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Summary

A Warhammer Crime Story

Tormented by his past, Probator Quillon Drask’s reputation as the go-to detective for strange crimes has led him to the Polaris district of Varangantua. Warring families, corrupt officials, and a monstrous hunger stalk these streets, and Drask must overcome his own inner agonies to bring justice to the tormented city.

Listen to it because

See the world of the 41st millennium from street level, in a grisly crime drama that shines a light on what life is like in the Imperium's rancid underbelly.

The story

'This city eats men....'

Quillon Drask is a haunted man, wrestling with the daemons of his past. With a reputation that draws only the strangest cases, he is intimately familiar with the malevolent underbelly of Varangantua. Yet nothing that has gone before could have prepared the probator for the horrors which now blight the district of Polaris.

Faced with a savage crime with frightening implications, Drask is thrust into a game of corruption and conspiracy, warring families and blasphemous revelations. Only by mastering the bitter lessons of his career and his own tortured past can Drask hope to bring the perpetrators to justice, and curb the monstrous hunger which stalks the city.

Written by Marc Collins. Running time 9 hours 52 minutes. Narrated by Richard Reed.

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

What listeners say about Grim Repast

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Hard-boiled noir, 40k style

One of the most fun things about Warhammer 40k is its ability to lift elements of different genres and remake them in its own grimdark image. Grizzled old timers like me will recall the first edition of the tabletop game was basically a hotchpotch of generic, Tolkien-esque species (to me the Eldar/Aeldari are still just 'Elves in Space') with much of the details of humanity's civilisation lifted straight from the pages of 2000AD's Judge Dredd. Additions like Space Hulk provided an injection of the monster horror of the Alien movies while Necromunda introduced a strong cyberpunk element.

So to the Warhammer Crime series. As with the previous two crime novels, Grim Repast is set in Varangantua, the continent-spanning city on the hive world of Alecto. Like Chris Wraight's brilliant Bloodlines, Grim Repast layers old-school, hard-boiled detective noir onto the W40k setting. This works pretty well. Both books do well to keep their story grounded in its setting: The people of Varangantua know only the city. It is their entire world, characters do not talk about space travel, no one travels off-world. They know nothing about xenos species, space marines or the ruinous powers. The local enforcers are the law and even the Adeptus Arbites are a shadowy higher authority that is almost never seen. Higher powers than the Arbites are, well - let's just say those that have even heard of them never refer to them...

I like this whole concept - it works, every now and then, a character drops a teasing reference to the wider universe, only for another character to say, 'Don't be stupid, xenos don't exist!' Even the Emperor on Terra, though believed in, is an impossibly distant, vague concept. This approach creates a distance between ordinary citizens of Alecto and the rest of the W40k 'verse. It feels realistic in the way some older BL books - where average people display way too much awareness of the warp and chaos, etc - don't. Occasional hints and clues suggesting the presence of such things are far more disturbing precisely because only the reader can understand the implications.

The weakness of this approach is that the Crime books can't rely on primarchs, space marines and inquisitors to keep the reader's interest. They have to stand on their own as detective stories. Luckily, plot has never been a huge issue in Noir writing; Raymond Chandler famously forgot about a body in The Big Sleep and failed to resolve who killed them or why. It didn't do him any harm.

Character is everything in this genre. The damaged, maverick detective is such a noir trope that it's almost a requirement. Marc Collins obligingly gives us a main character who ticks all the genre boxes: maverick Probator (Detective) Quillion Drask, a damaged man with a past. But this is where Grim Repast starts to fall down a bit.

Because this is a detective story with little reliance on the wider 40k 'verse, without realising it, I started comparing this to other crime novels. It was very hard, for example, not to see in Drask shades of Ian Rankin's Inspector Rebus, the damaged policeman solving murders in a claustrophobic, gothic Edinburgh. Rebus is an incredible creation by an accomplished writer - this comparison was never going to do Drask any favours, particularly the way he is written here.

We know Drask has a past because we are constantly told about it. We are also 'told' - over and over - that he has a gift for making wild, improbable leaps of reasoning. The weird thing is, Drask doesn't really do any wildly improbable deduction at all. He just follows the clues in a straightforward way and eventually - well, I won't spoil it for you. While a lot of the text is expositionary thoughts by Drask there is far less in the way of 'showing' i.e. revealing things about the characters, their feelings and motivations through their actions. Contrast this with the way Chris Wraight's world-weary Agusto Zidarov is revealed to us as a character throughout Bloodlines: we meet Zidarov through his interactions with his co-workers, criminals and suspects, then his home family-life and even his religion. He's the superior creation by some way.

