The takeaway from this may be that I read to much Warhammer 40K fiction. That being said, I recommend this book to just about everybody, especially fans of war fiction. The Imperial Guard basis in this book is Russian-influenced, so they drink clear alcohol, talk in rough chthonic tones, and have mandatory mustaches. Essentially, it’s awesome. There’s trench warfare, big orky bad guys, less orky corrupt bad guys, and lots of explosions guns and death. What makes this older example of WH40K fiction stand out is the topical, less straight-forward subject matter they discuss. There’s a commissar punished for spurning a homosexual advance from and officer’s offspring (and making the young lad kill himself) and discussions of relationships and even sex on the Vostroyan homeworld. Sounds weird for this to be noteworthy, but for a WH40K novel it’s almost unheard of. There’s also some very basic mention of juvenile love and sex (via a hilariously beautiful scene where a Vostroyan describes why he named his rifle), and light moments like this are usually not present in the Black Library as well.
Steve Parker sort of moves in and out of 40K fiction, and usually does pretty good with the Imperial Guard stuff. He’s got about four books out, 2 of which I’ve read. He’s intense, a little more realistic than most 40K authors, and always a good read. I’d recommend anything he’s written to pretty much any fan of sci-fi or war fiction. And not just because it’s all Warhammer 40K.
In summation, Rebel WInter is more realistic and more relatable than the vast majority of 40K fiction. It’s a great starting point for anyone who wants to jump into the Black Library.