Review: Belisarius Cawl: The Great Work by Guy Haley

Belisarius Cawl The Great WorkAuthor: Guy Haley
Series: Warhammer 40,000
Publisher: Games Workshop/Black Library
Released: March 17th, 2020
Received: NetGalley
Rating: 4 kitties

I received a copy of Belisarius Cawl through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Warhammer 40,000 has countless novels at this point, providing insight into some of our favorite characters. Now, it’s time for Belisarius Cawl to get his own novel. That’s probably a fact that will make more than one fan scream from excitement, right?

Written by Guy Haley, Belisarius Cawl: The Great Work does a deep dive into a beloved character from the franchise. Known as the Archmagos Dominus of the Adeptus Mechanicus, he is arguably one of the most brilliant people you’ll ever meet.

Belisarius Cawl is an old soul, both figuratively and literally. He has constantly been driven to create and achieve more. A fact that has simultaneously earned him adoration and criticism. Now, he’s found yet another project worth diving into on the dead planet of Sotha.

Belisarius Cawl is a novel that weaves together stories from many different novels. While many fans might have read all of the lore reading up to this point, many newer fans might be feeling a bit intimidated. There’s no need to worry, however. Haley does a brilliant job of bringing everyone up to the same speed, all while building on the same qualities that have made this character so iconic.

“The Andarnians are gone. The last rendered down. Their world is empty. Once I inject this dose, there will be no more. I am sorry.”

Spoiler Warning

Belisarius Cawl: The Great Work is an intense and intricate read. It is every bit as grand and complicated as I would have expected or hoped, given who we’re talking about here. It’s one of those novels that you can really sink your teeth into.

What surprised me about this novel had to be all of the additional elements woven into the narrative. I wasn’t expecting all of the tension, the intentional foreshadowing, for example. Nor was I expecting to laugh at points. And yet that is exactly what happened here.

It wasn’t just Belisarius Cawl’s character that I enjoyed so much, but all of the secondary and tertiary characters as well. They brought the world to life. Or more accurately, through them, Haley brought the world to life. I’m not sure I ever read a novel where the characters from this world felt so…human. Relatable. Given how grand and epic the characters from Warhammer 40,000 tend to be, that’s probably not all that surprising. But it is an impressive feat here, nonetheless.

If you’re looking for a novel that is a slight breach from the norm, then this is absolutely the novel for you to check out. It’s refreshingly honest about itself and the characters within, and frankly, I adore that.

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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