Book Review 171 // Belisarius Cawl: The Great Work by Guy Haley

Stepping into the current Warhammer 40k timeline with this week's book reading, Belisarius Cawl: The Great Work. This is my first time learning and reading about this infamous character, plus side is I know we have a good author on this title so it should be a good read. Here are the details:

Title: Belisarius Cawl: The Great Work
Author: Guy Haley
Description: Warhammer 40,000 fans rejoice - Belisarius Cawl has his own novel! Join him on his journey to the abandoned world of Sotha which hides a long-buried secret… and ancient evil.

Belisarius Cawl, Archmagos Dominus of the Adeptus Mechanicus is the most brilliant mind alive. For 10,000 years he has furthered the cause of mankind, working under the aegis of the Emperor and Lord Commander Roboute Guilliman to prevent the inexorable march of the alien and the traitor. Many call him a heretic, but all must recognize the magnitude of his achievements, for who else but he was entrusted to create a new generation of Space Marines? Who else but the great Belisarius Cawl could even accomplish such a task?
Now, in the wake of the Great Rift and the Indomitus Crusade, his ambitions bring him to the long-dead world of Sotha, once home to the Scythes of the Emperor, now a barren wasteland devoured by the vile Tyranids. Accompanied by Tetrarch Felix and his elite warriors, it is here that Cawl believes the lynchpin of his mysterious Great Work lies. But uncovering it is a near-impossible task, one in which the Archmagos must overcome an ancient evil that threatens to extinguish the last hope of humanity.

Format: Kindle, 416 pages


Okay, I enjoyed this. I really wasn't sure going into this but I've changed my mind. This was an interesting read. Like most titles, it has pros and cons, but the pros definitely won.

The main plot is based around Belisarius Cawl and his attempt to "help" the Scythes of the Emperor. Of course there is other motives from all parties to be involved in this under taking that are slowly revealed throughout the story. The biggest drawback initially was the three stories happening at once aspect, which by the end of the book worked but early on it was very jarring to dive back and forth. The three story arcs are:

1) The origin story of Cawl.
2) The awakening of the Pharos Beacon and the Necrons.
3) The deep dark secret of the Scythes and the Tyranids.

The origin tale of Cawl is interesting. We get to see how he came into being and how he was able to get the primaris information from the Emperor. Love how he was pretty causal around the Big E but at the same in awe. This aspect of the book was very interesting to read from a Lore Point and the way it was handled ultimately made sense in the story. This section leads to Cawl's desire to activate the Pharos Beacon as he seeks out a way to manipulate the Blackstone, causing the mountain to wake and activating a Necron base. Turns out this Beacon was also a prison of sorts for some of the C'tan who need someone like Cawl to release them. Then finally is the Scythes story, this is their homeworld and early on we discover that it has been destroyed by Hive Fleet Kraken and ultimately would have ended the Chapter without the aid of Cawl and the Primaris project. But as the story continues we discover the Sycthes are keeping secrets. I don't want to spoil it too much, but keep an eye on the box. I actually really enjoyed this arc of the story and wish we got more of it, instead it is more side quest of the book.

As you can properly tell, I ultimately enjoyed the story, started a bit rough with the jumping in and out of story arcs, but once a rhythm was found it became highly enjoyable and witnessing the end of the Scythes firstborn was an honour indeed. Highly recommend grabbing a copy to enjoy.

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