Review: The Purity of Ignorance by John French

Posted by DarkChaplain at 8/26/2016
Inquisitor Covenant must hunt down the daemon at the heart of a planetary conspiracy, but how high a price will he and his team pay to defeat the evil, and are they even aware what the cost of success will be?

While the Space Marines and the Imperial Guard fight the myriad alien enemies that seek to overwhelm mankind, the Inquisition pursues a different kind of war. For theirs is a war fought in the dark places of man’s soul – a battle against the corruption of Chaos, a battle for the survival of humanity. Inquisitor Covenant must hunt down the daemon at the heart of a planetary conspiracy, but how high a price will he and his team pay to defeat the evil, and are they even aware what the cost of success will be?
This short story released in this year's Summer of Reading over at Black Library, and made me very happy. It seems they're turning it around with more creative and conceptually clever stories, so I felt the need to review this one quickly. It's quite a short review, I know, but I'd like to recommend this one anyway, without spoiling the fun in it.

The Story:
"Inquisitor Covenant must hunt down the daemon at the heart of a planetary conspiracy, but how high a price will he and his team pay to defeat the evil, and are they even aware what the cost of success will be?

While the Space Marines and the Imperial Guard fight the myriad alien enemies that seek to overwhelm mankind, the Inquisition pursues a different kind of war. For theirs is a war fought in the dark places of man’s soul – a battle against the corruption of Chaos, a battle for the survival of humanity. Inquisitor Covenant must hunt down the daemon at the heart of a planetary conspiracy, but how high a price will he and his team pay to defeat the evil, and are they even aware what the cost of success will be? "


The Review:
The Purity of Ignorance's subtitle as "A story of the Horusian Wars" is a misnomer in my eyes. There really is nothing about the Horusians here, or even inter-factional conflict within the Inquisition. I am a bit disappointed with that, since this seemed like a start to a new trilogy, or even series, focusing on Inquisitors. However, I am still pleased with how the story itself turned out, besides the cover's marketing.

This is the first story of hopefully many to feature Inquisitor Covenant, an old character from the Inquisitor specialist game. It doesn't exactly put him into the spotlight, but it is an impressive introduction to the man and his retainers. There's a preacher, a warrior-woman with ties to the Adepta Sororitas, and an array of stormtroopers in service of the big man. The squad leader, lieutenant Ianthe, is the primary focus here. She is being recruited for her first job with the Inquisition, and initially interrogated, before we get to see her and her squad in action. From this basic premise arises a very cool story that is conceptually great and well executed.

The antagonists are well written too, and while fans of the IP will know the twist right from the start, it is well handled and shows the core of corruption in an exciting way. Nobody plays the villain in their own mind, and French plays well with that idea here.

More than anything though, this type of story with all its twists and clever ideas is what I have been missing from Black Library in recent years. If this is the stuff we can expect more of going forward, then I am all in again. Let John write more about Covenant and co, because this was a highly promising start to something that grow into Eisenhorn/Ravenor-levels of Inquisitorial goodness.

The Purity of Ignorance on Goodreads

About the Author

I'm known as DarkChaplain across the internet, and call myself a passionate gamer and book enthusiast. I have been blogging mostly about games for a couple of years, but finally found my way to reviewing a different medium: Books. Honestly, I prefer that job so far.
Follow Me on Twitter @TheDarkChaplain


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