Book Review – Grey Knights by Ben Counter (The Grey Knights Omnibus)

I’m working my way through the Grey Knights Omnibus by Ben Counter.  Grey Knights is also the name of the first book in the series and refers to the name of the Space Marine Chapter that feature.

For those not in the know Grey Knights are considered as the elite of the elite, they are Space Marines with warding tattoos all over their bodies, all have a level of psychic ability, and better armour and weapons.  Whilst they are a Chapter in their own right (Chapter 666) they were created to act as Daemon hunters and act as the Chamber Militant of the Ordo Malleus (Inquisition).

The story starts with a description of an ancient battle between the Grey Knights and a very powerful Daemon Prince, who is bannished back into the warp – killing the Grey Knights Hero.  Skip forward a few thousand years and rumour is that said Daemon Prince is making a comeback and the Inquisition wish to stop it.

There are a number of excellent characters in the book which are noted below:

  • Justicar Alaric – A free thinking Grey Knight marked for greatness
  • Justicar Tancred – Terminator Armour wearing warrior supremo – only ever beaten by Brother Captain Stern
  • Inquisitor Briseis Ligeia – Female Inquisitor with an amazing psychic ability with a bodyguard of assassins
  • Inquisitor Gholic Ren-Sar Valinov – Rogue Inquisitor
  • The Prince of a Thousand Faces – Daemon Prince, very, very powerful

As with Space Marine novels lately there are far more characters but to be honest they’re not anywhere near as important as the above so I’ll ignore them.

The story takes you from Titus (home-moon of the Grey Knights) to the Trail of St Evisser and back again (a few times).  The action is fast and hard hitting, the story has a number of (obvious) plot twists and the Character interaction is a bit stale.  But that’s not really the point of this book in my mind.  Fast paced action, additional information on the (relatively quiet and unheard of) Grey Knights and the flowing story more than make up for the Character interaction.

The story goes down hill for me in the last couple of chapters when our hero’s enter a tomb.  I know that this is Sci-fi, I know that the book is about Daemons – the last bit seems a little silly to me.

Don’t get me wrong, the Characters interact fine, it’s just that Grey Knights are relatively boring as they are so straight-laced.  I enjoyed the pace and the story line.  I would (and am) recommending others to read this book.  I just feel that the temple guardian was below par when compared to the rest of the characters.

If you’re interested in Space Marines start with Salamander.  If you want a great trilogy go with Ultramarines or Space Wolves.  If you want an epic or some Chaos (and you have a very long time) dive into the Horus Heresy Series.  If you’re interested in the Grey Knights read this book.  I’ll be continuing my reviews on books as I’ve read about 15 Space Marine books (and I’m still not bored).

What do you guys think about this book, am I being a tad harsh?


2 Responses to Book Review – Grey Knights by Ben Counter (The Grey Knights Omnibus)

  1. Gotthammer says:

    I liked the series (I’ve read them all), but my main gripes were with some of the scale and description issues.

    In one of the book a terminator is described as being twice the height of a normal man… so do they put platforms on before they go to war then? I think the author meant twice the mass, bulk or size. But even descriptions of people coming up to their waist and such were a bit much.

    Also the Sisters at the end were definately holding the idiot ball – I would have thought of all people they’d be able tell super pure =I= sybol wearing paragons of Emperorness from traitor marines…

    • UltraSmurf says:

      I noticed that too about the terminators and counted it as twice the bulk. The scale problem I had was with the tomb guardian, it jarred against my Sci-fi brain (a pretty rare thing to happen).

      I found the sisters were over hyped in the book – and your right about the =I= symbol, normally a bit of a giveaway.

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