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Literature / Ravenor vs. Eisenhorn

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Ravenor Vs Eisenhorn is a trilogy by Dan Abnett, a "Bequin trilogy", a sequel to both his Eisenhorn and Ravenor trilogies.

The first volume of new trilogy is titled "Pariah". It recounts the childhood and development of Alizabeth "Beta" Bequin, who finds herself caught between Eisenhorn and Ravenor in their secret war with each other.

Tropes featured

  • Academy of Adventure: The Maze Undue.
  • Action Girl: Beta is a very cunning and well trained Inquisition agent, and can often hold her own in fights. The women in Eisenhorn and Ravenor's retinues would also count.
  • Anti-Magic: Beta and the rest of the wards of the Maze Undue.
  • Blood from the Mouth: In a test of Enuncia.
  • Crapsack World: Sancour, filled with former soldiers whose minds are so burned out on combat drugs that they wander around the streets at night killing anything they come across. And that's just what's publicly known. Outside of public knowledge, a heretical cult is running a pariah breeding program whose existence is an open secret, the local Ecclesiarchy is studying Enuncia with the Word Bearers, one noble house arranges to have heretical texts and artifacts supplied for everyone else, and another noble house has an alliance with the Emperor's Children.
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  • Call-Back: To Xenos.
    "Hello, little thing. I am Cherubael."
  • Cassandra Truth: The Pontifex knows an awful lot about what's going on and what's going to happen. Unfortunately, having that kind of power has heavily eroded his mind and most of what he says now is nonsense, making the really important and actually valid stuff hard to pick out.
  • The Chosen One
  • Classical Tongue: Beta is one of the very, very few people anywhere who fluently speaks Ancient Franc, a language dead for over thirty millennia.
  • Cloning Blues: It's revealed that Beta was created using genetic material from the original Alizabeth Bequin (though she is technically not a clone as their genes are not identical). However, the trope is largely averted since Beta has far more pressing things to worry about.
  • Corrupt Church: The Ecclesiarchy, as usual. The Sancour branch takes it one step further by working with the Word Bearers.
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  • Creepy Doll: The two dolls in the display window of the Blackwards emporium. They're especially creepy when they come to life and attack Beta later in the story.
  • Disney Villain Death: Beta knocks Patience Kys off a roof and assumes she's dead, but never actually sees her hit the ground. Patience later shows up, a bit miffed, and reveals that Ravenor used his powers to save her at the last second.
  • A Friend in Need: Deathrow unexpectedly saves Beta and Judika in the holloways. Also the Curst comes to her aid when Blackward wants to abduct her, and Nayl saves her from one of Blackward's mercenaries about midway. Beta even remarks that she is starting to find it disconcerting that strangers show up out of nowhere to intercede on her behalf. Perhaps the most disturbing case is Cherubael saving her from Revanor, of all people, at the very end of the book.
  • Enemy Civil War: And how! The Word Bearers, Emperor's Children and Alpha Legion are all present on Sancour. Each has their own set of allies, respectively the Ecclesiarchy/House Blackward, House Glaw and apparently, Eisenhorn himself.
  • Friend to All Living Things: Deathrow and his hound immediately take a liking to her. Subverted: Deathrow/Alpharius is a member of Eisenhorn's retinue, who have been watching over Beta since she was a small child.
  • From Bad to Worse: Beta's situation slowly gets worse and worse as more about her true nature is revealed.
  • Gambit Pileup: After the destruction of the Maze Undue at the hands of Ravenor, all of the factions' competing plots to obtain Beta start interfering with each other.
  • Hidden Depths: Deathrow turns out to be an Alpha Legion Traitor Legionnaire. Oh, and he's working for Eisenhorn. Maybe.
  • Knight Templar: Ravenor, who is convinced that Eisenhorn is a heretic and will do anything necessary to bring him to justice.
