[IN BRIEF] Assassinorum: Kingmaker – Robert Rath

Three Imperial Assassins have to work together to pull off an audacious, fiendishly dangerous mission in Robert Rath’s Warhammer 40,000 novel Assassinorum: Kingmaker. Their task: to infiltrate a Knight world, instigate a succession and avert a secession, bringing the Knights of Dominion back into line with the Imperium. Pulled out from their existing missions, Sycorax (Callidus) and Avaaris Koln (Vanus) are hand-picked by the veteran Vindicare assassin Absolom Raithe for their complementary skills (if not complementary personalities), and under Raithe’s fragile leadership the somewhat dysfunctional team plans and executes a daring mission with a bewildering array of moving parts. Inevitably things end up coming down to bullets, blades and the terrifying power of the Knights, but along the way there’s infiltration, impersonation, social engineering, data manipulation, document forgery and lots more.

Assassins on a Knight world is a brilliant setup, and Rath delivers on that great premise with a story that mixes fantastic characters with espionage, action and intrigue, reading like a cross between a classic spy novel and a modern adventure thriller…with the oh-so-40k addition of enormous mechanical Knights. The assassins are the main draw, individually compelling characters forced together into an utterly fascinating group dynamic, but the world of Dominion with its Knightly politics and strained relationship with the Imperium proves equally intriguing, the two components of assassins and Knights combining in a fascinating, explosive mix. As a blend of adrenaline-fuelled 40k action with the subtleties of a gripping spy story this really is first rate, and if there’s any justice in the world it will be the first of many such novels (alongside the Assassinorum short stories that already exist).

See also: Robert Rath’s guest post discussing the spy novels that inspired Kingmaker.

See also: all of the other Robert Rath reviews and inteviews on Track of Words.

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[IN BRIEF] Assassinorum: Kingmaker – Robert Rath