Books in brief: Mitchell, Fenn

Sandy Mitchell, Warhammer 40K: The Emperor’s Finest and Warhammer 40K: The Last Ditch. Black Library, 2012 and 2013.

The Emperor’s Finest is probably the weakest installment in Mitchell’s Ciaphas Cain series, lacking the usual vibrancy and humour, and dogged by a very poor secondary character in the form of the lady aristocrat Mira. The Last Ditch makes up for this with rollicking battle action.

One of the things that strike me most about the Cain books is that, while never rising above the level of crunchy popcorn entertainment, Mitchell takes the (clichéd) darkness of the Warhammer 40K setting, acknowledges it, and then goes on to populate it with relatively well-adjusted, well-adapted people. With fully-developed senses of humour.

Jaine Fenn, Queen of Nowhere. Gollancz, 2013. Review copy courtesy of Strange Horizons –

– Where it will be reviewed. Preliminary thoughts: interesting SF, interesting world, not sure how satisfied I am with the pacing or the ending.