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Summary

A Genestealer Cults Novel

The people of forge world Morod have found a new hope against despair and toil. The long-awaited angels are close, and the cult must prepare for their coming.

Listen to it because: acclaimed science-fiction author Adrian Tchaikovsky's first full-length work for Black Library takes the form of Day of Ascension, in which the populace of the forge world of Morod grow weary of the backbreaking work and injustice of their lives. But how far will they go to achieve change?

The story: on the forge world of Morod, the machines never stop and the work never ends. The population toils in the mines and factoria to protect humanity from the monsters in the void, while the Adeptus Mechanicus enjoy lives of palatial comfort.

Genetor Gammat Triskellian seeks to end this stagnant corruption. When he learns of a twisted congregation operating within the shadows, one that believes that the tech-priests are keeping people from their true salvation - a long-prophesied union with angels - he sees in them an opportunity to bring down Morod's masters and reclaim the world in the name of progress.

But sometimes, the only hope for real change lies in the coming of monsters.

©2022 Games Workshop Limited (P)2022 Games Workshop Limited

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Superior stuff, but why so short?

There's a number of reasons to recommend this audiobook: For a start the author, Adrian Tchaikovsky has the distinction amongst Black Library writers that he was neither plucked from obscurity or over-promoted from the exposition factory of their games design department. Instead, Tchaikovsky comes fully formed, already a successful science fiction writer who (I learnt from his Wikipedia page) studied zoology and psychology at university.

That's perhaps the perfect author's CV to write a long-overdue story examining the genestealer cults from the perspective of the cultists themselves. That's the other reason I was drawn to this one. I've always been fascinated by the question, 'Do the genestealer cultists have any idea what is actually coming - and what would they make of it if they did?' The nearest we've ever gotten to an insight into this before was a passing remark by Mephiston (in Darkness in The Blood, I think) who addresses a cultist as 'magos'. When they act surprised at his use of their title, he replies, "You are always called magos...you are the product of a template." Ever since then, I've been itching to hear a story that examined this question properly, 'Do they know what they are?' After all, if Nate Crowley (in the excellent Twice Dead King and the not-quite-so-good sequel) can make murderous metal skeletons into sympathetic characters, then I'm certain that there is a human interest story to be found in the life of the murderous parasitical genestealers and their extended families.

Still, it's not an easy job to make such horrific creatures interesting and even likeable. Yet AT (as I'm calling him now) pulls it off neatly. He cleverly uses the more 'human' members of the cult, to show us the normal, day-to-day existence of workers within the great machine of the Imperium (in this case, a forge world). So it's possible to share their disgust and anger at the general treatment of the population by their Adeptus Mechanicus masters. At times, the attitude of the members of the cult and the general working population is in perfect alignment. So it's easy as a listener to get behind them, they genuinely are underdogs and you find yourself wanting to root for them, you wily dog, AT I see what you did there.

Day of Ascension's plot is, in fact, split between two points of view, with the other side showing us a downtrodden but scheming adept of the mechanius. This starts off promisingly also. Initially, it sets the story up a bit like The Day of The Jackal, with the reader finding themselves rooting both for the hunter and the hunted. However, this goes a little off the rails, with our adept quickly descending into cartoon villainry. I guess this is to ensure we place our sympathies squarely with the members of the genestealer brood, but it feels a bit forced and I didn't need it. At just over 5 hours, this is a very short audiobook (no way is the print version the advertised 368 pages) and one feels there was plenty of space to give us interesting and sympathetic character development from both sides. I think AT and Black Library need to credit readers with enough intelligence to have a story where we can see things from more than one perspective. After all, as someone else said already here, there are no good guys in the grimdark universe of W40k, only shades of grey.

Still, look, I'm not complaining. This is a good'un. A word also for Harry Myers, a whole book of Mechanicus characters made me fear having to endure hours of grating 'robot' voices, but Myers sensibly gives them all normal, but distinctive voices. He's a good choice for this kind of 'quieter' more character-driven tale instead of the more bombastic narration we normally get with Black Library's military sci-fi yarns.

All in all, good job lads - and credit where it's due to BL for refreshing their pool of writers and narrators with two quality contributors. Let's hope we see more from Harry and AT in the grimdark future.

