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Deacon of Wounds

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In the world of Theotokos is being ravaged by famine, drought and lack of water. One man is capable of saving this planet is the Arch-Deacon Ambrose, a priest of Adeptus Ministorium who wishes to solve the issues of the planet endangered. 
Grim details and horror setting made it a atmospheric reading experience which may be disturbing for few.

Thanks to the publisher and to NetGalley for giving the eARC in exchange of an honest feedback.
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Black Library keeps knocking it out of the park with their newest imprint - Warhammer Horror is definitely a force to be reckoned with.  David Annandale's Deacon of Wounds is everything you would want from a WH40k novel mixed with some of the best psychological horror written to date.  The reader will gleefully follow the protagonist's slow descent into understanding and terror through the clever writing and clean worldbuilding.  Definitely a great one.
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Thank you Black Library and NetGalley for providing an ebook of this for a review. I am a big fan of Black Library fiction and already had purchased this book but was glad to move it up on my reading list.
Deacon of Wounds was a compelling read and also a very quick one for me. I read it in one sitting as I couldn't find a place to stop. The overall sense of dread just kept me uneasy thoughout and I needed to finish.
The central theme of separating faith from heresy played out well in the character of Arch Deacon Ambrose. He was zealous in his faith but didn't realize that one's reliance on faith can lead to disaster at some point.
Long time readers of Warhammer 40K fiction could probably determine where this story was going but the travel along the spiraling descent into opening oneself to chaos was expertly told.
I found myself despondent over Ambrose's actions as I knew what he wanted to do but also knew his path could only lead to one outcome.
Overall, the gothic horror really worked in this as it has in several of the Warhammer Horror line. This was a fantastic tale.
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Not the strongest entry in the Warhammer Horror series. While it had it's moments, I was not drawn in too much over the whole course of the story. Thank you Black Library and Net Galley for the chance to read this ARC.
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I will say I am not familiar with former related work, so it took a while for me to slip easily into the world and it’ lore. It can be quite overwhelming in the beginning. This can be a deterrent for new readers, but I do believe it pulls off what it is trying to accomplish. The author is obviously passionate about the book and it’s backstory, it feels like it has culture and soul. I always love a good fall from grace, rather than a stereotypical heroic save. 

I’m not easily rattled, so the horror didn’t bother me - but I would warn reader’s against body horror! I would say the biggest drawback is the romantic interest, it seemed underdeveloped and forced. But, the world feels grey and depressive - like you can’t escape it, and it’s the books greatest strength. You know the end, it’s more about how it comes about. Death hangs above everyone, inevitable and the main character only seeks to watch it happen.
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So, first of all, I got a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for a review.

That being said, I am not quite sure where I stand with this book. The writing was in itself good, pleasantly atmospheric and enjoyable to read, but the overall direction of the plot was predictable. This was a book about someones unwittingly being used by chaos, and it was obvious from the start what the final outcome would be. 

As such, one could argue the joy was not in the destination but rather in the road itself, and in this regard I found that the swiftness of the deacons delusion were at odds with the otherwise slowness of events. This wasn't helped by the constant use of introspection, which, while interesting, also contributed to the overall feeling of slowness. 

I felt the bit about the undead really didn't add anything to the tale, either. It was mentioned two or three times and dropped. It felt like a very token horror thing to add, except until then there had been no hint whatsoever of the Plague affecting the dead or rising them. 

I kind of wish the book hadn't ended on such a cliff hanger, though any further elaboration might have made it less memorable.

All in all, 2.5
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I have been provided with an advance copy of the new Warhammer Horror book The Deacon of Wounds by David Annadale published by Black Library, so here is the honest review I promised in exchange for the book.

So here is an important disclaimer which is always important to put out there first, I am also friends with David on Facebook, but I suspect that’s more about him connecting with fans rather than being a big fan of mine!

I am going to try my best to not let that cloud my judgement in this review, but I accept that subconsciously it might.

What is Warhammer Horror
Warhameer Horror is a new imprint from the publishers of Warhammer fiction, Black Library, which allows authors to publish the more horrific stories set in the Warhammer: Age of Sigmar and Warhammer 40,000 settings. And lets face it these universes are pretty grimdark and teeming with horror and all sorts of nasty and gribbly things.

The Story
This story is set in the Warhammer 40,000 uiniverse, and is about the world of Theotokos, which is a dying planet, ravaged by drought and now faces a terrible plague, called the Grey Tears.

The only man who seems capable of saving this planet is the Arch-Deacon Ambrose, a charasmatic priest of the Adeptus Ministorium who genuinely cares for his world and wants to make the lives of its people better, unlike the worlds ruling Cardinal Lopez who only cares for personal enrichment.

But when Lopez suddenly dies, Ambrose is thrust into the role of leading the planet, but the choices he makes leads him down a dark path.

