As a fan of the Black Library’s Warhammer 40K series of novels, I continue to be impressed by their recent set of new authors and their debuts. Redemption Corps by Rob Sander is no exception. Centered upon Major Mortensen and Commissar Krieg, the novel introduces us to the Redemption Corps, a sort of SAS or “A-Team” for the Imperial Guard of the Warhammer 40K universe. In between a flurry of varied and vicious (and sometimes confusing) battles, we get to know our two main heroes who were a compelling tandem to follow. The author provides an imaginative story line and adds a measure of Imperial intrigue to the mix, though Mortensen and Krieg seemed to be fairly agnostic, if not immune, to the politics flying around them.
While Redemption Corps was quite a fun read, the novel does have some room for improvement. The author could have fleshed out the antagonists a bit more so the reader has a better understanding of what the Redemption Corps is up against. An introduction to (or a bit more color on) the enemy forces and/or their iconic leaders helps draw us into the battle and compels us to read on when we know we should be dousing the light and going to bed. Also, a number of the fight scenes felt a bit confused, leaving one wondering just what had happened. Things didn’t always flow clearly or fit as the scene played out. Finally, the author used a technique throughout the novel where he interlaced future scenes with the main thread of the novel, which detracted from the overall suspense and intrigue. A single flash-forward at the beginning would likely have provided both an introduction to the main character as well as the right amount of foreshadowing for the book, while leaving readers wanting to know how it would all fit together in the end. Instead, the continual onslaught of flash-forward scenes let the air out of the balloon before the party was over.
That said, Sanders does well in his vivid portrayal of our two main protagonists and their supporting cast, laying the groundwork, hopefully, for an ensuing series of novels based on their heroics.