Review: Path of The Incubus / Author: Andy Chambers / Publisher: Black Library / Release Date: Out Now
The Warhammer 40,000 books are in many ways a victim of their own success. It's an expansive and interesting science fiction setting, however the majority of tie-in novels tend to focus on its best-known inhabitants, the Space Marines, and even those that don’t tend to be written from some sort of human perspective. It is extremely refreshing to see the line do something different and a little bit daring, and Path of The Incubus does exactly that. Rather than being a story about the Imperium of Man and associated hangers-on, it’s all about those nefarious creatures, the Dark Eldar.
For those who aren’t terribly into the setting, Dark Eldar are essentially the evil fairies of myth and legend, but from beyond the stars. They live to torture and maim, drawing sustenance from the suffering of sentient creatures. The Incubus of the title is not a seductive monster from myth, rather a type of dedicated warrior that draws pleasure from perfect violence. Much of the action takes place in the city of Commorragh, a place that exists in between the real world and the other-dimensional hell known as the warp. The city's fragile placement in reality is at risk, and this impending disaster drives the narrative forward as the main protagonists try and save this hive of monsters. Throughout this horror, we have warring factions of treacherous Eldar vying for power and position, and this level of intrigue is most welcome, though I do wish there was more of it; the ‘war’ in Warhammer works just as well when it’s a war of words, rather than one with chainswords and splinter rifles.
Fans of the setting (and Eldar in particular) will be pleased to learn that many aspects of the alien culture are well explored, and action fans will be happy to discover that author Andy Chambers has a talent for describing stunning and balletic violence. Evil space elves should be as deadly as they are beautiful, and they certainly are in Path of the Incubus. The storyline does suffer from this being the second book of a planned trilogy, but a useful summary appears at the beginning and it’s not difficult to understand who the major characters are. Those who have been waiting for more diversity in this franchise series should take a look at Path of the Incubus.