Review: Spear of the Emperor by Aaron Dembski Bowden

Spear of the EmperorAuthor: Aaron Dembski Bowden
Series: Warhammer 40,000 series
Publisher: Black Library
Released: Originally November 24th, 2018, reprinting December 24th, 2019
Received: NetGalley
Warnings: Slavery, torture, graphic injuries and infections
Rating: 4 kitties

I received a copy of Spear of the Emperor through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.

The Spear of the Emperor, written by Aaron Dembski-Bowden is another Space Marine novel for fans to dive into; but it’s also unlike anything I’ve read so far. Following The Emperor’s Spears and the Mentor Legion, this novel takes place in the Elara’s Veil nebula. Where their war is far from over.

The Emperor’s Spears have been isolated for over a century. And yet they fight on. Their war in the Elara’s Veil has been a bloody one, but that hasn’t slowed them down any. They’ve received no contact from the other legions in a hundred years, so when Amadeus Kaias Incarius passes through the Great Rift for a status report, they’re understandably quite suspicious.


“This is the tale of Amadeus Kaias Incarius and the Spears of the Emperor. It is a tale that has yet to end, but began many years ago, in the reign of the swordking Arucatas, as a warship set sail for the Elara’s Veil nebula and into the Great Rift.”

Spoiler Warning

Warnings: These are Space Marines we’re talking about. They’re going to throw themselves headlong into danger, and sometimes that means they’re going to be graphically killed or wounded. Alongside that, Spear of the Emperor includes scenes depicting slavery, torture, and some graphic detailing about infections and wounds.

The Spear of the Emperor was absolutely nothing like what I expected. It was brilliant and intense, and shockingly moving at time. I think what surprised me most about this book (aside from all of the shocking events of the story itself) is the main perspective of the novel.

Anuradha is not a Space Marine. Not even close, but she is the Helot Secundus to Amadeus Kaias Incarius. Which is basically a pretty or nice way of calling her his thrall or slave. She’s an augmented human, and while she is nothing like the Space Marines, she (and her companions) does a surprisingly decent job of keeping up.

This novel starts out with devastating numbers of life lost and damages taken. Then it throws the surprising twist of the main character, and from there it’s a series of surprises, battles, and dramatic elements. It all combined beautifully into one novel. And I’m not at all ashamed to say that I was sad to see it all end.

In short: The Spear of the Emperor was nothing less than thrilling. It was full of dynamic characters of all varieties. It had a surprising amount of intrigue and mystery. And it had a strong sense of honor and ethics woven throughout. It was exactly the sort of novel I’ve always been hoping to see, and best of all, it gave me insight into a chapter I’ve known almost nothing about. And now I feel compelled to continue reading the rest of this saga.

About Liz (AKA Cat)

I am an avid animal lover, photographer, reader, and much more. While my photography blog is feeling a bit neglected at the moment, the other sites I'm involved in are going strong. ✧I review books, comics, and basically anything else in the literary world over at Quirky Cat's Fat Stacks (of Books). ✧I review comics and books, as well as write content for Word of the Nerd. ✧I review comics for Monkeys Fighting Robots. ✧I write content for Screen Rant and CBR. ✧I write book reviews for The Review Crew.
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