Dante (Guy Haley)

27 July 2022


The origin story of Dante and his rise from young aspirant to the mighty Chapter Master of the Blood Angels.

Dante is Chapter Master of one of the noblest but most troubled Chapters of Space Marines in the Imperium: the Blood Angels. From the time of his birth in the rad-scarred wastes of Baal Secundus, he was destined for glory and strife. From his apotheosis to Scout, to the hive cities of Armageddon and the alien menace of the Cryptas system, Dante has waged war against all the enemies of the Imperium. He has witnessed the divine, and struggled against the darkness within all sons of Sanguinius. Longer lived than any other Chapter Master, this is his chronicle, his great and storied legend.

Average Rating:

Ross Hetherington (6 March 2023 16:52)

I really enjoyed this. I thought it was a good Warhammer 40k novel - a universe I'm happy to take an interest in. The dull massed battle scene which has been in every one of these things I've read was mercifully brief. The trials of the protagonist were engaging, as well as how he came to be indoctrinated into wanting to a space marine in the first place. Much of the novel was suffused with the kind of camp ridiculousness and absurd "holy-beefcake" posturing I want in Warhammer 40k, and the author I feel was certainly in on the joke. Every time I think of Arafeo's demise (mentioned above) I start chuckling. I listening to it - luckily the narrator had obviously been listening to some Vincent Price fireside tales, which matched the subject matter perfectly. I wouldn't say the whole thing was just for laughs - I think aspects of how the culture and society was working in those parts of the imperium where very interesting, and obviously unnerving to consider.

Sinclair Manson (9 August 2022 20:35)

This is the second Warhammer 40,000 novel that the group has read and they share the same hyper gothic aesthetic and distressingly fascistic (or at least Nietszchean) worldview. The universe is harsh; only great men can save humanity. The best of lesser men recognise this and devote their lives to their betters, literally in the case of Dante's servant Arafeo. A token warrior nun aside, women don't feature. Bound up with this absence of femininity is the asexuality of all involved; everything is sublimated into violence, some of it overtly erotic, like Arafeo's surrendering himself to Dante. Indeed, given that Dante runs away from home when his father suggests marriage, that he joins an exclusively male society of beautiful vampire aesthetes, and the aforementioned tortured but climactic ravaging of Arafeo, it's hard not to read a parody of coming out into Dante's character arc. I'm not sure where all this gets us, somewhere in the region of being an angsty teenage boy, which was bad enough the first time around.

Graham MacDonald (28 July 2022 12:48)

It's hard to get too excited by a book when you know it's just one book in about a million dealing with a tiny part of a tiny part of a universe so unrelentingly horrible that nobody's actions really have any meaning. It had it's moments but sadly didn't really manage to improve on the opening chapter which was the best section of the book in my opinion. I don't think you're supposed to take the 40K universe entirely seriously and I think the author managed to get the balance reasonably OK but there's just not very much to recommend about this, especially to people who don't know any of the rest of the lore. It was way to gruesomely bloody at points too.

That said I read it, and finished it, and didn't find it hard to do so. The overarching feeling at the end though was "What's the point?".