This chapbook is limited to 750 copies. Everybody attending the BLL 2013 received a copy. It is also available to purchase for £6.50. I balk at paying £6.50 for a novella so I doubt I would have paid that much for this chapbook directly.
There are two distinct stories in this book and after reading them I’m still not sure which order would be best. I’ll start with the one that I read first as it is chronologically first.
The Fissure by Nik Vincent is story about the Iron Snakes Space Marines. It takes place in the Sabbat Worlds (you’re probably already spotting how this might tie in to a Gaunt story). I really enjoyed the way that the tension and the foundations for the story were built before the pace quickened until the inevitable combat. It was everything a Space Marine story should be. Without giving away too many spoilers the ritualistic side of the Iron Snakes become very important in the other story.
If you are unaware of who Nik Vincent it would be easy to just say that she is Dan Abnett’s wife. That would not be giving her the credit she deserves. Nik Vincent is a professional writer and one to be taken seriously. Her style is different from that of her husband but is definitely worth a read. I am quite looking forward to reading their collaboration on the The Black Library’s Gilead books.
A Ghost Return by Dan Abnett is as you might have guessed a book about Commissar Gaunt. It is not about his time with the Tanith though. This story is about a young Gaunt serving with the Hyrkans. I loved seeing the conflict within Gaunt. He wants to take over from the officer who clearly has no clue what should be done but is bound by his role as commissar to put the morale and discipline of the company first. I now have the urge to go back and read the first Gaunt’s Ghosts books again. Maybe a summer Gaunt marathon is called for.
This chapbook has one big problem as far as I am concerned. It is probably going to cost me over £30 in book purchases in the next few months.