In the grim darkness of the far future there is only war. But there are more battlegrounds to wage war on than blasted planetscapes—hearts and minds are just as often at war. And wars for the soul may be the most perilous of all.
In Fire Warrior by Simon Spurrier we find ourselves witnessing a war that takes place on multiple fronts: a far away planet in a distant star system, the yawning black void of space itself, within the maddening, labyrinthine corridors of a colossal spaceship, and most riveting of all within the mind and heart of a young alien soldier struggling to discover who he is and his place in the universe. Fire Warrior is told through multiple perspectives and shows the reader numerous angles, sometimes even brief snippets of a tertiary perspective just to drive a point home (brief musings of an AI drone in high orbit as it observes a stellar conflict for example, or
the last horrific moments of a civilian in a war torn city), but the meat of the story concerns the young fire caste soldier Kais.
Kais is the eponymous fire warrior of Fire Warrior, an individual beset by inner turmoil and turbulence, desperate to navigate the path of their life in accordance to the seemingly impossible expectations set by their legendary father and the singularly overwhelming philosophy of their civilization. From the beginning, Kais is an outsider, and an underdog, who quickly is consumed by the violence and madness of war, enthralled by the bright red seduction of battle, made all the more harrowing when he discovers a shocking aptitude for it. In Fire Warrior we see an individual torn apart by who they are in comparison to who they believe they should be. All the while it is set to the backdrop of outrageous action and colossal set pieces.
Simon Spurrier is a writer with a singular ability to get into the heads of his characters and bring their thoughts and emotions to vivid life, but he also deftly creates scenery and settings that are immensely immersive. What would otherwise feel like exhaustively drawn out passages elsewhere instead become enthralling expositions in the pages of Fire Warrior. The book is hard to put down, the narrative woven together at a breathless pace that leaves your heart thumping as you race to see what could possibly happen next. The action is nonstop, but interwoven with moments of heart ache and tragedy, black humor and philosophy.
Whether you’re a fan of hard-bitten, brutal sci-fi action or a Warhammer 40k diehard, Fire Warrior is a treat not to be missed. More than that, it’s just a damn good time.