Lets start out by saying that this story requires you to have a good gag reflex, as there is a lot of nasty and disgusting body horror, it is after all about a plague. And coming out now in the middle of a global pandemic, you do recognise the panic and fear in the cities inhabitants.

And we get a good look at the Ecclesiarchy, which we really haven’t had like this in quite some time, as a big fan of the Sisters of Battle, I feel like I now have a better idea of how the priest that accompany them work.

This book really tells the story of the rise of Ambrose to the highest office on the planet, and his, and subsequently planets fall from grace. Despite being a relatively short story, is one that is very well handled and works well with Davids writing style.

Ambrose journey from a caring and approachable person to someone so very different, happens in a relatively short period, but it happens in such an incremental way that it feels so very natural.

But I am gonna be honest here, the book has an issue that another reviewer on Goodreads, Jenn, summed up very nicely, we have little grasp of the characters other than Ambrose. We seem to have some amazing supporting characters, but none of them are developed well at all. I think if you added another couple of chapters, it would have elevated the book up quite a bit.

A bit of development of the romantic subplot would have gone a long way, the lass he loves simply can’t be that oblivious to his amorous feelings. and as Jenn said, given is importance to the motivations of Ambrose it felt poorly executed.

The horror is disgusting and very revolting, and at points made me physically gag when reading the book, and the conclusion whilst slightly obvious was handled very well, and still was shocking in the way it happened.

Rating this book is difficult for me, I want to give it a 4, but I am varying between 3.5 and 4.5 because I am just unsure how to rate it given the shortcomings.

Its not a bad book at all though and was very enjoyable, its skin-crawlingly good and I think its biggest weakness is just its slightly too short and compromises were made.

So with that in mind, I recommend this book, its deep on lore and an insight to the workings and politics of the Ecclesiarchy as well as a creepy and horrific tale of a planets doom.

The Deacon of Wounds is out now as a hardback, eBook, MP3 audiobook.
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The warhammer horror line is one of my favorite additions to the Black Library books. Warhammer has always had elements of cosmic horror and with this line they've really embraced it. Deacon of Wounds is a wonderful addition to this line as it creates a truly disturbing and memorable work. Dread fills almost every page, and while I knew where it was going upon occasion I was entertained at all times. This isn't the best in that line (I'm personally fond of Wener's "Castle of Blood") but it's a wonderful addition.

My thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for providing me a copy in exchange for a review.
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Horror is not my Genre, but WH40K is my jam! So I was very excited to try out Horror set in my favorite SciFi Universe and I’m glad I got the chance! This book was enjoyable and pulled you in layer by layer. Quite horrific and interesting, easy to read, and it would serve both as a good intro to Warhammer 40K for new readers and to Horror for those new to the genre.

It did feel too heavily centered upon the main character when several of the secondary were very deserving of the spotlight too. But it isn’t set up to be an ensemble POV, so that’s a minor complaint.
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David Annandale's Deacon of Wound is the latest novel in the Warhammer Horror world. As with every other tale in this collection, be ready for your skin to crawl.

Death is coming for Theotokos. It is a planet plagued by drought, famine, and greed. At this point, all the citizens can hope to do is stave off the worst of it – assuming their leaders and wealthy are willing to work alongside them.

Naturally, they're not. Arch-Deacon Ambrose is one of the few exceptions in that regard. He has been actively fighting for the well-being of the people since the day he started, even when a literal plague runs through the streets.

“A dread worse than the fears of sleep clutched his heart.”

Deacon of Wounds delivered on every promise made. It was exactly the sort of horror novel I was looking for, providing that perfect blend of terror and Warhammer fiction that I so often crave. Then again, I've enjoyed everything I've read that was by David Annandale, so I'm not surprised by that.

The story of Theotokos is not exactly a new one. We've seen corruption and worse before in the 40k world, but it is how Annandale describes it that makes it come to life. Frequently in atrocious fashion.

More than that, I enjoyed reading the novel from Ambrose's perspective. In a way, what happened here was predictable as well, but honestly, that just added to the satisfaction to me—guessing how his story would unravel left me feeling like a cat who found the cream.

“I am going to live to see the death of my world.”

Honestly, I wouldn't have minded seeing more of Theotokos – before the drought and the plagues - that is. It would have increased the sense of loss, I know, but I'm still so curious about it all. Regardless, there was such a human element in this novel. Both the good and the bad. Those that drove the atrocities on and those who did everything in their power to stop it. There's something to take away from that, don't you think?

Thanks to Black Library and #NetGalley for making this book available for review. All opinions expressed are my own.
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Well written, dark, and twisted. Unfortunately, I just felt the story didn’t manage to do anything surprising or unexpected. If anything, the blurb gave away too much of the story before I had even started reading the book itself.
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Rated 3.5/5

A quick read, set in the 40k universe. On a dying planet, Arch-Deacon Ambrose is struggling to keep people from completely giving in to despair, while at the same time having to find ways to fight back a strange plague that breaks out in the possibly last living settlement on Theotokos.

