Book Review: Pariah by Dan Abnett

Posted on November 3, 2012


first published at
Pariah: Ravenor vs Eisenhorn
Dan Abnett
The Black Library
Bequin Trilogy 1
ISBN 9781849702010


In the city of Queen Mab, nothing is quite as it seems. Pariah, spy and Inquisitorial agent, Alizebeth Bequin is all of these things and yet none of them. An enigma, even to herself, she is caught between Inquisitors Gregor Eisenhorn and Gideon Ravenor, former allies now enemies who are playing a shadow game against a mysterious and deadly foe. Coveted by the Archenemy, pursued by the Inquisition, Bequin becomes embroiled in a dark plot of which she knows not her role or purpose. Helped by a disparate group of allies, she must unravel the secrets of her life and past if she is to survive a coming battle in which the line between friends and foes is fatally blurred.


I freely admit to being a fan of Dan Abnett and expect a good read when I get my hands on one of his books. Pariah did not disappoint.

Pariah was a little slower to get going than some of Abnett’s other works although this did not count against it as a story.  However Ravenor and Eisenhorn did not actually enter the story until quite late in things, making the ‘Ravenor vs Eisenhorn’ subtitle seem a little superflous.

As I read, I had a curious sense of while knowing it was a Warhammer 40,000 novel, there was at the same time more of a fantasy feel. The sci fi nature was not exactly hitting you over the head. Again, this did not count against the story and probably suited the protagonist and her background.

Perhaps I am getting a little slower in my old age but it took me a while for the actual concept of the ‘pariah’ to really strike home. Alizebeth Bequin, and others from her academy, are able to mechanically switch from ‘live’ to ‘dead.’ The penny finally dropped that this had the same impact on those with psychic abilities as when they meet a natural ‘null’ – as far as their powers go, the null does not exist. This was a curious ability to be working with.

The ultimate test for me is do I want to read more? Simple answer – yes! It looks like Dan Abnett has commenced yet another story that both fans and newcomers to his writing should enjoy.


Posted in: Review