Still, Drask is engaging enough a protagonist (and still preferable to the lead in Guy Haley's Flesh and Steel, - a spire-born noble slumming it by solving crime simply doesn't hit the right notes at all for noir). For all their 'telling', the extended descriptions of the city and its denizens seen through Drask's jaundiced eyes are the parts where Noir meets Grimdark most successfully.

Narrator Richard Reed doesn't have the bombastic style of Jonathan Keeble but this isn't Space Marine on Space Marine action, Toby Longworth might have been perfect, but that would only have drawn unflattering comparisons with the Eisenhorn books (in themselves often quite noirish). As it is, Reed's slightly more restrained delivery compliments the mood of Grim Repast perfectly, so he gets an A. Overall it's B+ for Grim Repast - not bad but one gets the feeling Marc Collins will do better.

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Way too out there

This crime novel in the 40k universe is filled with clichés. Just too many. When it suddenly was a "personal story" for the murderer and "the hero", I had enough. I couldn't finish the book. It went from "this is exciting" to "this is stupid". I wish the author understood that this type of books are much better as ordninary crime stories with a 40k twist, than an crazy crime story with a 40k disguise.

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bloody brilliant! Crime and horror

if you like grim dark, you'll be all over this.
Sums up the horror of the 40k, dystopia future. depressingly brilliant fun. Plot line gets you hooked.

One of the best black library & 40k novels I've listened to!

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Great fun, good character

My second favourite probator after Zidarov. Good world building for Varangantua, its China Town Quillan!

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A film noir character and an excellent story

Marc Collins is not an author I have read before and really, outstanding, I Loved It!!!! (Great narration too!!) The main man is a typically over earnest, over rightious (Denzel would play him in a movie!) broken P.I. type with "history", weaved perfectly into the 41st Millenium. A dark and shady world of corrupt hierachies and sadistic cultist murders, a really good addition to the WH40K Crime library, which I am begining to put up there with Eisenhorn and Ravenor ******

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a little confused

this is not the best Warhammer Crime story out there but it is also not the worst.

the biggest issue I feel comes from the author not fully committing to what the story is.....is it a horror story? is it a noir novel? is it a sci fi pulp detective case???

in the end its not really any of the above and just feels like a somewhat toned down version of the best of these kind of stories in the WH40K universe (Eisenhorn series, Ravenor and Bequin).

Good try - and I really do hope that the next Drask book brings something more 😀

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Brutal almost horror crime story.

Very grimdark, Grim Repast hits all the darker gritty Warhammer notes just right, well recommended for fans of the Eisenhorn series

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  • Thomas Bytheway III
  • 01-03-22

Doesn't live up to the others

I was really excited to dive back into the shady underbelly of Varengantua. After Flesh and Steel and Bloodlines, I had high hopes for Grim Repast. I think the story overall was weak. If you want 9 hours of introspective inner monologue with some crime sprinkled on top, this is the book for you. I'd you're expecting a crime drama with a sensible storyline; look elsewhere.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Dietrich
  • 25-06-22

Worse than other Warhammer Crime titles

Not a lot of personality or orginality in this one. The main character spends a lot of time investigating [horrible crime], discovers loads and loads of evidence about the [horrible crime], and then near the end he's like "Oh no, it's a CONSPIRACY!" Dude, you've been investigating the conspiracy the whole time! Just super tedious all around, and the main character, a cop with a haunted past, is a dud compared to the protagonists of the other Warhammer Crime books.

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  • Charles E Valdyke
  • 27-04-22

Flowery dramatic writing

i enjoy all the warhammer crime but this story was definitely on the more dramatic side, with monologues closer to what would be in a play rather than a police procedural. Nearly no moments of levity, and very methodical in unfolding the plot. it did have excellent voice work by Richard Reed an I look forward to hearing him in more Black library works.

While I look forward to more of other Warhammer Crime story lines more, I wouldn't mind returning to more Drask in the future.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 28-03-22

An OK Crime Novel

While the last three hours of the book, the other 6 were a slough to get through. Reed might of not been the best narrator for this book. The constant monologue of a detective ment I couldn't feel any of the build up in tension in the book. There's a plot, but buried under monologues.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Le Di Chang
  • 27-03-22

grimdark at ground level

If you are wondering how a chaos cult could grow under the nose of Arbites/planetary government/the big I, this book is your answer

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  • Agent Filthy
  • 09-03-22

Loved It

Such a great group of characters! The scene with the priest was just wicked. Great writing and top tier narration.

Really well done.