While I am far more of a Warhammer Fantasy nerd, the horror fiction from Black Library really hits the spot. If you're not that versed in the 40k universe, you can still read and enjoy this short novel. If you know absolutely nothing, you'll probably get hung up on names and other stuff that gets thrown around, because the reader is expected to have a basic knowledge and understanding of the world going into the book. So don't expect world-building.

All in all, an enjoyable read that had no real surprises, but more than made up for it with the lyrical writing and the generally gritty, grim dark depictions of life on a world that it seems the Emperor forgot.
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This is my first BL book, though I am a big fan of Annandale from his work with Aconyte. Wasn’t sure what to expect from a horror book in the Warhammer world but as I know Annandale is a horror-nerd I knew it would be good. I am also a big fan of the miniatures games from GW so know the world well.

The tale is awfully creepy but in the best way. It’s the kind of book you want to stay up reading, but at the same time you kinda wanna put down as your skin begins to crawl and you start staring at the bedroom door wondering if that was a buzz of a fly you just heard. Annanndale gets into your head with this one and you’ll end up devouring it before it devours you.

Great characters that I was never really sure if I was supposed to love or hate, that make you question who the corrupt ones really are.
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This is a war hammer 40k novel which for me is new to read. Is a book about power and its misuse about religion which is controlled by fear and weak people. Terrific writing. Ambrose had to accept what is to be done and follow Bethia lead. The fight was only going to become harder. Awating a new cardinal. A well written good read for any warhammer fan.
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Deacon of Wounds follows the story of Arch-Deacon Ambrose through his ascension to the spiritual leader that the drought-ridden world, Theotokos, needs. Where his predecessor was feared, he is very much adored by the people. He is a beacon of hope during their darkest hour; if only they knew how dark things were to become.

Rightfully placed, Deacon of Wounds, is a part of the Warhammer Horror line of books. It’s a very grim, very dark story of the rise and fall from grace of central character, Arch-Deacon Ambrose. This key characters story-arc is competently handled as he turns from an approachable, personable, key-figure in the settings religious order to someone barely recognisable. However, the story is paced so well that it’s hard to pinpoint exactly where things went wrong for Ambrose. When did he start on his downward path? He is the driving force of the entire book and it’s an intimate character study of both his thoughts and his actions.

On the side-lines, there are a handful of other characters, Bethia, something of forbidden fruit and parishioner for Ambrose. A temptation that I would have liked to see a bit more fleshed-out in terms of her own character as the ‘romance’ felt stilted and under-developed considering it’s importance to the plot.

The pacing of the book was slower compared to most Black Library offerings, allowing the tension to build and the horror to grow at an organic rate; by the time the extent of what was going on around Ambrose was realised, it was far too late. As suggested in the sub-category of Warhammer, Deacon of Wounds isn’t your run of the mill Warhammer Novel and it has a concentration on something other than the eternal conflicts of the setting. There is evidence of the wider-settings war, but Theotokos is just a small part of a wider-whole and the world-building here is second-to-none. The insight provided into how a worlds Ecclesiarchy runs was in a class of its own and for this alone Deacon of Wounds earns itself some high-praise. Getting a glimpse into the political and religious movements that are usually behind the scenes in Warhammer 40k is always delightful.

The plot itself was curious and I don’t feel that it was fully realised. Throughout Deacon of Wounds, I felt that there was something amiss. There was a quality to the writing; the descriptions rich and captivating. The scenes of horror we’re depraved and, sometimes, quite disgusting. There was a rhythmic quality to some of the descriptions. A reliance on using three words some of the time, which if purposefully done was a subtle mastery that hinted to the overall source of the horrors within. And yet, I still felt like there was something missing throughout. A depth to some of the supporting characters was lacking compared to Ambrose himself and I feel like there could have been something more to these characters, Bethia specifically, that would have lifted the story as a whole.

While I found that the overall plot was an enjoyable tale, I didn’t find it overly surprising or startling in itself. Already touched upon is the delight of Ambrose’s character development and I feel the plot was somewhat pigeon-holed to fit around his arc. One element I found brilliant was reading the inner monologue and conflict within Ambrose, having access to his direct thoughts made him stand out compared the characters around him, these key thoughts are what drive him to react in the way he does. What we read is his reaction to what is happening to the world around him and his thoughts on situations as they develop; only once does he take specific action against the plague, the Grey Tears, and this helps to bring the book to the conclusion.
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Great writing as always.  The characters felt real to me, and i loved the gothic horror aspect.  Loved the world building.  I do and don't love the fact that the book got right to the point of the story and didn't have fluff that wasn't necessary.
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David Annandale writes books that aren’t just the usual bolter/sword and chaos demons (not that there is anything wrong with that) but this author addresses the more esoteric parts of the WH and AoS universes and this book is a very good example of that, it has theology, political machinations and not forgetting grandfather nurgles gifts, I really enjoyed the slow pace and tension and will be buying the audiobook as soon as it’s released
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