Review: Dead Men Walking - Steve Lyons

Title - Dead Men Walking
Author - Steve Lyons
Year - 2010
Stand Alone or Series - Stand Alone
Pages - 416
Reading Time - September 2011

When the necrons rise, a mining planet descends into a cauldron of war and the remorseless foes decimate the human defenders. Salvation comes in an unlikely form – the Death Korps of Kreig, a force as unfeeling as the Necrons themselves. When the two powers go to war, casualties are high and the magnitude of the destruction is unimaginable.


This was the best description of Necrons and the Death Korp of Krieg as an invading/defending forces. What an excelent work of fiction. Lyons really can write about them. A word or two for each party:  Resolution for Korps, Desperation and later Realization for the PDF and people and Innevitable for Necrons 

This tale is set on Hieronymous Theta, a mining hive world. If you follow 40k you know what I am talking but if you are not then a brief introduction. An Hive World is a world with several scyrappers several miles up wide. A city within a buidling. There can be milions of people living in it, with the higher tiers with the highborn, rich and goverment. The middle tiers the working class with factories and such and the lower are usually the habitat of mutants or other strange beings and the scum of society. 

Strange artefacts are being found with a greenish glow and after some disturbing mining operartions they awake the Necrons who have only one goal. "Leave or we will destroy you." The battle begins and no matter how much the defenders destroy there are more each day and so they battle a inevitable defeat. These tale follows one Commissar attached to the Krieg who was portrayed almost perfectly. What a Commissar can do in a army of souless devoted to the death beings? There is no retreat, there is no surrender. There is sacrifice to the Greater Good (understood the pun?). This Commissar most of the time acts as a bridge between the Army and the PDF and Planet and to try to humanize the Krieg officers. We also follow a girl lost in the lower parts of the Hive and a Miner Overseer who is draft first to the PDF and then attach to the Krieg. 

About the ending. Brillant. I won't say more but it was very nice. From the beginning of the book you realize that there can be only one way. The innevitable win for the Necrons but how Lyons does it is...  Ahh there's the rub..

I never knew they care for diplomacy. Besides the Eldar or Tau I thought that every other race just wanted to destroy humankind. Of course the Necrons are displayed almost as a myth since there have been few reports with necron encounters.

Now the title: Dead Men Walking. Who are these Dead Men? Are these the inhabbitants pov because they will surely perish at the hands of the Necrons? Are these the Death Korp of Krieg because they are almost as machine as the Necrons? Or are the Dead Men Walking the Necrons themselves?

The Death Korp of Kried are almost souless. Each and everyone of them have no feelings, no fear, no honor... almost nothing that can say they are human underneath their garments and their masks. They are bred for war and devoted to the Emperor. At that's they way the live. In the book, at several instances a character pov talks about them or about the battle and as I read it I think "who the hell are worse? The necrons or the Krieg's?" 

Lyons can really depict book parties. He shows us that there isn't really a lot of difference between both opposing forces. They both see everything expendable for exploitation. As we learn more about Death Korps background we begin to feel empathy almost sorry for the lot.

This was one of my favourite reads of the year of 2011. I really enjoy it. Alongside Deathworld (by the same author) and Fifteen Hours are the best of IG books. Steve Lyons is a great writer and really knows how to write about the IG. I really hope he continues to write more novels. There are nothing from him until January 2013. And that's a shame. I really hope it means nothing.  10/10
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