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18 August 2012

Ravenor: The Omnibus by Dan Abnett


In the war-torn future of the 41st millennium, the Inquisition fights a secret war against the darkest enemies of mankind – the alien, the heretic and the daemon. The three stories in this omnibus tell the tale of Inquisitor Gideon Ravenor and his lethal band of operatives, whose investigations take them from the heart of the Scarus Sector to the wildest regions of space beyond, and even through time itself. Wherever they go, and whatever dangers they face, they will never give up until their mission succeeds.

Contains the novels Ravenor, Ravenor Returned and Ravenor Rogue, plus two short stories and an introduction by the author.

In my previous review of the Eisenhorn omnibus I likened Gregor Eisenhorn to Jack Bauer of the 40k universe. Well Gideon Ravenor would definitely be Professor X of the universe. That is because like Xavier, Ravenor is a crippled but talented psyker and of course a natural leader of his retinue. However I did feel that sometimes Ravenor is too powerful and nothing seems to challenge him much in the stories.

Unlike the Eisenhorn books, the stories in the Ravenor omnibus all take place in the same time period dealing with the birth of a powerful daemon named Sleet, which Eisenhorn warned Ravenor about in the audio drama Thorn Wishes Talon. Thankfully this story also appears in the omnibus so you won't be missing out if you have not heard the audio drama.

Having read this series after finishing the amazing The Emperor's Gift by Aaron Dembski-Bowden, I was dying to see what role Zael Efferneti plays in the story. Even though Zael doesn't appear much in the second and third book, I think it's great to see how such an important character began his life.

I'm also glad to see the other references to Ravenor in The Emperor's Gift, especially the psychic gift possessed by Hyperion where he reaches down to the planet's inhabitants and feels what they feel.

Ravenor
The omnibus begins with the Inquisitor and his team investigates a new Warp tainted drug that is quickly gaining popularity within the Imperium in Ravenor. As the investigation deepens, Ravenor discovers that there is a far more nefarious plan afoot and he and his team must do everything they can to save the Imperium.

Like the Eisenhorn stories, what started off as a routine investigation quickly goes out of control as the Inquisitor unravels the real puppet master that is behind the scenes. So the twists in the story aren't that surprising but entertaining enough to keep you reading on.

Despite being disabled, Ravenor has the ability to ware other people, that is control them and often enhances their ability to give the people he controls more mobility and faster reflexes. He also uses his powerful mind to fight psychic battles with other psykers. Even though these psychic battles are lovingly described, I still prefer to read about fights involving real blood and sweat.

Ravenor Returned
Having surviving the plot to eliminate his entire team in Ravenor, the Inquisitor now returns to Eustis Majoris in secret to destroy Contract 13 and rid the corruption in the planetary government. In this book, Ravenor also knows that a powerful daemon will be born and one of his team will somehow be involved.

The story is a great continuation of the first book and the stakes are now much higher with the entire planet at risk. The pace is fast and unrelenting, and you can feel the urgency all the way through.

Even though the 40k universe as described by Abnett is vastly different to the lore that I know, I think the author did an excellent job putting his unique mark into this shared universe.


Ravenor Rogue
The final book of the series and things get pretty weird as Ravenor chases his arch-nemesis Molotch across space and time. This is truly a fantastic ending to another great series by Abnett.

One of the great things about this finale is the unpredictability of story and it keeps you guessing what is going to happen when Ravenor and his team enters through that door.

Maybe I've played too much Diablo 3 lately but the description of Sleet as he is coming into the material world reminds me of the Dark Thrall. What do you think?


On the whole the series offer another fascinating look into the operation of the Inquisition in the 40k universe. I found Ravenor to be too uptight and not as complex as Eisenhorn but still nonetheless interesting in his own way.

As for Ravenor's team, both Harlon Nayl and Kara Swole are the more well rounded characters of the lot. I wouldn't mind reading further novellas involving these characters. In fact, I want to know more about what happened after Ravenor was involved in that tragic accident at Thracian Primaris and how he overcame his disabilities to become the renowned Inquisitor that he is. Patience Kys has her own short story featured in the omnibus but she still remain pretty much an enigma and it would be great to see her develop more in the future.

Having read both these Inquisition stories, I am extremely psyched to learn that there will be a new novel titled Pariah coming out that will pit Ravenor against Eisenhorn. I can't wait to see how Ravenor will deal with his old mentor. I will be even more thrilled if the story completes the connections and Hyperion makes an appearance in the novel.

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