7 people found this helpful

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Speechless

What a perfect novel... simply flawless. And the ambience it paints is perfect for the GSC.

4 people found this helpful

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A fresh an interesting perspective in the 40k universe

This is a rather compelling view into the society of a gene-stealer cult. The care they feel for each other is a rare thing in this setting.
Definitely worth a listen!

4 people found this helpful

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Under the heel of the Imperium.

This book works really well, it comes from the genesteeler cult perspective which hasn't really been done before. This book gives you a really good insight on how they tick and what motivates them.

First time, I've listened to an Adrian Tchaikovsky novel, I believe this is his first proper outing for black libary, (he may have done a few short storys) He's good, I'd like to see him do more!
importantly, The choice of world he has chosen and he background setting allows the plot to work (industiworld) very poisiounus atmosphere so mutation among the population is common That's key because in that situation a cult could quite easily go undetected. Adrian really has the grim dark atmosphere nailed on well. Good choice of narrator, as we all know some of the black libary narration can be questionable at best, however Harry Myers was a good choice for this audio novel, I hope black libary use him future ventures.
well worth the money or credits 5*

They really are no good guys in the 41st millennium!

3 people found this helpful

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Brilliant

Only criticism is that it's too short! Would love a sequel, the two view points work really well, Fabricator General is hilarious!

2 people found this helpful

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excellent!

A great twisty-turny sci-fi story, a fascinating insight into the cultures of the Ad Mech and the 'Stealer Cults, and a scathing critique of academia. I give it four thumbs up!

2 people found this helpful

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Absolutely astonishing

I would definitely recommend this books. The story was brilliant and exciting. And the voice actor did an amazing job as the different characters. 10/10 book if you are a fan of the Genestealer Cult

1 person found this helpful

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a great new Angle of THE CULT

Just finished Day of Ascension by Adrian Tchaikovsky. It's a bit of a coup to get an established Sci fi author to write a Black Library book and it would be very cool if he did more or they managed to poach someone else at some point. While this book is on the short side it crams in a lot of content. When I play the game I play Admech or Genestealer Cults, so seeing my two factions put head to head is great! Both have appeared in a lot of books before now but this is very different. It's not much of a spoiler to say that the GSC are basically the heroes of this story, and not simply the brainwashed hybrid brood often depicted. Basically, life for the working class on the forge world of Morod is so nasty, so brutish and so short, that staging a revolution and then being eaten by a hive fleet is honestly preferable, dressed up in the right language, this the most... human and relatable the GSC has ever been on the page, you will root for them.
The Adeptus mechanicus are more as you would expect, but no less enjoyable to read about, the author really captures the stagnation and inertia of their doctrines. Both represented in their religious activities and the byzantine politicking they get up to.
Having read Tchaikovsky's full length books I'd really like something longer than this in the 41st millennium, but that's really my only complaint. Excellent book!

excellent narration, great array of voices, I enjoyed the Fabricator General in particular.

1 person found this helpful

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A Fresh Hungry Tale.

This story is very eye opening for a new sort of inside look at how the xeno cults work and it's delightfully thrilling. I've rather the appetite for more.

1 person found this helpful

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Fanatics always fanatics

There is nothing in the grim dark future that isn’t fuelled by fanaticism and this excellent book shows us the perspective of the genestealer cults and their absolute desire to become bio-organic matter for the Hive aka lunch the mild twist at the end was fairly obvious but that didn’t detract and I thoroughly enjoyed this book, great narration and I hope to hear from this gentleman

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 02-02-22

One of the greatest stories GW has ever produced

Words can hardly express how impressed i am with this book. I've been hearing good things about Adrian Tchaikovsky's work for some time now, but never really figured id get around to reading any of it. After this though, Children of Time has shot up to the top of my reading list!

Most of the books that Games Workshop produces just feel like pop nonsense that i end up regretting having even spent my time on, but this was an actual, thought-provoking story that was wonderful from start to finish. It keeps your attention without relying on constant meaningless action, the dialogue felt natural, and the characters and plot were compelling. I cannot recommend enough! Its also nice to see the genestealer cult get some love, especially as protagonists. Its not something most authors would be ballsy enough to try, but Tchaikovsky did an amazing job.

