Culture

Audiobook Review: Warhammer 40,000: The Infinite And The Divine by Robert Rath

Hello to all I have returned once again! I hope you enjoyed my discussions over Halloween of some audio classics and a visit to the realm of the Imperium? I can’t resist the siren call now I have returned of the 41st (or is it 42nd? Who can say!) millennium one last time before we take a detour from Black Library for a while. But what shall I discuss? Ah but of course…the Necrons are currently in the ascendant.

What are Necrons? Necrons are in simple terms undying – almost undying – skeletal space zombie Terminators who often come across as very heavily inspired by the Egyptians to the point they have their own Pharaohs (Phaerons), pyramid equivalents, several named dynasties which can be in conflict and several other aspects. They were made into this by the C’tan (Lovecraftian star gods which are currently used by the Necrons as some form of pet although they have the potential to be terrifying) during an ancient war known as the War In Heaven which took place long before many other races existed. However there are some who believe they have the possibility of restoring the Necrons to their physical forms. The Necrons were once the Necrontyr…and our two rival main characters both have their plan for the future of the Necron race.

The Infinite And The Divine by Robert Rath is a Black Library novel which focuses almost exclusively on the Necrons through the lens of the never ending feud between Trazyn The Infinite – a Necron…museum curator with a desperate urge to add to his collection of the most dangerous and rare artefacts in all of galactic history –and Orikan The Diviner – a chronomancer without equal who can predict and manipulate the future. Both these men become aware of a legendary Necron artefact with great potential for the future of the Necron race. Thus begins a multi-millennia game of cat and mouse to be the one to solve the puzzles along the way and achieve their ultimate goal. But is it possible their feud may destroy the Necron race as they fight to save it?

This story was brilliant! The plot I described above is really the story in its most simple form. The race between Trazyn and Orikan jumps from puzzle to puzzle, world to world and millennium to millennium as you start to see what makes the two rivals tick. There is both a lot connecting them and separating them and this story gets to the core of that relationship whilst also giving you lots of details about the Necrons and how their society works. It’s certainly pleasant to see some of that detail when for once they aren’t the ‘scary zombie Egyptian’ bad guys they can appear as in books written with a Space Marine focus. The plot really pulls you along with it and you want to find out more. Who will be the one to win this particular encounter? Will one of them come out on top overall? Or will they be forced to work together?

The author Robert Rath is a relatively new author to Black Library currently based in Hong Kong with The Infinite And The Divine being his first full length novel. He is also known for being the author of the YouTube video series Extra History – which I am personally very fond of – and to put it mildly? He is brilliant! I have to congratulate him on how the book genuinely made me burst out laughing on multiple occasions. The comparison I can come up with is Ciaphas Cain or in non-Warhammer terms like the most bizarre kind of sitcom. Trazyn and Orikan really bounce off each other really well and frankly feel like an old married couple. And yet the action is amazing! There were at least a few moments where my immediate reaction was ‘Oh lord! …This is going to be FUN!’ Seriously though? I truly hope I can persuade some of my readers to give this book a chance. I want this book to do well so we get more from Robert Rath and more books and audios focused on the xenos species!

This book is technically a follow on from a short story by Rath known as War In The Museum as the events of that story are somewhat referenced in the beginning of this novel so you may want to read that first for those of you who are driven by the urge to have everything in order.

The narration for this audio comes from a Richard Reed who has been a prolific narrator for Black Library for quite some time, having contributed to several of the audio dramas (including Realmslayer: Blood Of The Old World and the recent release Sons Of Behemat) and several full audiobooks including Darkness In The Blood and a highly regarded novel known as Space Marine Conquests: Apocalypse. Reed’s narration is very enjoyable with his voice for both Orikan and Trazyn being utterly on point. I also especially enjoyed his voicing of some relatively minor Ork characters and various assistants of Trazyns’ throughout the novel among several others. I’d be more than happy to hear from him again in future.

In conclusion The Infinite And The Divine is a very enjoyable audiobook in the Warhammer 40K setting by a relatively new author who has quite the distinct grasp on his characters. I enjoyed it immensely and I hope I can persuade you to join me as we explore throughout the realm of the Necrons alongside two very entertaining rivals.

As for my next return for The Orkney News? It will be time for another opinion piece. My topic: That’s a secret! Just…keep an eye on the Moon.

Sayonara! Nephrite

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