  • Language of Magic: Enuncia.
  • Like a Son to Me: Sister Bismillah to Beta.
  • Living Macguffin: There are at least seven factions that want Beta for one reason or another. And out of all of them only Eisenhorn and his people actually seem to have Beta's own good at heart, even if they also wants to use as best they can.
  • Long Game: Eisenhorn and company have been investigating the Yellow King and the Maze Undue for nearly twenty years.
  • My Nayme Is: Alizabeth and Alace are alternate spellings of Elizabeth and Alice respectively.
  • Only the Knowledgable May Pass: Beta is alerted by a clumsy attempt to use this.
  • Oh, Crap!
    • Everybody's reaction to when getting hit by Beta's Pariah field.
    • And one for the reader when Alace reveals that she is a Glaw, which means things are about to get a lot worse for Beta. Ironically, Beta's reaction to this revelation is disappointment, as she has no idea what that name signifies.
    • Teke when he realizes that Deathrow is one of the Alpha Legion, when he gets a brief glimpse through Deathrow's mask during their duel.
  • The Omniscient Council of Vagueness: The Yellow King and the Eight, who are only ever referred to and never seen in person. However, they're apparently the ones driving the events of the trilogy.
  • Perpetual Smiler: Teke, the Smiling One. He's still smiling when he he's stabbed clean through his armor and stomach (and out through the back plating) by Deathrow and forced to make an undignified retreat.
  • Power Limiter: The limiter cuffs, which dampen blank-ness.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: Eisenhorn's retinue, which only consists of Nayl, Medea, Alpharius, and Cherubael.
  • Reassigned to Antarctica: After the events of the Ravenor Trilogy, Ravenor is taken off active duty and spends his free time writing books until he later convinces the Inquisition to bring him back to hunt down the Yellow King.
  • The Reveal: Sister Bismillah is really Medea Betancore, and she has been watching over Beta at Eisenhorn's behest for most of Beta's life.
  • Secret Legacy: Beta's. She's the genetic daughter (not clone as she's not genetically identical) of Alizabeth Bequin from the Eisenhorn trilogy.
  • Shadow Archetype: The Cognitae is explicitly pointed out as being a sort of counter-Inquisition, working against the forces of the Imperium. To the point of telling its pupils, including Beta, that they are in fact the real Inquisition. The Horus Heresy novels would expand on this, noting that the Cognitae had probably existed since pre-history but under different forms and with different goals. It's possible that only the current version of the Cognitae opposes the Inquisition.
  • Shout-Out:
    • While investigating a antique shop, Beta comes across an ancient Soviet-era toy rocket.
    "What does C.C.C.P. mean?"
  • Spanner in the Works: Ravenor kicks off the plot with his raid on the Maze Undue, throwing everybody's Xanatos Gambits into disarray.
  • Spotlight-Stealing Squad: Sort of. The book is subtitled Ravenor Vs. Eisenhorn. The former turns up for two paragraphs 80 pages in and doesn't speak until nearly 300; the latter doesn't turn up for nearly 250 pages. Neither get more than a couple of dozen lines of dialogue. Beta takes up all space in between. Note, however, that the book series as a whole is collectively referred to as "The Bequin Trilogy."
  • Tomato in the Mirror/Tomato Surprise: Both Beta and the reader are lead to believe that the Maze Undue is a top secret Inquisition facility, and that their enemy is the Cognitae. However, it's later revealed that the Maze Undue is actually a Cognitae facility, making Beta a unknowing Cognitae agent.
  • Wham Line: "I am Alpharius."
  • Wicked Cultured: Teke gives off this vibe during his introduction, where he is seen relaxing in an armchair while reading and drinking from a goblet. Makes sense that a Traitor Marine from a legion that is sworn to Slaanesh would appreciate the finer things in life.
  • You Can't Go Home Again: Beta's only home, the Maze Undue, is raided and destroyed by the Inquisition. Even worse is that most of the staff are later revealed to have been Cognitae agents.


Example of: