wolf series, Wolfblade, by fan-favourite William King, author of the early Gotrek and Felix novels,
‘King returns to the Space Wolves with some kick-butt action sequences, one of the best Space Wolf novels yet.’ ~The Founding Fields
Despite the fact that The Space Wolf novels by William King are an entirely different beast to those of Chris Wraight and Dan Abnett, Wolfblade, the fourth novel in the series, is probably one of my favourite Space Wolf books so far. King just keeps getting better and better with every book it seems, so without further ado, let’s delve into this review.
In the last three books we fought xenos and traitors, but in Wolfblade, we come to terms with the politics that are going on Holy Terra, the birthplace of humanity, or in other words – Earth. This was the place where it all began, and we wouldn’t have anything without it.
Wolfblade is pretty fast paced, designed to keep you turning the pages right the way through to the very end. Again focusing on Ragnar Blackmane, King manages to make the action enjoyable and exciting throughout every single page.
King reveals how deadly politics can be when used as a weapon, and the excuse made up to get a Space Wolf on Terra is well thought out, and as well as that, we get to learn what life is like for people living in the cradle of humanity, and what their view on adeptus astartes is.
If King had one problem with the first Space Wolf Omnibus, is that it got a bit repetitive after a while, with battle after battle after battle, and for the opener of the Second Omnibus, I’m rather relieved to see that Wolfblade hasn’t all been ‘bolter-porn’ action all the way through.
Wolfblade has also given Ragnar time to develop his personality as the story goes on, and like Space Wolf beforehand, this novel provides an excellent introduction to the Navigators, and the power balance on Terra and it is indeed quite simple to understand.
Although Wolfblade is enjoyable, like most novels, it does have its flaws. In some places the book comes across as cheesy, and the characters are still mostly one-dimensional and, apart from Ragnar, are pretty much undeveloped.
Despite the fact that Wolfblade is full of recognisable plot twists and familiar clichés, King manages to make the book quite enjoyable despite this, and in some ways, part of me is wishing that he had continued with this series, and not handed over the reins to Lee Lightner, which is partly why I haven’t started the second book in the Omnibus yet… I’ve heard rather negative reviews about Lightner’s work, and I don’t really want to have what I found to be such an enjoyable series for me ruined. But that doesn’t mean I’ll get around to trying it at some point though.
With a William King book, you know you’re in safe hands though. The action is well-written, and pits a small contingent of Space Wolves against huge odds, over the course of this novel. Although the predictability is still there, I still kept reading. It’s like with the Horus Heresy Series, in most cases, you know what happens, but it is nonetheless still enjoyable getting there.
I reckon it’s safe to say if you enjoyed the first three Space Wolf novels, then you’ll enjoy this. Although in a way different to its predecessors, it’s still a very traditional Space Wolf novel, and should not be missed for fans of the Sons of Russ, even if you’re part of the group that were introduced to them via Abnett and Wraight.
More Space Wolves: Space Wolf, Ragnar’s Claw, Grey Hunter, Wolfblade, Sons of Fenris, Wolf’s Honour