Prospero Burns by Dan Abnett – Book Review [djinn24]


Professional Modeler and avid bookworm djinn24 reviews Prospero Burns of the Horus Heresy series by Dan Abnett in this awesome series, published by The Black Library.

The history of the Space Wolves is uncovered in Prospero Burns ~ The Founding Fields

A man terrorfied of wolves his entire life decides after a life of academia to travel to Feneris, a planet reportedly filled with them.  Upon arriving Kasper Hawser is thought of as a bad star he was pursued by the indigenous people of the planet until one of the demon wolves of Feneris comes to his rescue.  He awakens 19 great years later to find himself in the body of his 22 year old self, instead of the 70 year old body he originally arrived in.  What was the reason for the rebuilt body and near 80 year slumber? In the book ‘Prospero Burns’ we follow Kasper as he become the skjald, or history keeper of the Third Company

In my short time of  doing book reviews I have to say this is the hardest books I have come across to do a review on for various reason.  On one side of the coin it was a really well written book, something you would expect Dan Abnett to put out.  The character development was well done, you really got to know the narrator and some of the other people that were around him.  You do get some insight into the strategic mind of the Wolf King and his sons; seeing them as the strategists that they are, instead of the mindless killers other see them as.  The downside is the story focuses on Kasper too much, cluttering the overall plotline with flashback after flashback that repeat the same information.  At the end of the book they are finally tied together and you do understand why they were put into the book.  My honest feelings is they could have been cut down as they really do bog down the momentum of the story.  Honestly you could probably cut away 10 to 15% of this book and not miss out on much, if any at all.

Now I know this contradicts what I said before, but let me explain.  I got this book expecting a killer Horus Heresy novel, and while it was exceptionally well written, it had a much slower pace then your typical Horus Heresy novel, especially one with the Space Wolves, known as the Vlka Fenryka in Prospero Burns.  I found the book too easy to wonder away from.  The book does start off at a great pace, you do get a great feeling of how the Space Wolves started and developed in the beginning; including their traditions, strategies, and the way they conduct business.  There are some action scenes before you get bogged down into the flashback hell that gets shoved into your face.  The title in itself is very misleading as well as the cover-art as well.  While the planet Prospero does in fact burn, it is only at the very end of the book and is finished in one or two chapters and the Wolf King only appears in the last 1/3rd of the book.  The rest of the time you are learning about the Skjald Kasper.

In a nutshell as a non-Horus Hersey novel this would be an exceptional piece of literature, but after the hype, title, and cover art you are handed something that does not really feel like a Horus Heresy novel.  Overall I would give this book a 7 out of 10, the three points lost solely on the overuse of flashbacks, and the title/art that makes you think you are getting one thing while you are handed another. I do have to say that you do need to get this book, it may not be required reading for the Horus Heresy series it does add some nice little details on why the Space Wolves were created.

One little pet peeve of mine as well about this book is overuse of the term ‘wet-leopard snarl’.  Every time I heard this I pictured Sylvester the Cat sitting in power armor, so I had a buddy of mine, Adam ‘Serpion5’ Flynn to do a piece of art for me:

djinn24 is a professional miniatures painter, with an equally strong love of books. His reviews are concise and critical. He’s definitely good at what he does.


  • Anonymous

    Lol, that image made me chuckle. I thought it was Wet Lepoard Growl, though?

    Anyway, nice review. Merry Christmas!

  • Doelago

    It was a flat 10/10 in my book… <.<

    But good review anyways. 😛

    Merry Christmas!

  • Larry Killian

    There are several versions of Wet Leopard through out the book, I just picked one for the poster. It was just way to flashback heavy for me, and after a while it stopped adding to the story and started detracting from the story. It is the first Dan Abnett book that was not a true page turner for me.