Book Review: Yarrick: A Plague Of Saints by David Annandale

Yarrick: Plague Of Saints - Header

If you’ve read some of my previous book reviews you will have seen my musings on two stories – Valedor and Wraithflight – by Guy Haley which recount events surrounding a Warhammer 40,000 race known as the Eldar. And if you’ve also spent some time flicking through the various pages of this site, you will have come across mentions of my interest, both past and present, in the whole hobby and gaming pastime from which the stories are born.

It should therefore, come as no surprise to you that when it comes to reading, I gravitate towards and enjoy the Games Workshop produced stories that accompany my hobby and, as I mentioned in my review of the Ultramarines movie, the first miniature I ever painted, was an Imperial leader called Commissar Yarrick. Since I still have that model proudly sitting on my desk, it should also be no surprise that I have a loyalty and soft spot for the character even though I no longer have or use the army he commands when playing.

Commissar Yarrick - Yarrick A Plague Of Saints

This affection and loyalty means that I am constantly drawn to him, and as a pivotal character within the back story used to create the narrative on which the ideas and principles of the physical game are based, there are now entire novels, stories and shorts devoted to him and his life. Essentially, his entire history, his entire career, is ready and waiting to be investigated.

And so, I decided it was time to learn more about the character that I hold so dear. To read some of those books. As most are only available as ebooks, and I’m still getting my head around reading on a tablet rather than holding physical paper, I thought it best to start small. Picking the short story: A Plague Of Saints by David Annandale, as my introduction to both digital reading and Sebastian Yarrick.

The first thing that hit me was just how different the writing style is between Annandale and Haley. While this shouldn’t be a surprise, in the two books by Haley I’ve read he is bringing an entire race to life, recounting events through the eyes of multiple viewers; while Annandale is solely focusing on one man, one version of events. Comparing the two, I must admit, I found Annadale’s approach much more engaging.

As mentioned, Annandale has written this book through the eyes of Yarrick. The first person. But the language used is such that I truly felt like I was listening to his inner monologue, listening to him recalling his thoughts and actions. As the story progresses, as more and more information comes to light, I was becoming more and more in tune with Yarrick, starting more and more to see and think as him rather than through him.

David Annandale - Yarrick A Plague Of Saints

This is also helped by the fact that you can get a real sense of pace and emotion throughout. The story moves forward at an impressive rate and with a narrative that really pulls you along and places you in the heart of the action. You only stop for breath when Yarrick stops for breath. I haven’t done much reading I admit, but this was the first time while doing so that the emotions on the page were really reflected in the emotions I felt. Panic, tension, anxiety whatever Yarrick bore so did I. And directly feeling these senses, as I do when watching films, drew me in deeper. This book became one I didn’t want to stop reading.

Sadly though, being a short story, it was over before it really began. Never having the time or space to really explore characters and events as deeply as I wished it did. It raised so many questions, creates so many emotions and increased my passion towards Yarrick that I wanted to know more than it was capable of offering. And while it’s sad that it’s more of a foreword, a preamble, as I am still now wanting to know the answers to it’s questions, it has ignited the passion to read more, both about Yarrick and by David Annandale.

Posted on by 5WC in Book First Edition

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