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Fire and Honor review
Old 27 Oct 2009, 20:56   #1 (permalink)
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Default Fire and Honor review

Review of Fire and Honor

Alright, this is my Fire and Honor book review. I got this in the mail about a month ago and have been itching to review it ever since. This along with Defenders of Ultramar are probably my two favorite books that Boom! Studios has produced.

The plot revolves around members of the Cadian 71st Regiment, particularly the Blazer company, a unit which seems to be an almost entirely mechanized outfit mounted in Hellhounds.

It seems odd that such a short ranged tank would be used to fight Tau, but McNeill pulls it off well, having the first battles occur at a short range assault and having the Guard running for the rest of the book.

The main character is a guy called Hawkins, the standard rebellious junior officer trope. Apparently he got in trouble because he punched out another colonel from another regiment, the only reason why he was apparently not executed was because of the actions of Colonel Anders.

Hawkins has the look of a common soldier on him, all scars and a bionic eye. Promoted from the ranks perhaps?

His lieutenant Rae is the pretty standard lancer type. Guardsman Manos makes an appearance as the Grunt in the forces, and Trantor as his friend and then Governor Montague makes an appearance.

Montague is your standard treacherous fop that shows up and proves to be an enemy to the Hero of the story. He is played pretty straight, arrogant, aristocratic, but a total coward.

Montague’s motivations for joining the Tau are unclear, given the fact that he is already Governor of an Imperial world I would say he has it pretty set already. All O’Pahn says is that he wants to join.

Probably the best explanation is Tau technology or trade.

The characters in Fire and Honor are not well-developed beyond the standard tropes. But I never really expected much from such a slim volume in the first place.

Anyway the plot begins when the Cadian 71st arrives at Baktar III, a pretty unremarkable world, just one of the many worlds being fought over by the Imperium and the Tau. And get reviewed by the Governor.

Here we are introduced to the main cast briefly, then we are introduced to the Vostroyans here.

Their Colonel speaks with some kind of broken English accent. Not to mention He seems to have more in common with the Vahallans than the Vostroyans (Indeed, the Vostroyans are shown as Vahallans later)

Alos the Vostroyan Colonel, Renko, looks like Santa Claus.

I the end the Vostroyans are pretty much the Captain Ethic regiment. I’m rather disappointed, as it’s almost like they could have been easily used as Vahallans instead. Anyone who has read Rebel Winter will know what I am talking about.

Anyway we get a Tau scene with Shas’El Kavesh and O’Pahn, now the Tau do not use any terms like ‘’Tau’va’’ or ‘’gue’la’’ instead using ‘’Greater Good’’ and ‘’gue’la’’. This Seems to be the translation convention.


Anyway it seems odd that an Por’O would be negotiating on a single city on a single world. Or maybe I am reading it wrong, we don’t get much focus on the Por.

Anyway someone is a traitor. I’ll spare you the suspense and confirm your guesses that it’s Montague. Pretty much a no-brainer? He basically says the Cadians are poor soldiers based upon the dress inspection and the Tau walk into a trap.

Note, I have seen some interesting things with the grav-tech here. The Hammerheads are seemingly incapable of going more than 15-20 meters. But no true flight.

This is confirmed in later scenes. What is done constantly is that the Tau grav-tanks can only achieve a certain altitude. Only what looks like Piranhas later on can go higher, and battlesuits.

Anyway back to the battle scenes. The Tau launch an attack with the kroot first, who get slaughtered as they attempt to infiltrate the trenches. Then the actual Fire Warriors attack.

From what I can gather the Cadians are about to be overrun when the Hellhounds arrive over the ridge. Commissar Florian is killed by what is implied to be El’Kavesh and during the battle Rae ‘s tanks are destroyed.

However Rae survives and spots the Governor meeting with the Tau. Why Montague is meeting with the Por in the middle of a battle escapes me. Seems like an excellent way to be found out.

Hawkins recovers form his wounds while Renko comes in says they are honored allies. Then when Hawkins is mourning for Rae he comes in and surprises the Captain, informing him that Montague is a traitor.

Montague talks with O’Pahn and they figure out that the Cadians saw them, so the Tau sent the Vespid and the Stealth suits to kill the commanders.

