Eisenhorn. The name conjours images of aphrodisiac teutonic sexy ice-cream. Unless you’ve ever heard of a chap called Dan Abnett. In his world Eisenhorn is not a naughty dessert but actually an collection of stories of an Imperial Inquisitor in the dark far flung future of the 41st millenium.
Science fiction books, to be frank, tend to be quite lame, especially when compared with fantasy and more mainstream novels. However the turbulent times of the Warhammer 40,000 universe give an excellently dark and deliciously gothic backdrop in which to base stories. Times are dark, with mankind living in a cesspool of their own devising. Chronic poverty and pollution across a million worlds, with aliens threatening from without and corruption and mutants threatening from within. Warp travel has allowed mankind to span the galaxy, but unleashed the horrors of demons upon civilization. Add to that a complete stagnation of technological advancement and a theocracy which worships the carcass of a near dead Emperor and you are close to the setting of Warhammer 40,000.
It is to within this maelstrom which Gregor Eisenhorn, Imperial Inquisitor, is flung. Tasked with seeking out corruption, mutation and xenos in society and wiping them out. He is just a man, and as he faces tougher and tougher challenges he begins to bend the rules he is trying to enforce further and further. One might even question whether he actually steps over the line at points and becomes what he is trying to eradicate. The stories are excellently crafted, and as we follow Gregor’s exploits we are drawn further into a world of corruption. As the hero bends the laws further and further we see that he really may not actually be such an hero after all. And this is what I find so appealing in these stories. It’s not the case that he is a straight up hardened Space Marine who kicks butt, saves the day and praises the Emperor. He is an Inquisitor who kicks butt and will use every dirty trick he knows to save himself and pay lip service to praising the Emperor.
Eisenhorn is then, an exciting roller coaster of a ride. An excellent science fiction triumph. Lots of action, plenty of twists and turns with the morals often put to one side to get the job done.
Read more about it here.