5 people found this helpful

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  • AnotherChris
  • 31-03-22

Humanizing the hybrids

I wouldn't have thought that the gene stealer cults would make such good protagonists in a story centering in faith in the face of the horrors of life on a forge world, but here we are.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 24-03-22

Never thought I'd find myself rooting for Tyranids

A short, but astonishingly well crafted book with some great characters, new lore details that have earth shattering implications for the future of the 40k verse (im not gonna spoil it don't worry).

While the imperium of man is depicted in 40k as a morally grey faction, which has committed questionable actions of brutality, oppression, and bloodshed but also actions of heroism and bravery and has humanity's best interest at heart, Day of Ascension is the first 40k book I've read that depicts the imperium at it's absolute worst.

This book thrusts us into a hellish Imperial Forge world in all it's industrial horror. We are presented with a population who know nothing but terror, depression, sickness, oppression, and soul-destroying labor in a short miserable life under the cold, heartless boot of the Adeptus Mechanicus. The tech priests see the population of morod not as human workers, but as nothing more than replacable parts in a machine that they can do with as they please. Even slightest opposition from the population is crushed beneath an iron fist.

The genestealers are depicted not as the insidious, horrifying, infectious monsters that they are in other 40k media, but a beacon of hope for the people of Morod. The cult promises an end to the oppression, and a brighter tomorrow. even people who don't carry the blood of the tyranids join their cult as converts.

For the first time, we are able to hear the true perspective of the genestealers, and I promise you that it will make you think.

I guarantee by the end of this book you, like me, will ask yourself: when your life is nothing but soul destroying work, when your home is nothing but a 6x6 concrete box, when you, your friends and family could drop like flies at any moment in horrifying industrial accidents, when the air you breathe is nothing but a soup of industrial toxins that reduces your lifespan to a measly 20 years of agonizing disease and weakness, does being eaten by the tyranids really seem that bad?

2 people found this helpful

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  • H. Share
  • 04-04-22

story

big fan of the part with the guns and also the part with the robots and finally the bit about the aliens

1 person found this helpful

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  • ClothingMonster
  • 15-03-22

This one is gooder than the others.

I want to read more from this author hopefully soon. Very thoughtful interesting book. Glad I picked this one up.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anders Aronsson
  • 02-02-22

Short but good

First real good book about genestealer cults. Can only recommend if you are interested in the cult. The reader does a incredible good job with the different voices.

1 person found this helpful

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  • K.
  • 01-02-22

great book

this is the books Gene Stealer Cult fans have been waiting for. so good.

1 person found this helpful

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  • WLJM
  • 10-05-22

Wow!

Fire things first, I’m a huge ad-mech fan, and have never much cared for the Tyranids. They’re cool as hell and super intimidating and fittingly awe inspiring, but at the end of the day they are one dimensional eat beasts. At least that’s what I thought.

Also full disclosure, this marks my 131st 40k novel, so I’m writing this from the perspective of someone very familiar with the lore and someone who is a huge fan of the universe.

Much like the “Twice Dead King” series and the “Infinite and the Divine” book did for the Necrons, this book amazingly adds a ton of depth and nuance to a faction that I didn’t think was capable of either. Making friggin genestealer’s sympathetic protagonists and making their struggle relatable and interesting was a trick I didn’t think Tchaikovsky could pull off, but he did and did it with style.

The writing and pacing is brisk, always interesting and populated by incredibly fleshed out and well written characters. Dialogue is great, narration is FANTASTIC (this is my first time hearing Harry Myers and he’s quickly joined the ranks alongside Jonathan Keeble as one of the best), the story never lags or overstays it’s welcome, the world is fully realized, and most importantly (for me), none of the established lore or rules have been screwed with to make events fit (looking at you Guy Haley where in the book “Throneworld” 3 Harlequins kill 12 Custodes in hand to hand combat without even suffering injuries). Anyway…

tl;dr

Fantastic and fun 40k book, great for fans of ad-mech, tyranids, grimdark, or really anyone else.

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  • Alex
  • 18-04-22

Quite excellent

A rare gem of unusual substance from the Black Library. Really enjoyable and well worth the credit.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 11-04-22

Genestealer Cult - the good guys?

Slice of life book from the point of view of absolutely ordinary Genestealer Cultist. ;)