The Vespid come in and kill several members of what looks like Stormtroopers, then they are beaten off from Trantor’s melta. Then the Stealth suits arrive and began killing Guardsmen.

A hellhound arrives and what exactly occurs is unclear but somehow the Battlesuits get smoke shot at then that reveals their locations. Then the Imperials prompt open up with heavy stubbers.

With the Stealth suits taken care of the rest of the Tau arrive and Reno volunteers to hold them off. He dies but the Cadians escape.

Again we get a shot showing the Tau tanks in midair. This pretty much confirms my earlier findings. The Devilfish seemingly can only go up to a maximum for 20 or so meters while the Hammerheads are present on the ground. All are unable to go above the buildings of Paradise city.

So the Cadians escape and the Vostroyans hold them off to get to a 100 miles away to a forest. Their we find out that the Tau jammer pod still is working, something quite impressive.

A Caidan goes to take a Aulma and in an awesome panel the Kroot jump out and behead him. Then a bunch of kroot come in like a bunch of ninjas in my of my favorite combat scenes.

Hawkins earned major badass points for his sword move.

Anyway the Cadians survive and runaway, they manage to contact Anders, and after confirming that Hawkins is really who they say they are, they get the message thought.

The Tau then appear, with O’Pahn and El’Kavesh talking to Montague. They still go on about how they need to get the Cadians, Montague rants for a few moments. Which is odd, I would not get angry at my alien benefactors who could easily cut me off and leave me at the mercy of the Imperials.

Anyway, El’Kavesh get’s a badass scene with his honor blade that I really liked and then Hawkins gives a cool speech. Sounds good, but one problem, they have no fuel. Rae suggests they go to the Aurigas Point Refinery, apparently an Imperial city was being abandoned and set to be destroyed, but not finished.

They get their but the Tau are also their. We have another spread in the distance of the Tau grav-tanks and this picture pretty much confirms my earlier guesses, the Tau grav-tanks have a limited height that they can go up. All are portayed lower than the buildings of the Refinery.

When observing the heights of the buildings and comparing the Tau grav-tank heights (On how even the Battlesuits can only go so high and how the Hammerheads are apparently forced to the ground). Also the Balzer company shows that it is not entire mechanized, with some heavy weapons.

Anyway Trantor is set afire and Manos is forced to kill him. Hawkins and Rae escape with some of the company, but the rest are trapped by the flames and Hawkins and Rae give them mercy kills by setting off the fuel.

Then Hawkins get’s a transmission from Anders detailing their escape route. It’s Last Chance bridge, Nice name. The Tau receive the transmission to and El’Kavesh moves out.

There is a single page of Hawkins and Rae talking about why exactly Montague turns traitor, like I have been speculating earlier. They come to the conclusion he must have been bored or the Tau offered him something valuable, most like technology.

Meanwhile as the Guard reach the bridge Rae worries over whether they will get Ander’s protection, then the Tau show up and drop off some fire warriors while the Hammerheads and battlesuits head across the gorge to meet the Guard.

The Tau open their assault as the Blazer company’s tanks have effectively blocked them and Rae is almost to the Imperial positions, moving forward they begin taking out tanks one by one.

Then Rae arrives and is about to be shot by the Commissars by Montague’s order when Anders intervenes.

Back at the battle El’Kavesh bursts through some ruins, surprising Hawkins. The Tau Shas’El then shrugs off the Hellhound’s main flamer and prepared to kill Hawkins when an artillery shell lands and frags his suit to scrap.

Then Hawkins runs El’Kavesh over with his tank. All while spouting a badass retort while artillery lands in the Tau positions.

In the finale it’s a happy ending as Montague is taken away and Hawkins and Rae are pardoned by Anders. It’s not ever for the Cadian 71st though, their are more battles to fight.

In conclusion, this book had some flaws (the flat characters, Renko, why exactly Montauge turned traitor) But was handled quite well in the actions sequences, and I must admit Hawkins and especially Rae grew on me.

This is not a piece of literary gold, but a fairly solid action comic. Read it for pure entertainment, not deep meaning.

Fire and Honor Review.
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