I just finished this book and was thinking to myself was it really worth the time and effort involved. Personally I felt it was a little bit of a let down.
The story centres around Korlandril, an eldar who at the start of the book is set on the path of the artist. This initial part of the book gives a really good insight into the way in which Eldar culture works. It basically walks you through why the eldar are the way they are, and for someone like me who doesn't know that much about our pointy eared friends it was actually quite interesting.
Everything starts to go wrong for our main character when an old friend, Aradryan, returns aboard an eldar trade ship, he was treading the path of the steersman. On returning to the craftworld Alaitoc his friend reawakens a rivalry between Korlandril and Aradryan over a female Eldar, Thirianna.
It is after a confrontation between these two male characters that Korlandril turns to the path of the warrior to combat the dark feelings that he is harbouring. He is taken to a striking scorpion aspect temple where he is trained in that particular aspect (not obvious from the cover art).
The book then takes you through what is in effect an 80's training montage. During his first battle Korlandril is badly injured by an Ork Warboss, this begins the slow awakening of a much darker part of this main character. After his second battle again the Imperium Korlandril is no longer capable of distinguishing between battle and peace time.
This event brings our main character to the realisation that he is locked on the path of the warrior, and he becomes an exarch. I found this part of the book really interesting as it explained that exarch's aren't one person but a conglomeration of all the eldar who have worn a particular exarch's armour.
Then once he has founded his shrine and started to train his squad, Thirianna (who has become a farseer) warns him that the Imperium intend to attack Alaitoc.
When the battle comes to Alaitoc the pheonix lords come to assist in the defence. During the course of the battle between the Eldar and the Imperium, Karandras is killed by a space marine dreadnought. Our main character goes to the fallen body of Karandras and becomes the fallen pheonix lord.
This is where the book finishes. I can only assume that this is done because our main character no longer exists as he has become Karandras. But this does not make up for the fact that the book finishes with no real conclusion.
It feels as if the author was told to write a set number of pages and once he reached this he stopped. The battle doesn't finish and the reader is left in a sort of limbo.
On the whole the book is very good, there are parts which seem to go on too long. But the thing that drags it into the "should I bother" category is the ending or complete lack of one.
At the end of the day I suppose it's up to the reader to decide whether it's worth the time and effort.
I recommend this book for people who want to learn more about Eldar culture, but for those who already have a good knowledge of this subject the lack of a proper conclusion to the story may make this book somewhat redundant.