Knight of the Blazing Sun by Josh Reynolds – Advanced Review [Bane of Kings]
Bane of Kings reviews Knight of the Blazing Sun, Josh Reynolds’ first novel for Black Library, set in the Warhammer Fantasy Universe.
“A strong début that makes Reynolds an author to watch out for. An enjoyable, fun and interesting read.” ~The Founding Fields
I haven’t read as much Warhammer Fantasy as I would like to. You see, I only started reading Warhammer Fantasy with the release of Wulfrik by CL Werner, and I can say that the novel really opened my eyes to the wonderful Warhammer world, and have been surprised, and quite glad to say, that I’ve enjoyed a large portion of every Warhammer Fantasy novel that I’ve read.
And Knight of the Blazing Sun is no exception. Although it may be Josh Reynolds’ first Black Library novel, I really enjoyed this novel, having wanted to read it ever since I saw the amazing cover-art which would easily catch my eye if I was browsing in a bookstore.
The novel itself follows the main character of young Hector Goetz, a Knight of the Blazing Sun, an Order that I didn’t even know existed in the Warhammer World until I read Reynolds’ novel. But apparently, according to Black Library’s novel description, they’re “a noble and venerable order of Templars dedicated to the warrior-goddess Myrmidia.” Well, basically – Goetz is dispatched to the island of Svunum, where a group of fellow Knights have gone missing. Once he’s reunited with his comrades though, Goetz soon finds himself pitted against pirates and raiders alike, and – on top of that, he suffers from increasingly disturbing nightmares.
But, is everything as it seems? What are the intentions of the Knights on Svunum, and what secret do they hold that could possibly threaten the whole order?
I’m going to say that I was quite surprised by Knight of the Blazing Sun; I never thought that it would be as good as it turned out to be. Varied action, interesting characters, nice plot with a couple of minor issues, the novel proves to be a pretty good read.
However, not all novels are without their flaws, and there are some in Knight of the Blazing Sun. It isn’t one of those books that you will be thrust into right from the start – you’ll find it pretty hard to get into at first, particularly if you don’t know your Warhammer Fantasy background like me. However, it isn’t really until later on in the novel when the action really kicks in, and if you stick with it to that far, you’ll be unable to let it go.
There are some pretty well-written action scenes in this novel, with enough cliff-hangers at the end of the chapters to keep you reading. There’s just another minor, very minor flaw that I had with Knight of the Blazing Sun, and that’s probably just me being nitpicky. I don’t particularly like sentences that end with exclamation marks when they’re not “spoken”, or thoughts, but that shouldn’t detract your reading experience from the book.
Once we get into the last half of the novel, this is where Reynolds really shines. The action-scenes are gripping, and the twists at the end are interesting enough to leave you looking forward to more by the author. Indeed, his next Black Library novel coming out is Neferata, a Time of Legends novel – although that isn’t available until January 2013. However, I’ll be reading it. Reynolds has impressed me enough, and despite the flaws in Knight of the Blazing Sun, if he continues to improve, Neferata will be a really enjoyable read. His short stories are also worth checking out as well, and can be found in various issues of Hammer and Bolter.
The novel itself is well-plotted, despite the pacing being a bit off. Goetz is a likeable enough character to be one that you’ll want to route for, and is a strong enough character to form his own series. Although nothing’s been announced officially so far that I’m aware of, I’d love to see the continuation of Goetz’s adventures, even though Knight of the Blazing Sun is effectively a standalone novel.
More Josh Reynolds on TFF: You can read Lord of the Night’s review of Knight of the Blazing Sun, here.
More by Josh Reynolds: The First Duty (Short Story, Hammer and Bolter Issue 6), The Gods Demand (Short Story, Hammer and Bolter Issue 11 + Age of Legend by Various Authors), Dead Calm (Short Story, Hammer and Bolter Issue 13) Stromfels’ Teeth (Short Story, Hammer and Bolter Issue 17), Time of Legends: Neferata (Novel, January 2013)